Name: Ian Michael Drinkwater
Firstly, I'm sorry, but I'm yet another XWP fan. I guess
the world's full of us.
I'm from the U.K. (Leicester to be exact), ...to the
point; Ray Harryhausen of 'Jason & The Argonauts'
fame visited a local theatre and gave an interview.
Have you ever met the man? Apparently he now lives in
London and has his own private museum of creatures/creations.
He mentioned that he still thinks that there's a place
for Stop-Motion in modern productions, and that he thinks
that some scenes are more life-like/believable in older
films. (did you ever meet the man?)
Two questions: Did they ever use any stop-motion animation
for any of the Xena episodes (me-thinks possibly - and
yes of course I know that they use CGI).
There's a rumour going around the xenaverse world at
the minuite that there's a possibility of a xena feature-length
film. Do you know anything of this. (me-thinks that
if they're going to do one, they need to do it soon;
before the xenaverse dies)
And finally.... Maybe I'm risking it a bit in saying
this (but what the hell!) In answer to all those people
who ask about renee & lucy being friends:
I think they're close friends, but renee possibly has
some reservations about lucy's morals (Heck! Lucy took
her clothes off for all to see MAXIM - whereas Renee
on the other hand preferred to keep her clothes on FHM).
Also another possibility why they're never seen sitting
together could be that they don't want any pictures
taken to the effect of more sub-text speculation et
al. I think the emmergence of the subtext was just rob
going with what the fans wanted - i don't think it was
the initial plan.
Anyway, before I sound too much like a xwp forum subscriber,
I'll leave you in peace.
was no stop-motion animation in Xena or Herc because
there wasn't time. There was barely time for the digital
effects. Back during the inital five Herc movies we
experimented with some old-time effects, like glass
paintings and forced-perspective. Lucy and Renee got
along fine, worked very well together, but were never
close friends. I'm sure they remain in touch to some
extent, but that's about it. And no, I've never met
Ray Harryhausen, but I've always enjoyed his work. And
there's no Xena feature as far as I know.
see that the Gentile Jesus argument has been laid to
rest, so I'll skip that. Speaking of trilogies, did
you see ONCE UPON A TIME IN MEXICO, the third installment
in Rodriquez's "mariachi" series? I just saw
it on bootleg VCD (one good thing about Iraq: $2 buys
you any movie you want, even new releases; just be prepared
to see the "EXIT" signs from the theater in
the lower corners of the screen). It doesn't prove much
of anything except the rule of entropy in movie sequels.
Lots of flashy stunts, stylized violence (not that I'm
against that, but this was more ludicrous than the wire
stunts in a Jet Li movie), and hip atmosphere. Whatever
else you can say about Rodriquez, he knew enough to
hire a first rate cinematographer; all of the scenes
have interesting lighting. The only real highlight of
the film is seeing Johnny Depp walking around with his
eyes gouged out.
In an unrelated subject, I just finished reading GATES
OF FIRE, by Steven Pressfield. It chronicles the events
leading up to the battle of Thermopylae, and really
brings the Spartans to life. It's one of those books
that you wish would be made into a film, but you know
that the job would probably be botched, a la GODS AND
Speaking of sequels, there's one in the making: the
only installment left in the Sha'ara trilogy that hasn't
been filmed is THE LAST FULL MEASURE. I thought GETTYSBURG
was an excellent film, and GODS AND GENERALS (although
a prequel, it was made almost ten years later) was a
disappointment. Hopefully, THE LAST FULL MEASURE will
break the cycle. What do you think?
think Michael Shaara's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel,
"The Killer Angels," which was the basis for
"Gettysburg," was brilliant, and I read it
twice. I thought the film was a disaster, very badly
directed, with the worst facial hairpieces ever put
in a motion picture. Tom Berenger's beard and Jeff Daniels'
mustache are so ridiculous it's impossible to take anything
they seriously. The director, Ronald Maxwell, did such
an awful job there was absolutely no way I could be
dragged screaming into "Gods and Generals."
If it's Maxwell directing the third one, write it off
before you see it. As a little note, both "Gods
and Generals" and "The Last Full Measure"
were both written by Michael Shaara's son, not him since
he's dead. Stay safe.
day you make a good film that people will actualy see
is the day I'll take you seriously. So, until then:
FUCK YOU UP YOUR FUCKING ASS YOU FUCKING GUIENY COCKSUCKING
FOR CRACK BITCH.
obviously got a lot to say, and a large vocabularly
to say it with. What on earth do you mean by "guieny"?
And oh my, you called me a "bitch," what terrible
thing to say. You must be a rap fan since that's the
worst thing they can come up with.
would like to congratulate you on your success. Please
tell me how you come up with your ideas?
I haven't had all that much success, but thanks anyway.
I get my ideas by constantly keeping my mind open to
them. Story ideas are an instinctive, intuitive thing,
very much based on what you know and what your tastes
are. That's why, as a filmmaker, it's very important
to see every good film from the beginning of film history
until now. Taste is based on knowing a wide range of
ideas, and knowing the difference between what's good
and what's bad.
I am likely to debate the DV over film issue when it
comes to lighting. We shoot both film and DV here at
work and I have seen 3 features in the past year shot
on DVD, the last being "Pieces of April" which
I thought was pretty good script and acting wise, but
as with all the DV features I have seen with the exception
of "28 Days Later", none of them looked very
good at all no matter how they were lit.
I have to step outside myself at work and look at the
DV stuff with the mind of an average viewer, but what
I do notice about DV is that it doesn't take to light
like film and it takes a great deal more energy to light
than film for contrast and depth.
"28 Days Later" looked decent form a stylistic
point of view, but I think the choice to shoot DV was
to make the film seem more gritty and realistic. It
worked in that respect, but the limitations were obvious
to me. Granted most average viewers would never care
about these issues, but I think some people could tell
the difference between a well shot DV feature and a
well shot film feature.
Anyhow, I have just received my first ever footage of
High Def. 1080 progressive footage to edit and it looks
excellent! I think that the HD format is the only thing
close to film when it comes to contrast ratio and depth
and the Use of DV is good for shorts, cost and convenience,
but when it comes to lighting it and using it for features,
I still it has very real problems.
of this will eventually change, as high-def becomes
more ubiquitous, but for the time being DV is inappropriate
for features -- if you want to sell them, that is. If
you want to be a filmmaker, and you're afraid of shooting
film, you've chosen the wrong profession.
First, a point of clarification. I did not say that
semantics is the study of Logos. "Logos" was
a term the Platonists and the early Christians both
agonized about, another was "Homoousis", and
that their arguments were semantic in nature.
As for movie trilogies, the "Alien" series
was all right if you pretend the third movie never happened
and just go on to the fourth. I know John Ford's Cavalry
series doesn't really qualify but it is often thought
of in terms of a trilogy. I don't know how many of the
Connery "Bond" movies there were but I liked
them as an extended series. I also always enjoyed the
Rathbone "Sherlock Holmes" movies. There were
actually quite a few series even in the Golden Age.
"The Thin Man", "The Bowery Boys",
"Charlie Chan", "The Pink Panther".
How many "Topper" movies did they make? Two
at least, though I think Grant was only in the first
of them. Abbott and Costello's various theme movies
were almost sets. I wonder what you think about series
from the Golden Age? Thanks,
guess the topic changed to series films instead of trilogies.
"Topper" would in fact be considered a trilogy
because there are only three of them, then it later
became a TV series. But as for Bonds, Holmes, Chans,
Thin Mans, and Panthers, there are more than three in
all of those series. I like the first couple of films
of all of them. I was with James Bond all the way up
to the arrival of Roger Moore, then bailed and never
returned. I particularly like the first five or six
Charlie Chan films with Warner Oland. I just watched
again "Charlie Chan at the Opera" (1936),
with Boris Karloff, that's probably the highest-budget
film in the series. Karloff, of course, is great as
the mad opera star. I quite like "Charlie Chan
at the Olympics" (1937), where he and Number One
Son go to the 1936 Berlin Olympics in a zeppelin. The
first four Pink Panther movies were very good (this
is ignoring the wrong-headed "Inspector Clouseau"
 with Alan Arkin). The fifth film in the series,
"The Pink Panther Strikes Again," being the
funniest, in my opinion.
have you done any digital video movies at all? In the
last 3 months I've done about 10 shorts, shot on mini-DV
and edited on my computer. Its about $2,000 worth of
equipment and as far as I can tell its about as polished
looking as alot of stuff on tv. Certainly the visuals
of DV are not up to film but I've had alot of people
ask me if it was shot on 16mm because a well-lit DV
movie can actually look pretty close to 16mm in my experience.
If time is put into lighting, whether you're inside
or outside, it can look reasonably close to film. A
friend of mine spoke to a person at Atomfilms and apparently
there is now some sort of a market for short films.
A guy at HBO named Mitchell Block buys quite a few DV
shorts every year and pays up to $15k apiece, and websites
like Atomfilms pay up to $2,000 plus a few cents every
time the short is downloaded. Just wondering if you've
played around with the equipment at all.
not really. I've shot video a number of times over the
years, but not DV. I'm glad to here there's a short
market possibly opening up. DV is perfect for shorts,
and if you can actually sell them than that's terrific.
We sold a few of our 16mm shorts way the hell back when.
Sadly, though, my mind doesn't work in a short form
anymore. I think in features. And feature films still
need to be shot on film, at least for the moment. I'm
trying to put together yet another film and even though
it will be very low-budget, and a two-week shoot, it
will bo shot on 35mm film. Shooting a feature on DV
right now is like trying to sell an electric car --
it's not that they don't work, it's that people aren't
quite ready to buy them. And when you go to the trouble
of making a feature-length film, it's important to be
able to sell it and get people to see it.
On the LotR discussion - I thoroughy enjoyed the first
two films thus far, although you are very correct about
there being no characterization. For me, anyway, I got
to understand as much about the characters as I wanted
to in the books, and so am just enjoying seeing pretty
pictures moving up on the screen, sort of like looking
at those old Hildebrandt Brothers calendars. Tolkein
was never my favorite anyway.
On the trilogy thing - how about the original Frankenstein
and its first two sequels? Or maybe the first three
Bond films? Although I agree - I doubt anything could
hold a candle to the first two Godfather films.
Oh - just thought of a trilogy that actually isn't,
but people refer to it as such - John Ford's cavalry
don't think you can say the first three films of a series,
like James Bond or Frankenstein. Neither is a trilogy.
