Q & A    Archive
Page 113

Name: Joe Theo
E-mail: Jojoetheo@aol.com

Dear Josh:

I am a young writer who is in the process of directing my first short film. I have written a few short scripts, completed one screenplay, and am currently working on my next screenplay. I enjoy going on line and reading many scripts that have yet reached the big screen. Out of all the websites that I have surfed though (which is a alot) of amature writers and people who have been in the business, I would just like to say that yours is one of the most impressive sites. You seem on top of you game. I began to read Above the Line and told myself that I have to read more of your work. I enjoy reading as much as I do watching. I tend to study the art by reading the screenplay and then watching the movie or film. I feel as if I get a better feel for what the director and writer was trying to accomplish. I know you mentioned that you have directed a few of your films. I know some of them were done years ago, and might not be available to the public. Are these something I can pick in the video stores, or do I have to search for them? I would enjoy studying you skills. Is there a way I can get a hold you your movies?

Dear Joe Theo:

Three of my four features are available right on the main page of this site if you just click on them. "Lunatics" shows with some regularity on cable TV, so keep your eyes peeled. "Running Time" now shows on IFC in their Pulp Indies series so you can wait for that if you'd like.

Josh

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

Josh,

I can't believe you actually watched the new Dennis Miller show!

The guy couldn't get a job anymore outside of football announcing, so he became a conservative to pander his worn out humor to the GW Bush crowd and I am sure he will be a success now!

We did a spot with him a while back before he became 'Mr. Conservative" and he was just a smug, unfunny asshole on the entire shoot. He deliberatly tries to go over your head with his ridiculous vocabulary in order to make himself feel important. He is a droll troll in my opinion.

With regards to you comments on the WMD's, I enjoy Andy Rooney quite a bit and over the past four months, he has been saying some great things during hsi segment on "60 Minutes".

I respect this guy a lot. Unlike people like Bush, Miller, and Schwarzenegger. He actually has clout in my book.

He was a journalist in Europe during WWII and with that experience alone, he is more credible than the lot of them. The guy is like in his eighties and he is still as sharp as a tack.

He was against going to Iraq, and I watched a great inerview with him which was shot here in NYC right after we went to Iraq. I wish I would have written down everything he said, because he was absolutely right!

This link is to one of his segments on '60 Minutes" from November before Saddam Hussein was captured. It is great and he received a great deal of hate mail from it which he validated on the following week:


http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2003/10/31/60minutes/rooney/main581171.shtml

Also, I am in the midst of writing lyrics for a song idea that I have had for some time. I should have it done soon, but I will leave you with a bit of a taste:

Hey Mr. Bush!
Hey Mr. Blair!

Can't you pull your pant's up boys
We are all standing down here.

Become leaders instead of feeders to the "Machine" which uses its power to control the masses, while killing our seas, trees and grasses.

Take care,
Scott

Dear Scott:

I used to like Dennis Miller, before 9/11. He comes up with absurd, stupid similes, but that's part of his shtick. But the deep fear that burrowed into him after 9/11 has killed his humor. And what the hell is he so afraid of? That he'll lose his rich, Beverly Hills life? That he might have to get a real job? After he fucks up this show on CNBC, maybe he'll move to the Home Shopping Network. And I like Andy Rooney. I met him once at the Farmer's Market in L.A.

Josh

Name: Darin
E-mail: none

Dear Josh:

A point that Al Franken makes in his book (which I highly recommend) is that people criticized President Clinton all the time when the US was at war with Kosovo. It was the exact same people that are chastizing others for attacking Bush now. Sean Hannity, to name one.

You probably saw the episode of "Real Time" when Dennis Miller said he moved over to the conservative side because liberals were labeling everybody "Hitler." I could understand how you would quit associating yourself with liberals if you didn't agree with the labeling, but I don't understand how that leads to a complete switch-over in values. On the very same episode of "Real Time", Bill Maher says something to the effect of: "If you're not liberal at the age of 20 you've got no heart, but if you're not a conservative by the age of 40 you've got no brains."
(Ironically, Arianna Huffington also seemed to make a big shift from liberal to conservative right before she ran for governor of California)

Darin

Dear Darin:

I guess I've got no brains because I'm 45 and I'm a liberal. I think it's a very good sign that John Kerry won the Iowa and NH primaries because I think he can beat Bush, and that's the big issue right now, bigger than the war, taxes, or health care. Bush must go. He's a liar and an asshole and has made America a worse place than when he got in. John Kerry isn't everything I want in a candidate, but if he can beat Bush, he'll do. Bill Maher on the last ep addressed the calling Bush Hitler syndrome, and pointed out two important differences between them: Hitler was a decorated front-line war hero, and more people voted for Hitler than for Von Hindenburg. Al Franken pointed out the difference between a conservative and a liberal by saying that a conservative loves their country like a baby loves its mother -- the love is unquestioning and she can do no wrong; a liberal loves their country like a grown man and a grown woman love each other -- they both have issues, but they deal with them like adults.

Josh

Name: Blake Eckard
E-mail:

Josh,

Well, you must be getting more and more excited about directing one of your screenplays...

I have a number of questions in regard to the upcoming production. First, are you going to redraft the script, or has it already been rewritten by others?

How did your screenplay "Humans in Chains," get read?

Will you have any kind of final cut with the film itself?

What's the approximate budget for a t.v. film of this sort?

How far can you go in terms of a rating since it's for cable...Will there be a version that is released theatrically overseas, a more R-rated version?

Best of luck with it.

Have a good one.