Ford's cavalry films are a trilogy, though, and a good
solid choice to throw up against LOTR. I'll quickly
and happily take Ford's films as a better trilogy --
not to mention the third LOTR film hasn't even been
released yet. This concession you make to the films,
that there's no characterization, but that's okay because
it's like like looking at a calander, is completely
and totally unacceptable to me. If they won't give their
script twelve seconds of thought, fuck them!
did you think of Robert Rodriguez's first movie el Mariachi
and his follow up movie desperado
i think it shows a lot of skill to make a movie like
el mariachi for only 7000 dollers
what format did you use for running time, lunatics,
and thou shalt not kill...except
movies bored me, and I don't believe his $7,000 number
at all. The fact that a film company came in and put
in all of the finishing funds doesn't discount the fact
that the money was spent. When everything is added up,
I'll bet you "El Mariachi" didn't cost a cent
less than a quarter of million dollars, and probably
cost more (with 35mm blow-ups and remixing all of the
sound). "Desperado" was like the more expensive,
even duller, remake. Meanwhile, TSNKE and "Running
Time" were both shot in 16mm, and "Lunatics"
and "If I Had a Hammer" were both in 35mm.
You're dead-on about the decline of quality films in
Hollywood. It's obvious there aren't many good films
Personally, I don't blame the LOTRs or SPIDERMANs of
the industry. This type of escapist entertainment has
been predominant in Hollywood since the beginning. Maybe
you can't enjoy these films anymore because, being older
and wiser and decidedly more jaded, you watch them with
a more discriminating eye. I find that's the case with
me sometimes, that I don't enjoy films I probably would
have liked when I was a kid (example: HARRY POTTER),
because I'm watching them through the eyes of an adult
rather than with the wonder of a child. The THREE STOOGES
ain't rocket science, either.
Don't get me wrong, being an adult is a good thing,
and I too find it irksome that there is such a shortage
of adult-minded entertainment (adult themes, not speculums
and gaping asshole shots). However, I enjoy a good "bubblegum"
movie as much as the next guy, like SPIDERMAN for instance.
The real shame is that Hollywood isn't cranking out
the "grown up" films at the same rate as they
were in say, the 70's. That is due to the fact that
less films in general are being made these days, and
the big budget films are more of a safe bet, business-wise.
Maybe you should see more current films, and not just
the big ones everyone sees. 5 or 6 a year don't cut
it. Do you even bother seeing foreign films anymore?
There are far more than 5 or 6 films a year worth seeing.
Foreign and independent films do a lot to fill in the
void left behind in Hollywood.
P.S. You're right that certain films do little to inspire
thought or discussion. But is that ALWAYS a bad thing?
Just look at the endless discussion surrounding the
gentile Jesuses. Was anything ascertained? No. Just
more "I'm right, you're wrong," and empty
pontifications from the peanut gallery. Me? I'd rather
be watching YOUNG GUNS.
still see most everything, just on cable and DVD. I'm
nowhere near as scrupulous about it as before, but I
still see more movies than the average bear (I'm barreling
up on having seen 4,000 films--my total as of today
is 3,807). I don't even mention most of the films I
see because they're not even worth a mention. My assessment
of what's going on in movies is not based on assumption.
But I'm going deeper than the generality you're making,
I'm saying that even these big Hollywood films aren't
as good as they used to be. LOTR and "Star Wars"
and all of these comic book films are very poorly written,
that's what I'm responding to, not that they're "bubble
gum movies." I absolutely believe that you can
make a good film in any genre on pretty much any topic,
if you write it well enough. I'm not saying that LOTR
is a bore because all fantasy is a bore, I'm saying
the writing and acting in Peter Jackson's film version
is boring. I'm saying that Elija Wood and Sean Astin
are dull actors stuck with breathtakingly dull dialog
that would be rejected from a screenwriting 101 class.
Those last two "Star Wars" films, if I was
the screenwriting teacher and a student turned in those
scripts, I'd fail them. That's what I'm talking about.
E-mail: see the archives
I don't want to keep beating the dead Lord of the Rings
horse, but I'd like to get my thoughts in here. I'll
keep it quick, since there's already been so much discussed
on the topic.
The Hobbit and LOTR are very, VERY different books.
The Hobbit was written for children, while LOTR was
written specifically for adults. It's a big metaphor
for the way the world changed with the industrial revolution
and the introduction of mechanised warfare, etc., that
happens to appeal to children because it has elves and
wizards and all that. But those are the books, not the
Knowing what this and other sites, as well as many books
have taught me about filmmaking, I'm not going to say
that they're great movies (although I do kind of enjoy
them). As far as I can tell, all of the metaphorical
aspects I referred to have been taken out of the movie,
not to mention that the films pretty well follow the
books' pace, which is not a movie's pace - it's uundnerstandable
why Bruce used the word "plodding".
All that said, I think that the way the books have been
adapted to fit into a movie is pretty astounding. You
can tell that Jackson has the same passion for the source
material that Raimi had for "Spider-Man".
On that level, I think the movies succeed. Also, they
managed to cram so much of the books into the movies
that it's pretty commendable, if one has any respect
for the books in the first place.
Okay, that's it. I didn't manage to keep it that short,
but oh well.
certainly seem to be in the minority on this one, and
you're in the majority, and that's how it is. Apparently,
LOTR with its two dull characters plodding through a
land of endless digital effects is sufficient these
days to create, as a young film student just stated
to me, "The best movie trilogy ever!" As my
late friend Rick used to say if someone liked a film
he didn't, "I give it to you." As far Best
Movie Trilogy ever, I would have to go with "The
Godfather," even though Part III sucks, or "The
Road Warrior," even though III sucks. I'm having
a hard time thinking of many other trilogies.
I am in agreement with you on your assesment of LOTR.
It was difficult for me to get through the first one
and it detered me from seeing any of the others.
Fundamentally, I believe as you do, there was no script
and all of the film's energy went into the effects.
Personally, I think the most interesting book in the
Whole Tolkien series is "The Hobbit". I read
the entire LOTR series when I was young, however, it
just doesn't hold up.
I feel that a live action version of "The Hobbit"
could have come off much better than doing the LOTR
series. I feel that even the first "Harry Potter"
movie was more interesting than the first LOTR movie.
Of course, "The Hobbit"was made into an animated
film already which is not half bad.
Oh, I just wanted to mention to John Hunt his use of
the word Semantics is incorrect, it is not the study
of Logos as he mentioned, but it is the study of language.
He may have mixing it up with Semiotics which is the
study of signs and symbols.
I had an excellent professor in college who was fascintated
by the study of both ideas. He went to Africa one year
an did a lot of research on the subject. He came up
with some great ideas with regards to communication
between as humans and animals.
Shirley, the webmaster here, said, "If LOTR was
written for 10-year-olds, 'The Hobbit' was written for
6-year-olds." That adults are falling all over
themselves for this moronic, simpleminded horseshit
is pathetic. It's my curse to be stuck in a time when
the national intelligence quotient seems to have dropped
to the level of pre-pubescence. I daresay that many
of the great, intelligent, well-made films of the past,
like "The Bridge on the River Kwai" or "From
Here to Eternity" or "On the Waterfront,"
would fail now because they'd be over most people's
heads. LOTR, "Star Wars," "Spider-Man,"
"The Hulk," etc. are kid's movies. And for
the elementary school crowd, they're fine. For grown-up
adults, they're nothing to think about or discuss.
Wow! I'm shocked to see that you saw/made it through
"8 mile." I think it's funny how the movie
really didn't have anything to say. Slim Shady-oh i'm
sorry 'bunny rabbit' accomplished nothing from beginning
to end. All he did was freestyle or whatever, but nothing
came out of that. No record contract, his girlfriend's
still a whore, and he's still living it up in the trailer
park. But what do I know, that movie made over 100million
and my movie still hasn't even recieved a rejection
letter from the SlamDance film festival LoL!
Speaking of shitty movies I got dragged to "Kill
Bill" yesturday and it was all that was expected.
Mainly QT showing off what a 'bad-ass, edgy filmmaker'
he is and how witty his diologue is. I still can't understand
why miramax would split it in two other than they're
greedy bastards. People can't sit through 3 hour movies
anymore? They could have just put an intermission in
the middle....but i guess with the short attention spand
of most audiences they like only seeing half the movie
and waiting four months to see the rest.
made $100 million, so what? Anything that's the big
film of the moment, that they invest $50 million or
more in the advertising, is going to gross that much.
Surprise, advertising does work. But nothing has any
legs anymore. Every big picture has a large, bought,
opening weekend, maybe two, then it drops off the map.
When was the last time a film actually stayed up at
number one for a few weeks? Even "Spider-Man,"
which is the fourth largest grossing film of all time,
was only number one for two weeks, then got pushed out
by "Star Wars," which was only at the top
spot for a week or two. There hasn't been a real, honest-to-God,
runaway hit in many years. And everybody seems to be
suckered by that $100 million number, even if the film
cost $150 million, then had $75 million more poured
don't just reply with "no" or something like
that, I really want to know your opinion on this. Have
you ever thought that the reason why 90% of the people
out there(fans, critics, moviemakers) all believe that
certain films like the LOTR are great movies, yet you
trash them, is because you are wrong? I mean, I am sure
you think you are right and all, but have you ever just
once thought that you just have a twisted view on how
things really are? Whether you like some of the mainstream
directors and writers or not, these are smart, smart
people. I thought both LOTR movies have been incredible.
But you trashed them and I completely respect your opinion,
but it prompted me to wonder if you just have a completely
wrong outlook on these things? I am really curious to
what you have to say...
of all, there is no right or wrong in opinions, there's
just mine and your's. But I feel that I've been around
long enough to know why I think something's good or
bad, and in almost every single case it's predicated
on the script. I've also been around long enough to
know that most people think whatever is new is good,
but given some slight perspective they will change their
minds. Also, if my good friend Bruce agrees with me
that a big, popular movie like LOTR is bad, then I know
it really is because I trust his opinion. I also trust
my own opinion, but I don't trust most other people's
opinions. Most people have severely unsophisticated
taste, and are suckers for whatever is being hyped the
most, and whatever seems hot at that second. I don't
need the perspective of time to see what a movie really
is, and whether or not it stands up to my criteria.
Does that answer your question?
just wanted to tell you - if you didn't already know
- that Bill Lustig's DVD-company, Blue Underground has
acquired the rights to release your friend's, Gary Jones'
movie Mosquito. So, soon the "beckerheads"
will be able to see your (in)famous scene in digital
makes it all okay is that I was in decent shape back
then. I get to see how these last ten years have played
hell on me. But that performance, with Gary's help,
put the kabosh on my acting career forever. I'm very
pleased for Gary that he's finally getting a decent
For most of his active career, Paul was preaching to
Greeks, first in the northern Lavant and then through
the Isles and then Greece itself. He preached some in
Rome itself but had far less success there than in Greek
cities like Antioch, Ephesus, etc. Paul's interpretation
of "Christianity" was similar enough to Platonism,
with its fascination with semantics (Logos, etc.) that
it appealed to the Greek philosophers. The Greeks had
a long history with Judaism as well (The Septuagint
was compiled by for the Greeks, not the Jews or Christians)
and Hellenizers were a powerful force in the Judaism
of Jesus' time.
I'm sorry, did someone write a screenplay based on "The
Lord of the Rings"? I assumed they were making
it up as they went along.
I think we've beaten the Christian topic into the dirt.
LOTR certainly didn't seem like it had a screenplay
to me. If Peter Jackson has spent one-one-thousandth
of the time on the script he spent on the effects, he
might have had something bearable. Obviously, that's
not important anymore, just so long as there's a lot
of digital effects. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz!!
In the ongoing religious discussion: I gather Paul pretty
much preached to whoever would listen to him - he was
born and raised a Jew, but was from Tarsus, which is
in southern Turkey somewhere, and was a pretty Greek-dominated
city. I think the whole area was very multi-cultural
by then - there were Jewish communities everywhere,
as well as Greeks, ex-soldiers and former slaves (who
could be from Gaul or Germany or Spain or rural Italy
or wherever) who had settled in the area, etc. Plus
the descendants of the original peoples - Canaanites,
Phoenicians, Philistines and so forth.
Paul initially preached in Damascus (in Syria) to the
Jews there but toanyone else interested too, and then
in his home town of Tarsus, in Turkey. I gather the
biggest conflict between his group and the "original"
disciples of Jesus was about grown men having to be
circumcised to convert. And sheesh - can you blame 'em?
So eventually Paul agreed to go spread the word in non-Jewish
areas - mainly Greek areas that were dominated by the
Romans, but had large Jewish populations - Corinth,
Ephesus, Thessaly, Macedonia, Crete, Athens, and so
forth. Most of his converts were Greeks, slaves, freedmen,
women - basically anyone disenfranchised. I gather that
it was when he was back in Jerusalem that he was arrested
for causing unrest, pretty much like Jesus was.
And just to bring the topic back to film - do you have
some favorite biblical movies? I thought Franco Zefirelli's
tv movie "Jesus of Nazareth" was very well
done, and have enjoyed the TBS films about Joseph, Abraham,
By the way - there's a great bit in the book "I,
Claudius" that I don't think made it to the series.
Caligula gets filled with all these Jewish prophesies
of a god who's born a man at a time of great peace but
who will cause many wars after his death, born outside
of Rome but will rule in Rome, loved by his people but
forsaken by his people, and whose followers will drink
his blood - and he's convinced it's him! He tells his
uncle that as a little boy he ran into a Jewish temple
and announced to the elders that he was the prophesied
one - but then he refused to enlighten them, as it was
beneath his dignity!
wasn't in the BBC mini-series. It's been 30 years since
I read those books, which I loved. Meanwhile, John Hurt
was brilliant as Caligula. There was another book very
similar to "I, Claudius," called "Augustus"
by John Williams (one of the many John Williams) which
won the National Book Award and was really good. The
first half of the book is all letters from people who
knew "Augustus," the second half is his diary.
You ought to be interested for he is your namesake.
on an unrelated topic, I finally saw "8 Mile"
and it was COMPLETE CRAP!!! M&M can't act and has
the same pinched grimace on his face all the time. Kim
Basinger is awful, and the rap "battling"
is embarrassing. "You a bitch!" "No,
you a bitch, and yo' momma be ugly." It's pathetic.
of all, I was the one that first mentioned Antonio's
ethnicity. Plus, I guessed that "latino" is
a PC word for any Hispanic/Southern European person.
So, in promoting Bandera's "latino" background
for Zorro, they are saying that no other Hispanic has
done so. It is highly inaccurate and all the Spaniards
I know would be quick to say they are not "Hispanic".
As for being cast as an Arab, those from Andalusia admit
they are likely descendants of the Moors.
As far as Ben's problem with Jesus as Jew and how Christians
really view the subject: We were taught that Jesus "transcended"
Judaism. So, he might have come from a Jewish heritage
but that he preached and taught something quite different.
So, he is no longer Jewish. Right or wrong, this what
we were taught in church and thus, the focus isn't on
Jesus' ethnic makeup but his philosophy. Indeed, they
don't like even discussing his humanity. In addition
to this philosophical perspective, the Romans often
had to convert people who already had a messiah, one
closer to their culture. So, like Santa Claus, Jesus
became whiter or darker depending on where he was being
However, none of these factors justify the miscasting
of a Jesus in a Historical portrait.
part of Christian theology is this nonsense of Jesus
"transcending Judaism," which, were he still
alive when this concept was dreamt up, I have no doubt
he would have completely disputed. Jesus never said
that he transcended Judaism, nor would he have. It's
just the silly, divisive interpretations after his demise.
Jesus was a Jew, from the moment of his birth to the
end of his life. If he was the son of God, then God
was Jewish, too. Therefore, anyone that's a Christian
doesn't believe in Jesus and doesn't believe in God.
Don't assume that I'm prejudiced, because I'm not. I
still think that all religions are idiotic, evil, and
intentionally moronic for the masses. Religion is a
cop-out for those that don't have the inner strength
to take personal responsibility for their own lives,
and is just a variation on joining the military where
you're not expected to think or make your own decisions.
said earlier that Lord of the Rings is a bad script
with a dull lead character.
I was wondering what you thought of the book, if you've
read about 50 pages of "The Hobbit" in junior
high, absolutely hated it, and never went any farther.
Please keep in mind, for whatever it's worth, that I
was probably one of the biggest readers in my junior
high and high school and I had already read a lot of
books, particularly science fiction. "The Hobbit"
seemed like pure drivel to me. Regarding the movies,
Elija Wood and Sean Astin are BORING, basically have
nothing to say, and don't have a one-dimensional character
Nice catch by Darryl. I checked and Banderas is, as
Darryl rightly points out, Spanish. But it does not
quite refute my point as I believe that Spaniards are
generally considered "caucasian" rather than
'latino'. That the movie was promoted, if only in passing,
on the basis of the first "latino" Zorro,
what exactly does that mean?
I know I wasn't going to touch upon this again but I
hope you'll indulge me. I absolutely agree with you
that Jesus would have considered himself a Jew, as would
have the first generations of his followers considered
themselves. As you rightly point out, Judaism allows
for a great range of beliefs and practices within its
scope. I'm not certain when the Judaizers in the early
Christian Church finally petered out (3rd century?)
but they were the most direct decendents of Jesus' movement
and clearly considered themselves a reform movement
within Judaism, as did the Essenes and others. They
were also treated as such by the Jews of the time; witness
their defense by the Pharisee leader Gamaliel at the
trial of Apostles before the Sanhedrin (Acts 5:34-41).
Gamaliel's response was essentially that movements like
Jesus' were commonplace in Judaism. Even the opponents
of the early Christian Church acknowledged their Jewish
nature. Anybody who doesn't accept the Jewish nature
of Jesus hasn't read his or her own propaganda. Thanks,
as it got farther and farther from the time of Jesus,
Christianity became less and less about Jesus and his
beliefs, and more and more about the interpretation,
until you have the papacy making it into something else
entirely. By the time of Martin Luther and the beginning
of the Reformation, the Catholic church is the most
corrupt institution on the planet, and has never changed.
Somehow, I'm reminded of an old "Peanuts"
cartoon where Linus mentions the "patience of Job,"
and the entire baseball team launches into a deep discussion
on the religious ramifications of that expresion. Charlie
Brown ends up saying "Good grief! I don't have
a ball team. I have a theological seminary!"
That said, I do agree with you completely about the
weird skittishness in society in general to admit Jesus
was a Jew. (And I still keep hearing Graham Chapman
saying "I'm a Yid, mum!")
Interesting point: Apparently Peter and Paul had a major
rift early on, over Paul's willingness to preach to
and baptize Gentiles. They eventually compromised, and
agreed that Peter and his group would continue as nothing
more than a progressive sect of Judaism, while Paul
was free to preach to whomever he wanted. As it happened,
the non-Jewish converts were more numerous and more
receptive (Paul's active inclusion of women was a big
part of this, I understand) than the Jews, and gradually
the sect morphed into its own deal, as opposed to just
a spin-off of Judaism.
So yeah - I imagine Jesus would be mortified to discover
that what got started in his name became such a blatantly
Romanized institution, one that actually persecuted
Jews. Now *there* would be a great moment of cinematic
irony - a revived Jesus seeing himself displayed on
a Roman cross and being worshipped like an idol!
think he'd be deeply offended. So you're saying the
Paul was preaching to non-Jews? Who would that have
been in Israel? The Arabs? It certainly wasn't the Romans.
For quite a while there Christianity was nothing more
than a sect of Judaism. Also keep in mind that there
were even more books of apostles, like the Book of Thomas,
that basically contradicted everything that Peter and
Paul said, that was dropped from the canon as the church
solidified, as was all of the apocrypha. Thomas was
the one who interpreted Jesus's teachings with a much
more Buddhist view, that God is not outside of us, God
is within everyone, which the church felt undermined
their power, so they dropped it. Anyway, you're right,
a theological society has sprung up in the Movie Geek
Salon. I listened to Bruce Campbell tear "Lord
of the Rings" to smithereens last night, which
was highly amusing. He voted it "the most plodding
movie ever made." Meanwhile, I spoke at a screenwriting
class at MSU last week, and one of the students voted
"Lord of the Rings" "the best movie trilogy
ever." I guess that makes it better than "The
you for the well-wishes. It looks like March for us,
although that is subject to change (the word on when
we would be going home has changed at least ten times
since the start of the deployment, and probably will
Just a few thoughts to throw out there: I don't think
that followers of Jesus would properly become Jews,
as the philosophy that he preached was markedly different
from the mainstream Judaism of the time, so much so
that the Pharisees marked it as heresy. Strictly speaking,
Christians are followers of Christ. His sermon that
God was a loving, forgiving being that pervades all
things and people was a definite turn from the angry,
vengeful, distant God of Abraham that the Keepers of
the Law held as the status quo. Theologically, it is
important to understand the religious philosophy from
which Christ's words were based, but to also understand
how they deviated from them.
Sorry, didn't mean to go into a theological rant there
(as an anti-cleric, I surprised myself). Moving on to
something else; Someone mentioned that the publicity
for THE MASK OF ZORRO portrayed Antonio Banderas as
a "latino" actor playing the Spanish nobleman
Zorro, and that this was incorrect. If I recall, Banderas
isn't Latino; he's actually from Spain, born and raised,
so the casting was actually accurate. Now having him
play an Arab in THE THIRTEENTH WARRIOR is another story....
One last thing about R. Lee Ermey. I spotted the role
he played in APOCALYPSE NOW. He is the pilot of the
Kiowa scout helicopter during the scene where they attack
the village. You hear his voice (it doesn't sound the
same as in FMJ) feeding intel to LTC Kilgore, then his
bird takes a hit from the ground, and he reports a mayday.
It's not a large role, and Ermey has a flight helmet
and aviator sunglasses on throughout.
No wonder I couldn't spot him. My point regarding Jesus
is that he was a Jew from birth to death, and should
he return, he'd still be a Jew. Yes, he was looking
at Judaism his own way, but that didn't make him any
less of a Jew. One of the postitive aspects of Judaism,
in my opinion, is that you don't have to do anything
to be a Jew, and no one can throw you out. If you're
born a Jew, you die a Jew, and it doesn't matter what
you say or do. Sure, if you have a tattoo or you commit
suicide you're put in another part of the cemetery,
but you're not an outcast. Therefore, since Jesus was
a Jew, he'd never be a Christian. Ever.
story on Two Gun Crowley & Fats Durringer have a
difference to what I have read. The girl Fats killed
was Virgina Brennan, she would be my Great Great Aunt's
daughter, who married a Brennan & lived in Maine.
The story as I read it was she tried to escape the car
& they killed her, in the newspapers there was no
mention of rape. What is the true story??? Thanks a
lot. Virgina had only been in New York a few weeks.
main source of reference for that story was a book called
"Bloodletters and Bad Men" By Jay Robert Nash.
In it he says, "When she [Virginia Banner] refused
to go out with Duringer, he and Crowley waited for her
one night and after she left the hall, the two shoved
her into their green coupe and drove to an isolated
spot. There Duringer raped her repeatedly. Then Crowley,
using the pistol he had given himself for his nineteenth
birthday, shot her to death."
been working on a feature screenplay based upon the
life of a famous, dead Canadian. I won't bore you with
the specifics, but everything about the project truly
excites and fascinates me and I've spent many months
trying to create a script that's solid and interesting.
Today I found out that an established independent producer
who is a Canadian citizen (I'm not) is in the process
of working on a screenplay about the same historical
figure with an award-winning writer. Naturally, my heart
sank and I felt like an idiot for thinking my "one-of-a-kind"
idea would not be in someone else's head as well --
someone with a hell of a lot more clout, resources,
etc. than me.
My initial goal was to keep working on the script until
it was absolutely perfect, then contact producers in
Vancouver to pitch the idea. I have a few short films
to my credit, but nothing at a professional level.
My question is, do you think it's naive to not accept
defeat at the recent news of this intimidating competition?
I'm clinging to the hope that their plans will gather
dust and eventually disappear. Also, judging from their
past credits, the movie that I've been envisioning is
very different from anything they would do.
Have you ever encountered this problem?
because an independent producer is developing a scipt
doesn't mean that they're making a movie. Most movie
projects die before they're made. Has this dead Canadian
been dead long? Like a hundred years? Otherwise, you
might need permission from the estate or the family,
which this producer may have gotten. As Ferdinand Foch,
commander of the French Army during WWI, said, "The
first rule of victory is to never admit defeat."
Cynthia E. Jones
Regarding casting "against type": James Stewart
played "the bad guy" in the movie "After
the Thin Man" back in 1936, when he was still young
and devastatingly handsome. Sure, he was debonair and
bad, but still a bad guy.
But that whole "against type" thing begs the
question: aren't actors actors? And shouldn't they be
a whole lot of different types? I know the parts are
not always given to them (see Jaime Pressly and her
recent "New Yorker" interview: "I'm always
the hot girlfriend of the jock."), but they should.
I think it's kind of sad that flexible actors are generally
called "character actors" and people like
Vin Diesel are "stars," when he's a much worse
actor than the guy playing his sidekick.
Ahh...Hollywood. And this is why I like actors like
Sam Rockwell. He's handsome! No, wait, he's ugly! He's
a killer..no, he's the nice guy. When I was studying
theater arts growing up, I thought that kind of range
would be expected of anyone trying to enter the field
of acting. I should have known--just work on your tan,
don't eat, and try to look cute. Then you'll get hired.
Not acting any more,
also don't think that actors need to be attractive.
I like ugly and weird-looking actors. I'd much rather
see the fat, creepy Franklin character in a wheelchair
in "Texas Chainsaw Massacre," then some model-type.
I thought I'd read this years ago, but checked the IMDB
to be sure. Here's what they said:
Ronald Ermey's real life USMC career is not at all on
the same level as his famous character Gunnery Sergeant
Hartman. In real life, Ermey was a Staff Sergeant and,
although a Vietnam veteran, was never awarded the Purple
Heart or a combat decoration (Bronze Star, Silver Star,
He rose to the rank of Staff Sergeant, and his Marine
service included one and a half tours in Vietnam. After
injuries forced him to retire from military service,
he moved to the Phillipines, enrolling in the University
of Manila, where he studied Criminology and Drama. He
appeared in several Phillipino films, before being cast
as a Helicopter pilot in Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse
Now. Due to his Vietnam experiences, Coppola also utilized
him as a technical advisor. He got a featured role in
Sidney Furie's The Boys in Company C, Playing A drill
instructor. He was not intended to be in Full Metal
Jacket (1987). He was on the set to show the actor how
to be a sergent but did such a better job that they
hired him to play the part.
Although he retired from the United States Marine Corps
in 1971, Ermey was later awarded the Honorary rank of
U.S. Marine Corps awards and decorations include: Meritorious
Unit Commendation, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal,
National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal
(w/bronze service star), Vietnam Campaign Medal (w/60
Device), Vietnam Gallentry Cross (w/Palm), Good Conduct
Medal (w/2 bronze service stars), Marksman Badge (w/Rifle
Bar) and Sharpshooter Badge (w/Pistol Bar).
So there you go.
for the research. So, he never was a DI. eh? Interesting.
Well, he does a hell of a good impression of one. I
wonder if he can be spotted as a chopper pilot in "Apocalypse
The other day, someone said he didn't want to spend
time writing, he just wanted to direct a film. Should
he be criticized for that? What if he's not a writer?
friend brought this exact issue up, so I already have
an answer. As a young filmmaker you must do everything.
As a director you absolutely must know how stories function,
and you won't figure that out any other way then by
writing them. You may not be a camerman, either, but
at first you have to that, too. As well as edit, and
get coffee, and drive to the lab, and anything else
that needs to be done. The second you throw some impediment
in your path that can't be surmounted without someone
else's help, you're boned. Give up. You want to get
something done, then do it. As Laurence Olivier said,
"You think you're an artist, prove it."
A couple of things - first thing, just wanted to back
up Darryl on the R Lee Ermy thing. I'd read an interview
with Kubrick years ago where he talked about casting
Ermey after seeing him work his DI mojo on some actors.
Managed to dig up that interview - the URL is http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/style/movies/features/kubrick1987.htm
if you or anyone else is interested.
I remeber reading another interview with Ermey where
he said he wanted to do more comedy, which initially
struck me an odd notion. Talk about casting against
type! Which brings me to the second thing - what do
you think about casting actors against type? Can you
think of examples in your work or the works of others
where casting against type worked, or didn't work?
As always, thanks for your time, and fight the good
R. Lee Ermey an actual DI, that's what I want to know?
He certainly is casting for the part, particularly in
"Boys in Company C" when he was younger and
his teeth were messed up. He must have used the money
from that film having his teeth fixed. Regarding casting,
there are certain physical types you can't fight, like
a muscle man or the gorgeous babe or a thin nerd or
a fat person (gravitationally challenged). But if you
look at Alec Guinness's career, nothing would have inspired
casting him as a tough army colonel in "Bridge
on the River Kwai" previous to that, he was basically
a comic actor in films like "The Lavender Hill
Mob" and "The Man in the White Suit."
My point is, a good actor has no type, they just play
the part. When James Stewart finally got a chance to
start playing bad guys in the 1950s, he was a great,
pissed-off bad guy. And who could have predicted the
turn Leslie Neilsen's Career took? Everything he did
from 1950 to 1980 was deadly serious, then he made "Airplane!"
and now he's a comic actor. And since comedy is frequently
played dead serious, the more serious you can be, the
funnier you are.
sucks to hear about what happened to Jeremy. I do remember
him in "Brisco County" and in "The Mask"
as the bouncer. I did like him a lot in Running Time
though. That movie is one of the best independent films
ever. Acting is great, the one liners Bruce says, and
you got the beautiful Anita Barone.
Now on to Hatred, I did love the commentary just like
I liked it on Running Time. It did make the movie funnier.
Some of it was cheesy, but I guess that's the way I
that's good. I prefer movies that are not cheesy or
stupid. I have no great regard for bad movies, nor do
I get much enjoyment out of laughing at films. I think
the whole veneration of bad movies has resulted in just
about all movies becoming bad. The bad is to be shunned,
and the good welcomed, not vice versa.
In all the back and forth comments you and I have made
throughout my history here, the only one that still
makes me react physically is the one about Christians
not wanting to believe the Christ was Jewish. Is there
some deeper level to your criticism? Some subtext that
I'm missing? Or do you really believe that Christians
deny that Christ was a Jew. I know he was a Jew. My
parents know it. Everyone I've ever spoken religion
with knows it. The priests mention it in their sermons.
I can only assume that of the many Christians you've
met, none of them were Traditional Catholic. In fact,
even in the new, messed up Catholicism, they all knew
he was a Jew. I wish there was some way for me to impress
this point upon you--we are aware of the Jewishness
of Christ. He was a rabbi. They celebrated Passover.
And such. I guess I can't ask you to stop saying that
Christians deny that Christ was a Jew, so, oh hell.
Please stop saying that Christians don't think Christ
was a Jew.
Okay, back up. Are you talking Protestants, Baptists,
and all the other denominations? Or do you mean Catholics,
too? I could supply you with a consensus, if you wish,
of 2000 Catholics that I know personally, that would
corroborate your claim, that Christ was a Jew.
As always, thanks for your time.
and all other Christians can pay lip-service to it,
but if you REALLY believed that the son of God was Jewish,
you'd be Jewish, too. None of this man-made horseshit
that came after the fact would apply at all. If the
son of God is a Jew, therefore God is a Jew, and if
you want to be anything like God or his son, you'd be
a Jew, too. Okay? I personally don't believe God is
a Jew, nor any other religion, nor of any form or shape
that we humans can understand. I believe that it's painfully
simpleminded to try and quantify the incredible, awesome
forces that make up our world and universe. To me religion
is a Bronze-Age understanding of life.
I read your comment on Gianneti's Understanding movies.
I was wondering what books you would recommend then
whose knowledge will aid in filmmaking. I agree with
your simple criteria that you listed out, but I think
all or at least many filmmakers have those criteria
in mind when they first make a movie. Many believe the
story is worth being told. Many labour meticulously
for hours just to get "the shot." Many work
for those beatiful camera angles in belief that it adds
to the story they are trying to convey. But what makes
a good movie good, or better yet a great movie great??
Unless the judgement is all relative, there has to be
a more solid, narrowed-down substance to movie criticism.
Josh, you probably have developed an eye in recognizing
a bad movie when you see it and I respect that. And
I guess, recognizing an awful movie is pretty much common
sense as well... if it's boring, it's boring and it
stinks. If it's lame, it's lame and it stinks. If its
stupid, it's stupid and... well... it stinks. Doesn't
take a genius to recognize an awful movie. But what
happens when you get to criticizing a movie that you
say stinks and another says has the scent of excellence.
I say Lord of the Rings stinks, and another says it
is one of the best movies ever made. Another says Schindler's
list is an example of a great movie, whereas you drastically
differ in oppinion. Is it just that? - Oppinion. I mean,
when a movie plain stinks it's easy to spot and many
will agree -- corny acting, awful cinematography, and
just plain boring. But, as you and I both know, there
will definitely be a sea of differing oppinions. In
the midst of all of that, the void of the "why???"
still lingers. In analogy to the methods of a good practitioner
who delves down to find the root cause of a disease,
a film critic or a filmmaker should delve down to the
root cause of the disease. Certain symptoms are identified.
But let's not concentrate just on the symptoms, but
delve into the core and root cause and in so doing we
can then create a compass, a paradigm, a map to the
road of preventative and healthy measures. We see symptoms
of a bad movie (boring, dull, lame, etc.), please let's
delve deeper and identify the root cause... dr. Becker.
the script, plain and simple. The fact that kids are
very impressed with digital effects means shit to me.
"Lord of the Rings" has a bad script with
an exceptionally dull lead character. "Schindler's
List" has a one-dimensional, utterly unbelievable
lead character, who unrealistically switches from all
black to all white, with a ham-handed director pounding
you on the head to makes his points. The big difference
is the viewer's taste. Most viewers are unsophisticated
and take most everything they're handed as truth and
art. I know it's an overstatement, and I probably bring
it up too often, but George Bernard Shaw said, "If
more than 10% of the population likes a painting it
should be burned, for it is bad." If the masses
like a film it's probably painfully stupid so that it
can appeal to such a wide spectrum of people. So, the
ultimate criteria for what is a good film lies within
each of us. I can only view films from my perspective,
just like you. And I can only apply my criteria when
criticizing a film.
are you? I'm still in Baghdad (we got this internet
cafe a few months ago; glad to know the $87 billion
went to something). Anyway, I was reading the rants
on the ol' message board and decided to chime in.
On the subject of a Jewish actor playing Jesus, I have
to agree with some others on the website and say that
the specific religion or ethnicity of the actor doesn't
matter as much as the performance and appearance of
the character. I don't agree with the old Hollywood
system of bending over backwards to give ethnic roles
to Caucasian actors, but in many instances, the talent
of the actor is showcased by taking on an ethnic role.
Burt Lancaster was excellent as an Apache warrior and
a Mexican in APACHE and VALDEZ IS COMING, respectively;
Toshiro Mifune was great as a Mexican peasant in UN
HOMBRE MUY IMPORTANTE, and there are many other examples.
Should Hollywood have the guts to make Christ look like
the Sephardic Jew that he was? Of course. Should a gentile
actor who could portray Christ in this matter be given
a shot at it, ethnicity nonwithstanding? Certainly.
In other matters, I haven't seen the new TEXAS CHAINSAW
MASSACRE yet, nor do I particularly want to. No doubt
it will be as unsatisfying as the remake of NIGHT OF
THE LIVING DEAD. Too slick of a production value destroys
the effect of the story; in the original TCM and NOTLD,
the extras and grainy photography give the plot an almost
documentary feel, and a really creepy vibe. Make the
protagonists too attractive, the blood too stylized,
and the antagonists too cardboard cutout psychotic,
and all that is lost. Unfortunately, it seems to be
the trend in Hollywood nowadays to scavenge of the past
and try to recycle it.
On the subject of R. Lee Ermey, I heard a Hollywood
legend that he was originally hired as a technical advisor
on FULL METAL JACKET, and was completely unsatisfied
with every casting choice for the DI. Supposedly, he
made his opinion to colorfully and verbally known that
Kubrick decided to cast him instead. Any truth to this
to hear from you. I hope you get rotated out very soon
(I hear there's a big rotation coming in January, I
hope you're included). Getting back to the endless discussion
of a Jew playing Jesus -- since Jesus was a Jew, and
since a Jew has never played Jesus in a film, don't
you think it's time? Regarding this piece of casting,
there is a much bigger agenda below the surface than
simply that gentile actors are more suitable for the
part, which is of course nonsense. This miscasting is
strictly to pacifiy the Christians. Period. It has nothing
to do with good casting or good filmmaking, it's strictly
PC in regard to Christians. And it's not like Jim Calvaziel
is a big star and will sell tickets, either. It's that
Mel Gibson is a chicken. Regarding R. Lee Ermey in FMJ,
I've never heard that story, but if it's true then I'm
happier about the casting, and the complete rip-off
of "Boys in Company C."
your ass home, dude.
don't think you should think this way about films. Not
all of them are the way you say. I really like the "big
you're lucky and you get your money's worth. I won't
condemn you for thinking like you do, so why shouldn't
I think the way I do?
thanks for the website. Sorry to say I haven't seen
any of your films, but I'll keep an eye out for them
next time I'm in the video store (which is not often).
But I have read all the articles and essays you've posted,
and enjoyed them all. Probably helps that I pretty much
agree with most of what you've written (both film making
and political stuff), but even the most rambling of
the essays is still well written and an entertaining
read. Anyway, I thought since you'd gone to the trouble
to put them on public display, I'd go to the trouble
of praising them.
By the way, a note on your essay about police not having
guns in New Zealand; unfortunately they carry guns in
Australia (where I live), but strangely enough in the
UK they don't. Go figure.
Thanks again for your thoughtful comments and hope you
keep making those movies,
PS I can still occasionally enjoy a bad or flawed film.
Sometimes the good is so good, it overshadows the bad.
A lot of people think 'Apocalypse Now' is a great movie,
even though the end with Marlon Brando totally ruins
it for me (the end is the most important part!!!!).
Having said that, 'Gladiator' absolutely stank.
agree, the entire third act of "Apocalypse Now"
stinks. From the moment they arrive at Kurtz's camp
it all goes wrong. A lot of that probably has to do
with Marlon Brando arriving on location weighing 300
pounds, which couldn't have been more inappropriate
for a commando leader living in the jungle for many
years. Also, Coppola simply did not have the end of
the story figured out at all. Also, all of the new footage
added into the "Redux" version sucks, and
was deservedly cut out. But I still do enjoy the first
two acts of the old, non-redux version, right up to
Do Long Bridge. Meanwhile, as you and I well know, Australia
and New Zealand are very different places. And both
of them are very different from England. Australia probably
has guns because of its history as a penal colony. It
amuses the hell out of me when I mention New Zealand
and Americans reply, "Oh, that's an island off
the coast of Australia, right?" Yeah, just 2,000
miles off the coast. In America that would be like saying,
"Chicago, that's a city right next to Los Angeles,
couldn't get all the way through the long 85-minute
running time in one sitting?
Yeah I could have, but my brother in law moved in buttfuck
12 midnight, when I was enjoying Thou Shall Not Kill...
I loved the movie. I still need to listen to the commentary,
but I did love the one with you and Bruce on Running
Time. Did you like "Hatred of a Minute"? Thats
if you saw it. Even though it's old, I like the feel
of independant films. I don't like too much of the big
budget films anymore. And I hope, "Of I had a Hammer"
will make it to DVD, but I guess I will have to order
VHS from your site sometime this week.
Has Jeremy Roberts been doing any other films at all.
Last time I looked his site it said on there that he
had a attack or something like that. Best wishes,
haven't spoken with Jeremy in a long time, but he did
have a heart attack. I think he's all right now, though.
I just watched my first Xena ep, "A Fistful of
Dinars," again (since it came out on DVD), and
Jeremy is really good in it. The guy's a real scene-stealer,
and Lucy and Renee are such lovely actors that they
never had a problem with letting someone else steal
the scenes. I actually didn't make it all the way through
"Hatred," but I wasn't all that impressed
with what I saw.
Just wanted to ask a few questions about your opinion
on gentile Jesuses. What exactly is your gripe? Is any
Jewish actor preferable to a gentile, even in the case
of a Paul Newman or Edward G. Robinson? These guys hardly
look the way Jews did during biblical times, it may
as well be Jefferey Hunter if you're going to use your
run of the mill ashkenazi. If you are saying that Jesus
should be more sephardic-looking, then that's different
than demanding he be Jewish. For example, Anthony Quin
was not Jewish but he could pass for a sephardic Jew
before Newman or Harrison Ford could. Likewise, Al Pacino
looks more like a Jew than Kirk Douglas. If you're saying
that the casting of a blue-eyed and blond haired Christ
is innaccurate, I completely agree. If you're just interested
in filling the position with a bona fide Jew, then I
think it's a little silly.
Lest we forget, Emilio Estevez is of latin descent but
played one hell ofa Billy the Kid in the extraordinary
films YOUNG GUNS 1 & 2.
I'm not trying to piss off the irascible Josh Becker,
just wondering what you're thinking.
now politically incorrect to cast whites as Native-Americans
or Asians (like Jeff Chandler as Cochise or Warner Oland
as Charlie Chan), so why isn't it politically incorrect
to cast a gentile as a Jew? Jesus was a Jew, so why
shouldn't he be cast as one? What about the feelings
of the Jews? Don't they deserve some consideration?
My Greek friend absolutely hates "Zorba the Greek"
because Mexican Anthony Quinn plays Zorba. This may
not matter to all of us non-Greeks, but it matters to
them. The casting of whites as Indians really pissed
off the Native-Americans, but it didn't bother white
people. A gentile playing a Jew bothers the Jews, isn't
I was thinking about the Jewish actor-as-Christ thing
- Dustin Hoffman would have been about the right age
for "King of Kings," or "Greatest Story,"
right? And as you said, Kirk Douglas or Tony Curtis
or Paul Newman or any of those guys would have been
available in an earlier decade.
Ah well... - as Adam Sandler observed:
"Paul Newman's half Jewish, Goldie Hawn's half
too - Put those two together--what a fine lookin' Jew!
....We got Ann Landers and her sister Dear Abby, Harrison
Ford's a quarter Jewish-- not too shabby..."
miscasting of gentiles as Jesus is strictly based on
an erroneous view of political correctness and nothing
else. If a Jew were cast as Jesus it would offend the
Christians who don't want to really believe that Jesus
was Jewish. If Christians actually owned up to Jesus
being Jewish, then they would naturally have to question
why they are Christians, right? If the son of God was
Jewish, ergo God is Jewish. And if God's a Jew, then
all other religions are blasphemers.
"I recently read "Wizard: The Life & Times
of Nikola Tesla" and completely enjoyed every moment."
FYI : http://www.netsense.net/tesla
In case you have any contacts who might be interested
in our screenplay based on Marc's book.
Cheers, Tim Eaton http://us.imdb.com/name/nm0247886
I liked it a lot, too. Tesla was a great character,
and the yang to Edison's yin. I particularly enjoyed
that he took X-ray baths everyday.
you so mean. A man of art shouldn't give a fuck about
the shit you blathered out. Who fucking cares what you
think. Make your movies and be great at what your doing
instead of writing these shit essays, the kind your
made to write in college. It's fucking bullshit.
said I'm "a man of art"? And who fucking cares
what you think? Certainly not me.
a couple of comments about ethnic casting and Gentile
Jesii(?). John Hunt's complaint about Antonio Banderas
being described as a Latino is a bit misplaced. He is
Spanish (Andalusian to be exact) and probably the correct
type of Spaniard who would have been found in California
for the Zorro story. I think "Latino" is just
being used as a catch all PC term to describe anybody
As far as Jesus goes, have there been star quality Jewish
actors that have been available to portray the Christ?
I honestly don't know, I'm not up to date on all the
younger actors these days and can't remember off the
top of my head, older actors that might have been passed
up. The only Jewish/Israeli, young actor I can think
of is Oded Fehr, who ironically often plays Arabs/Egyptians.
have been many Jewish actors, from Edward G. Robinson
(real name, Emmanuel Goldenberg), to John Garfield (Julius
Garfinkel), to Kirk Douglas (Issur Demsky), to Paul
Newman (who is half-Jewish). I think it's a bit of an
overstatement to use "star quality" regarding
Jim Calvaziel. The guy's a character actor at best.
friend said the same thing about the ending of Bubba
HoTep. And he said why would the mummy be afraid of
2 old geezers. But yea, I loved the movie, I thought
Bruce did a really good job at Elvis. I did see it when
Bruce came down here in San Diego, which was a good
time. I've seen some of Thou Shall Not Kill... and I
like the grittyness of the film, giving it a good time
essance. Sam looks very cool as a bad guy though.
couldn't get all the way through the long 85-minute
running time in one sitting?
name is Josh Barnett and I am a senior in High School.
I live in the small town of Florence Alabama. I want
to be a film maker (just like evryone else). Anyway,
I love making small non funded independednt films. The
problem is that I love making the films so much, I cant
take time to write them. I found your website and I
was just wondering if would mind me and a few of my
friends making a no-budget film out of one of your never
created screen plays like BUD or BALL BREAKERS. We will
not be sailing them. It will mostly be for fun and for
me to get more experience and lines on my resume. I
realize I could have just done like most other young
film makers and made a movie out of your work without
asking, but I know how much time and effort that goes
in to these screen plays. I figured I would at least
have enough respect to ask you first. If you say its
ok, will be producing the movie with 3 Canon XL1s's
and editing it with Adobe Premier 6.0, Arcsoft Showbiz,
and Digieffects. Thank you for your time. Maybe I will
here from you soon.
all due respect, the idea that you love filmmaking,
but haven't got time to write a script is idiotic. The
script is the most important part of a film, and if
you don't have the time, or the ability, to come up
with stories you should probably not be a filmmaker.
What stories you tell is the bottom-line of who you
are as a filmmaker. Therefore, I do not grant you permission
to shoot any of my scripts. Come up with your own stories,
put in the time, it's part of the process. Good luck
A little comment on the subject of casting ethnicities
(e.g. gentile Jesus'). I remember when Antonio Banderas'
"Zorro" movie was released one of the promotional
points was that Banderas was the first Latino to play
Zorro on the screen. I found that ironic as Zorro, the
character, was a Spanish nobleman, not a "Latino"
at all. I am of the opinion that worrying too much about
ethnicity is a waste of time since ethnicity is self-defined.
This is particularly true of historical characters,
as the genetic mix has often changed so radically in
the intervening period. Try to reproduce a historical
personage if you can, but draw from whatever group is
That having been said, I understand someone is filming
a blonde, basically Germanic, Alexander The Great. I
guess they think this guy will do a better job than
Burton. Anyway, I'll admit that a German Alexander doesn't
On the subject of a Xena revival, I hope they let the
thing alone. If they want to bring something back from
that experience I agree with something you posted a
long time ago. You mentioned in passing that you thought
the "Action Pack" concept of essentially test-driving
series concepts made sense to you, and I agree. I think
the relative costs would be low and the potential rewards
significant. Most importantly, it could allow for a
creativity not available in a thirteen-minimum episode,
prime-time series. I won't hold my breath, however.
How "Action Pack" ever happened in the first
place is beyond me. That must be a great story in itself.
casting in general is not what I'm scoffing at, it's
the casting of gentiles as Jesus, which is how it's
always been done, which is flatly out of fear that the
Christians will freak out if they see a Jewish Jesus.
It's a supremely gutless move, and anyone that perpetuates
it is a coward. And that includes all of the Christians
with pictures of the blond-haired, blue-eyed, Jeffery
Hunter-style Jesus on their walls and dashboards. The
Jews have gone way out of their way to not inter-marry,
so we still know very clearly what a semitic-looking
Jew looks like (just like my uncle Amos in Tel Aviv,
with black nappy hair and a big nose). But once you've
made a cowardly concession like casting a gentile as
Jesus, everything that follows will ergo be bullshit.
the "Action Pack" was a good idea, and I have
no concept how it came to be.
I feel the same way about movies now, how they mostly
do suck. Even though I do like Freddy Kruger alot, I
just didnt like the film as much as I did with Nightmare
1. I did see Texas Chainsaw, and my roomate and I think
that the original is the best. This new one did not
even seem scary. I won't even go waste a cent to see
Mystic River, since I already heard how much it did
suck. But anyways, I just picked up Thou Shall not Kill...
and I haven't seen it yet, but I have heard its really
Did you ever get to see Bubba Ho-Tep at all yet? If
you did, did you like it.
I saw "Bubba Hotep" the week before last when
Bruce was in town. I enjoyed the first hour, and I thought
Bruce and Ossie Davis made a good team. The last half
hour really blew, though. It didn't tie up any of it's
threads, the battle with Bubba was lame -- he's set
on fire once and it doesn't kill him, but it does kill
him the second time? That's bad writing. And the ending
is an emotional dud. Still, it did seem original, and
that's saying a lot these days.
If we're relying on the consciousness of a sunflower
and a grasshopper, I don't think that God will be smoting
any actors today.
In good fun, right?
don't think God smotes anyone ever. Yes, of course,
it's all in good fun. But as the great Joseph Campbell
said, in his opinion the least helpful of all the religions
are the Judeo-Christian religions (which includes Islam)
because they purport that God is outside of us, looking
down on us and judging us. The useful religions, like
Buddhism, Hindu, and most tribal religions, say that
God is not only within us, he (she, it), in fact, is
us. We are God; it's not a seperate thing, and the second
you seperate yourself from God you are living in confusion.
ONE of "Hercules" has just been released on
DVD in the UK and it includes an 80 minute featurette
called "The Men Behind the Myth" which was
filmed in August and includes a lengthy discussion between
Kevin Sorbo and director Bill Norton about Anthony Quinn.
Sorbo asks Norton if he knew that Quinn hated one of
the Herc telemovie directors and Norton asks if it was
him or Doug Lefler. Sorbo replies "No, it was Josh,
Rob Tapert's's friend" although he says that he
had no problem with you himself. Sorbo suggests that
Quinn was offended when a director asked him to react
in a scene by repeating a performance style that he
used in a scene from LAWRENCE OF ARABIA. Quinn said
"I never repeat my performances" and walked
away. If you were that director do you recall this event
Josh and were you aware that Quinn held this opinion
never asked Anthony Quinn to repeat a performance from
"Lawrence of Arabia" or any other film. I
did ask for a bigger reaction on one shot, which did
piss him off -- he felt his reaction had been big enough,
and in fact it was. I did ask him a question about "Lawrence"
that same night and he flatly told me to "fuck
off." I mentioned this to Eric, the producer, who
replied, "Hey, I got five on you. Quinn's told
me to fuck off six times now." But I was the only
director who Quinn didn't call "boy" (he called
Bill Norton "boy," and Bill was in his 50s).
This was based on me standing up to him on the first
day of the shoot and asking for a second take when he
didn't feel it was necessary. I stood my ground, he
did another take and it was better. After he was wrapped
that day, Quinn showed back up on the set, took me aside
and apologized to me. Quite frankly, I think I was the
only director in the bunch that he respected at all,
and that's because I wasn't afraid of him and showed
it. Kevin's got the story wrong.
E-mail: upon request
"You're-- you know, you're-- very attractive. I
just don't think this is gonna work. Look-- you're a
pagan. I'm a Zoro-astrian. How will we raise our kids?"
Did Ted improvise that?
Anyway, I think the Xena fandom buzzes about a possible
feature film only because at a convention or two since
the show's folded, Creation Ent. has passed out little
surveys asking the fans what they'd like to see story-wise
in a movie: Post-finale story, a story set in the classic
period of the show, that sort of thing. I think it's
more or less an attempt to keep interest alive in the
franchise, for future convention attendances and merchandise
sales (numbers have taken a nose dive). Also, when asked
at such venues, Lucy, Renee or Rob has answered that-
sure, they'd like to make one if it ever comes to fruition
and they're not too old. (What are they going to say
to fans' faces? "Hell no"?) During print interviews
however (and you've said yourself she's relayed this
to you), Lucy has gone on record as saying anything
from - she doesn't miss it, she thought the last season
was poison to shoot and she just wanted to kill it,
to- they'll probably be too old, to - it's not clear
to her who really "owns" X:WP.
Lucy and Kevin Sorbo filed suit against Universal about
a month or so ago for cooking the books regarding their
respective % cuts of the profits, so, how warm and fuzzy
would Universal feel about green-lighting a project
with the star in the middle of a lawsuit against them?!
Also, a writer of one episode of Xena has said she was
interviewed by Rob a long while ago I think on possibly
writing a feature. So even that gets the fans all atingle.
I think Rob has always dabbled around and pursued it
to some extent off and on, but I don't think there's
an iron super-hot or anything.
Steve Sears has said that anyone who wrote a Xena film
would have to have a feature film writing credit to
be taken seriously and he hadn't, so even though he's
been such a part of the Xena team, and written so many
fine eps, he wouldn't have a chance.
See, I think that now that my man R.J. Stewart has the
"action blockbuster" type film under his belt-
"Rundown" (starring The Rock and this apparent
heartthrob of the moment Seann William Scott and Christopher
Walken), I would tend to think since he was *also* the
head writer for Xena, he'd be the first consideration
for a Xena feature now, and not the writer of a Shirley
MacLaine hanky flick and one Xena ep. Doesn't that make
But at any rate, I don't think there's much of a chance
for Xena to actually be a movie. Not one with Lucy and
Renee starring. Maaaaaaybe, in 20 years they'll do a
"remember that cool show?" (Like Charlie's
Angels) flick starring girls who are 5 yrs. old now!
What do you think?
Zoroastrian line was mine -- most of the improvised
lines in my eps were mine. You can be absolutely certain
that if a Xena feature should ever be made, it will
not have Lucy or Renee. But I honestly don't believe
there will be one. But, never say never.
"And who's talking about a Xena feature? I haven't
heard Rob say anything."
From Q & A:
"Xena: Warrior Princess" was one of my favorite
TV shows. Is it true there will be a "Xena"
Deerdra Reese, Ruidoso, N.M.
Universal has one in development, but it probably will
be years before we see it. Still, you can get your "Xena"
fix with new boxed DVD sets of the first and second
seasons; companion shows "Highlander" and
"Hercules" are out, too
Of course, I'm most likely making too much of this,
since things are in development all the time-and that
doesn't mean they'll come out.
Last question on Harlan Ellison-I've been trying to
find The Glass Teat, and no luck. I understand it's
out of print. Have you read it, and can you tell me
your thoughts on it?
I guess you don't speak Hollywood-ese. Saying there's
a Xena feature "in development," is the same
thing as saying there isn't one.
No, I haven't read "The Glass teat," although
I've read a few of the essays from it. It's Ellison
being his usual snotty self ripping into '70s TV, which
isn't particularly vital anymore. Still, it's always
fun to hear him rant.
Josh, just wanted to know is there any film you enjoyed
so far this year at all?? I seriously think alot of
movies now really do suck, like Cabin Fever. I only
think in my opinion I liked so far was Kill Bill.
P.S. Are you ever gonna come out with another film again?
I still enjoy watching Running Time, ever since I got
it back in '99(I Believe).
trying to get another film made, honestly. To me "Kill
Bill, Volume 1" looks like it could be the worst
film of all time, but of course I have my own strange
criteria. Meanwhile, I haven't seen very many 2003 releases,
and the ones I have seen, sucked, like "Open Range"
and "Mystic River." But I have finally caught
up on most of the 2002 releases, and I'm certainly glad
I didn't waste my time and money going to the theater
to see those films.
some info on Jim something (the Jesus actor) who was
struck by lightning on the set (yes, on the set) of
The Passion: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/3209223.stm
He wasn't hurt badly, but smoke was coming out of his
ears. Additionally, his shoulder was dislocated during
shooting, and he was accidentally whipped twice.
for the info. I think God was trying to stop that production,
and was offended at the casting of a gentile as a Jew.
That's what I think, but I could be wrong.
Re: Jesus struck by lightning.
It sounds like the actor is okay. He was struck during
production, while he was standing beside an assistant
director who was holding an umbrella. In fact that same
AD had been previously hit on the shoot on another day
while, yep, holding an umbrella.
that's good to hear. We don't want God smoting out actors,
Cynthia E. Jones
Happy Halloween! Thanks for the bitchin' list of films.
I now have 138 movies in my Netflix rental queue. It's
going to be a movie-licious Fall and Winter.
Saw "Texas Chainsaw: The Remake" last night.
Not that you're going to go, but don't go. It pretty
much ruins the memory of the original, which retained
its creepiness because of the 16mm "home movie"
feel. This thing looked like a music video. Pore-free,
gorgeous, scantily clad men and women, hacked tastefully
to bits because they're bad, Skynrd-lovin', pot smokin'
people. R. Lee Ermey was great, but he's always great.
I mean, he's always R. Lee Ermey. Anyway.
Have a great weekend. I hope you party yourself silly.
Lee Ermey played Bruce's dad on "Brisco County."
When I finally saw "The Boys in Company C"
again it shocked me that Ermey plays the drill sergeant
and it's exactly the same performance as "Full
Metal Jacket" ten years earlier. I don't blame
Ermey for that, he's terrific in both of them (although
he clearly had his teeth fixed between them, so he's
younger and tougher-looking in "Boys"), but
it really made me feel let-down by Kubrick, who just
stole the whole thing, and the actor, from another film.
Anyway, part of what makes the original TCM is the characterizations
-- Franklin, the fat, ugly guy in the wheelchair; the
crazy hitchhiker ("It's a good knife. You can pay
me now. Five dollars"). But, once again, lack of
money caused them all to be far more imaginative in
the original, which they didn't have to be in the remake.
I saw Ben's question and your response to the whole
piracy issue and could not keep my mouth shut. I think
you're absolutely right - it's a knee-jerk panic response
to changes in technology and the world at large. It
seems to be related to their overwhelming laziness and
unwillingness to change their business model - the same
laziness that has them cranking out $100 million dollar
pieces of crap faster than a Thai sweatshop turns out
Nikes. They don't want to update their distribution
methods and practices any more than they want to stop
making Vin Disel movies. Frankly I have no problem with
people pirating Pearl Harbor or the blockbuster du jour.
I mean, God help you if you actually want to watch it,
but it's not like the Bays and Bruckheimers are hurting
for cash, and the unions get paid no matter what. If
all they understand is profits then the only way to
register our displeasure is to deny them our money,
either by refusing to go to their movies (my preferred
method of protest) or by having copies available for
free on the net. So if you must see Pearl Harbor, please
- do the responsible thing and download it.
That said, when it comes to independent film-makers
- people who work outside the system and who are bleeding
and scrimping to make their films - that's where piracy
is *not* a Good Thing. These are the people who need
and deserve your money, as they can offer an alternative
to the dross that oozes out of Hollywood. It's all about
Anyway, that's my $.02 Please feel free to agree or
disagree, and keep up the good work!
Thanks for your time,
you're agreeing with me, why would I disagree with you?
This whole piracy deal is just a put-on to cover the
extreme lack of quality of the product, and the loss
of revenue coming from less and less people going to
the movies every year. Just like with CDs. The CD market
was great just as long as people were still trying to
replace their record collections and re-buying all of
The Beatles, Pink Floyd, and David Bowie's recordings.
As soon as that was accomplished and the music industry
had to depend on just new music, it all went into the
crapper. If you want to see the catalog value of a recording,
go into a used CD store -- you won't find any Beatles
CDs, but there will be hundreds of copies of anything
new, like Eminem or Britney Spears, which people buy
because they're hip for a second, then don't even want
them in their house. Over the course of 25 years I have
purchased "Dark Side of the Moon" on vinyl,
then on 8-track, then again on cassette, then again
on CD. If the next technology is a pill I stick in my
ear, I'll buy that, too. A year after Eminem puts out
a recording you can't give the fucking thing away. The
product is the problem, not piracy.
Two of my favorite movies from the 1970s are THE LAST
DETAIL and MIDNIGHT COWBOY (or did COWBOY come out in
1969? I forget.) I got to see COWBOY on its 25th anniversary,
on the big screen at a theater on 59th Street and 3rd
Avenue in New York City. DAMN, is this film good. And
so is THE LAST DETAIL. I could watch each of these films
a million times and not get bored.
Sadly, this is why I haven't gone into film-and why
I am concentrating solely on trying to publish short
stories and novels. I **might** take a shot at writing
a script to sell just for the experience-but I happen
to be a hard realist-which is why I pay close attention
to people like Harlan Ellison, you and Bruce Campbell
when they talk about the realities of the industry.
There's just too much bullshit happening in Hollywood,
and as you say, they don't give a damn about good stories.
Everything has to be done by yesterday, and it doesn't
matter how bad the film is, as long as it's out there.
It's pretty much why I consider Hollywood movies fast
food for the brain-and also why I feel expecting otherwise
is incredibly naive.
I couldn't agree with you more about the shit coming
out of Hollywood. And no offense to Rob Tapert and Lucy
Lawless-but even though I'm a big Xena fan and I enjoy
what they both have done in other venues, I'd rather
not see a big screen remake of Xena. 134 episodes is
enough, and there are too many remakes out there nowadays.
I understand that a remake of the Six Million Dollar
Man is under development. Ugh.
those are both great movies. "Midnight Cowboy"
was Best Picture of 1969, which was pretty amazing at
the time considering it was rated X -- there hasn't
been an X-rated Best Picture since then, either. And
in "The Last Detail," which is really a very
low-budget film, it's all in the writing, acting, and
directing, not the production value, which really means
very little, I think. In fact, I'm convinced that the
more money you have the less imagination will end up
on the screen -- money is the antithesis of imagination.
And who's talking about a Xena feature? I haven't heard
Rob say anything.
A few thoughts have been floating around my head lately,
but I wasn't going to bother bringing them up until
"The Passion" came up again in the boards.
For the record, Jim Caviezel is okay--in fact, so is
the other guy that got hit. I don't know the details,
but I heard there were two or three strange weather
occurences on the set. I wasn't sure if you were being
sardonic, but then, if a human being get struck by lightning,
I would be the insensitive one to think that you would
make fun of it, regardless of the problems you have
with the project.
In any case, what I have been thinking about is the
whole anti-Semitism controversy surrounding the movie.
My explanation comes from a Traditional Catholic's standpoint
(I don't know any Trads who would disagree), not a misinformed,
modern Catholic. Therefore, I don't expect anyone to
understand it, either, but I'll try.
One website countered in the film's defense, saying
that it was the "sinfulness of man that crucified
Christ." Now, that may seem too abstract to non-Catholics,
but really, it's the truth. A portion of the Jews, as
well as pharisees and the Romans (and others of the
society of the day) were all responsible for the death
of the man. But it was in God's plan, since the exile
of man from the Garden of Eden, to send a Saviour to
die for our sins. And when Gibson says that the film
is meant to "inspire, not offend," we should
take that to heart. A movie about Hitler would ultimately
show us what a monster he was. This movie, among Traditional
Catholics, will only make us think about the extreme
suffering he endured for love of us. If I look at the
Jews or others negatively while I watch the film, I
will surely also be remorseful of how even I turn my
back on Christ and the faith, and fail on a regular
The ADL is responsible for every bit of anti-Semitism
that has been generated by this movie so far. If the
ADL never existed, I wouldn't have thought, "Oh,
those rotten Jews. I'm going to go vandalize their homes."
They make ridiculous comments and demands, and my initial
reaction is at least uncharitable. Since I have thought
it through, I have been able to reign back my emotions
and say calmly that they are making problems for themselves.
They even admit that they hadn't gotten any hate-mail
until they began making comments in the press. I think
the proof is in the pudding.
And about that girl's opionion of "One Hour Photo,"
at the very least, does it make you happy that someone
is thinking through a film that much, and actually have
reasons for liking it, rather than clinging to effects
and stars? Or is it all for naught if the defend crappy
think she is clinging to stars and money. For some folks
the expensive production and star lead obscure what
they're really seeing, as well as just being somewhat
thoughtless and internally saying "I'll forgive
all the plot holes." To say that Robin Williams'
character is "Christ-like" in "One-Hour
Photo" and actually believe it is totally absurd
in my opinion. Would Jesus stalk a family? Would Jesus
hold a couple at knife-point, threatening their lives?
It's all a weak rationale for a poorly-written script.
Had they really made Williams a full-out psycho-stalker
clearly a big studio wouldn't have made it and Robin
Williams wouldn't have starred in it. So they've ended
up with a mushy, almost-a-psycho story that's just weak.
on a basic level a "Traditional Catholic"
is right and a "Modern Catholic" is "misinformed"?
I also have real problems when referring to mythology
and making statements about "truth." Religion,
at it's very heart, is based on lies. All this nonsense
about heaven and hell is pure speculation. There isn't
a single living human being that knows for a fact if
there's a heaven or a hell, and to say so is to lie.
You can call it faith if you'd like, but it's just another
name for lying to yourself. If you want to honor God,
do something with the life you were given, because when
you're dead, you're dead. Anyone that puts more credence
in the afterlife than in their present life is a moron.
If it makes you happy to believe that some Jewish guy
died for your sins 2000 years ago, terrific, don't for
as second believe there's any "truth" in the
explanation. The truth is that the Romans had a troublemaker
executed, just like many, many others, and crucifixtion
was the Romans' preferred form of execution. That a
religion sprung up around this event is not all that
uncommon. And since the predominate religion at the
time was Zoroastrianism, which put extreme emphasis
on the arrival of a messiah, as did the Jews, too, and
that's where it came from. But this idea that your religion
is right and all of the others are wrong is offensive
to me. It's divisive and makes the world a worse place.
And since we do know for a fact that Jesus was Jewish,
casting a gentile in the part is, as always, offensive
Becker, concerning One Hour Photo, I'd like to suggest
that it is in fact a really, really competent achievement
in sleight-of-hand. Practically all the way through,
we take it for yet another film about a psycho. At the
very end, we realize we've had it wrong all along. Sy
is not obsessive. Sy loves "his" family with
a real, simple, fully appropriate love, and takes the
steps he takes not to punish them or satisfy some perverse
impulse in himself, but to save them. His own childhood
history tells him this family is on the road to disaster.
This being realized, through a shock treatment of his
own devising, he bumps the "bad father" back
on track. The look that passes between husband and wife
after the ordeal, in the final moment when we see then
together at home, should tell us that Sy has been successful.
The "bad father" has seen his behaviour as
it really is thanks to the trauma in the hotel room,
and has acquired a new seriousness.
In other words Sy's motivation is not destructive, it
is interventionsl. He acts to save and repair, to to
hurt. Since his actions do hurt, can his ends be said
to justify his means? This is where the whole police
business comes in: Sy gets the police on his own trail
BEFORE he acts IN ORDER to be caught. That is, he fully
intends to pay the penalty for the pain he is about
to inflict. He knows the pair in the hotel room will
probably never report him, out of shame. So he sets
up his own capture. Again, this isn't a demented man,
but a highly moral, entirely sane man driven to drastic
action by his own drastic past. His actions are fuelled,
not by hatred, but by the love greater than which no
man has, which is to lay down his life for his friends.
And I repeat, it works. We are definitely supposed to
understand this from the final scenes.
As to the deed itself, consider the details: Sy enters
the hotel room armed not with a gun, but only with a
knife. In other words, it's a fair fight if anyone wants
to fight. Sy doesn't force the couple to commit any
sexual acts, he only forces them to pretend. And the
real stunner: he was never really taking the photos.
He just pretended to. None of it is for anything but
to shock the couple into awareness. Sy himself has not
a perverted bone in his body, and that he hates everything
he's doing is surely this is clear enough in the hotel
Many critics noted that the film was curiously soft-edged
in some ways for a film about a psycho. That's because
it's a film about something else entirely, and part
of its function is to make us examine our own prejudices
and preconceptions. In my first viewing (I watched it
twice), I was confused by the music as much as by some
other things, because it was beautiful and pleasing
in a way that just didn't suit the psycho material.
Something I clearly remember, too, is how during the
first viewing, when the searchlights centre on Sy in
the moment of arrest in the parking garage, I thought
of the Christ image. It made no sense whatever at the
time -- I still had no idea this wasn't a psycho --
and yet the image was able to assert itself for a moment
before it disappeared again till I could assimilate
things later. I don't want to exaggerate things by bringing
in the Christ image -- but I strongly doubt it's any
coincidence that Sy's last name is "Parrish"
(perish/parish), and on the second viewing I noticed
that Sy is for Seymour ("see more").
Incidentally, that child's action figure about which
I know nothing -- something Evangelion etc. -- is intentionally
linked to Sy in the dream sequence where Sy is standing
in a sort of corridor and the shelves extend from either
side of him exactly like the action figure's wings.
And the knife parallels the sword. I wouldn't know what
all the connections might be, but I do know we're supposed
to get this much from the film --
Evangelion (whatever) is a "good guy" as the
child says in the store, and SO IS SY; not a villain,
but the hero.
In the same dream sequence, Sy suddenly bleeds from
his right eye. In the hotel conference room right after
the confrontation, we see a visual of a surgeon's instrument
on the verge of entering a right eye. This connection
first of all indicates a certain prophetic capabaility
in Sy -- he "sees more" than we do, he sees
the future in some sense that is not overly specified,
but nevertheless is meant to enforce that if his instincts
tell him this family is headed for real tragedy, they
really are. In other words, he's not just acting on
a fancy. The device only seems a little arbitrary if
we take it too literally -- we are meant to nuance it.
The connection with the surgeon/surgery also underscores
that Sy's motivation is healing, not harming.
I apologize, I have written at length and also clumsily
and hastily. I would suppose you won't post this on
your website -- I strongly, strongly hope you will not
because it gives away the ending of the film, or rather
tells the excellent and fine secret of the film, in
advance (if I'm right about these things that is), which
is unforgiveable in film commentary of course. So I
don't expect an answer from you. If I am right, this
is in no way a weak or random script, but a subtle,
perfectly balanced, and truly masterful achievement
in a certain kind of moral statement. You may not agree,
but thanks for listening. Respects and regard,
glad you liked it. Leonard Maltin liked it, too. I,
on the other hand, did not. No matter how you rationalize
it, he's still a psycho because he's intruding himself
into a random family that's not his own, therefore he's
nuts. The scene in the hotel room would not be done
by a rational person, no matter what the outcome, nor
could he know in advance he wouldn't have to use that
knife and cut someone. As for it being "a subtle,
perfectly balanced, and truly masterful achievement,"
what about all of the extra prints he's making? Is he
just stupid? The guy is supposed to be an expert, but
he doesn't realize there's a counter on the printing
machine? If he's not a psycho, why has he covered his
wall with hundreds of photos of someone else's family?
I'm sorry, but I do think it's a lame script that's
gutlessly trying to make a psycho-stalker film, but
hasn't got the balls to really do it. And am I supposed
to honestly believe he's fixed the problems of that
family? It's ridiculous.