Blake

Dear Blake:

I had to adapt the script to get it to come out to eight acts, but that wasn't very difficult. I haven't gotten any notes from anyone yet, but expect that I will, and I'll deal with them as the come in. Bruce and I have these sales agents named Creative Light that handle overseas sales, and they had already done a project with Sci-Fi Channel, and wanted to go back to them, so Bruce offered up "The Man With the Screaming Brain" and I offered up "Humans in Chains." That was two years ago. After fermenting sufficiently, like a fine wine, the deal appears to have gone. I'll get my director's cut, as usual, but they can do whatever they want to it after that. The budget is $1.5 million, and I don't know how far I can go, not that the script really goes very far, because Sci-Fi is a commercial channel. There's no discussion of a theatrical version, nor of an R-rating, although I do hope to shoot wide-screen, 2.35:1.

Josh

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

Josh,

It's your site, so tirade all you want. I haven't seen Miller's show, but I'm looking forward to hearing Al Franken on the radio. Actually, I don't know if it aired yet or on what station, but I only heard that it will be happening. Typically, the left is more creative and the right is less. That's why you have so many liberal sentiments in art while talk radio has a lot of conservatives. So I'm interested whether Al Franken just tries to entertain or if he will actually discuss.

Ben

Dear Ben:

I think Mr. Franken intends to get into the thick of it, as his book apparently does, although I haven't read it. Bill Maher is still the man.

Josh

Name: j dezsi
E-mail: jdezsi@yahoo.com

Dear Josh:

Have you seen a cut of Scott Spigel's Modesty Blaise movie? What are your thoughts on the project?

Dear j dezsi:

I haven't seen it. I really hated the 1966 version, though, so I'm not particularly eager to see the remake.

Josh

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

Josh,

For the one who asked about sad endings, the most definitively sad ending I can remember in recent movies was "Arlington Road." Did you ever comment on that? I enjoyed it greatly, and it left me with a sick feeling. Of course, I'm avoiding the many independent films where nothing but saddening sickening things happen to everyone, and you can't imagine why the story was even being told. I can't think of any at the moment, but I've seen them.

Also, to answer a question you asked a few weeks ago, "Does anyone use the phrase 'ditto' anymore?" it is in widespread use among Rush Limbaugh fans who call in and say, "Mega dittos, from Wherever." In fact, they are called "dittoheads."

Ben

Dear Ben:

If Rush Limbaugh's fans use "ditto," then I'll avoid it. I couldn't sit through "Arlington Road" so I don't know how it ends, nor do I care. But I personally have no problem with unhappy endings as long as they are appropriate to the story I've been watching, and conversely, I'm against happy endings that don't fit the story. I just saw one of those, "Little Man Tate," which takes a giant left turn in the last five minutes so that everybody has a happy ending, and it sort negated everything that had gone before it.

Speaking of Rush Limbaugh, I caught the first ep of Dennis Miller's new show on CNBC, and it's kind of awful. He's gone fully over to the conservative right and thinks it funny to call for various people's deaths, which I find immoral and basically unbearable. Miller sat there and pandered to Governor Schwarzenegger like he's hoping to get the bad guy part in "Terminator 4." Then there was a panel discussion with two right-wing assholes and one left-leaning woman, who was sort of being ridiculed. I just hated the whole thing. And these two assholes, Horowitz and Frum, keep saying the most ridiculous, stupid things, like it's wrong for the Democratic candidates to be bad-mouthing GW Bush, our commander-in-chief, because "we're at war." I'm sorry, but didn't our commander-in-chief, when he played dress-up and landed on the aircraft carrier, tell us the war was over? Mission accomplished? To Republicans the war is over, if that's what the discussion calls for; and the war isn't over, if that's what the discussion calls for. They won't even own up to weapons inspector David Kay, who was the most vehement proponent of there being WMDs, who now says that there aren't any and never were, well, he must have defected over to the left, he couldn't possibly be telling the truth (although he must have been telling the truth when he thought there were WMDs). How is it that I, a regular old citizen, knew that there were no WMDs just from watching the news and a single documentary, "Stealing the Fire," and I somehow had better intelligence than the president, the congress, the CIA and the FBI? And I didn't even see that documentary in some weird place, I saw it on TV. Admittedly, it was on the Sundance Channel, which I suppose those guys don't watch. But the film, which is about the nuclear proliferation of the world (excluding the USA), clearly points out that although Saddam purchased centrifuges from Germany in the late 1980s (where all of the nuclear equipment comes from), none of the equipment was ever set up, or even unwrapped from the German newspapers. And, unlike what these right-wing idiots keep saying, Saddam did not have the people or the technical know-how to set anything up. There never was a nuclear weapons program in Iraq. It's bullshit. And capturing Saddam has clearly not made the world any safer -- more American soldiers have died since his capture than in this amount of time before he was captured. Bush & co. kept telling us that Saddam was behind all of the insurgency in Iraq, and that was clearly just one more lie. Now I've got to keep hearing all of these fucking Republicans tell me that the war was not about WMDs, and never was. It was really about Saddam being a bad man and killing Kurds. However, if Bush had gone to Congress or the public with that there wouldn't have been a war. Bush lied about WMDs and imminent threat to get us into a war we did not need to be in. That is malfeasance, and no amount of rational afterward will ever make it right. Sorry for the tirade.

Josh

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

Josh,

I'm almost embarrased to ask but Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee made their careers doing "Hammer" films, but I can't find out what or who Hammer was. I've seen almost all of Cushing's and Lee's films and I generally know by sight which ones are "Hammers" but I don't really understand the name derivation. Was that the name of the producer? Isn't it amazing how active Lee remains? He must be in his eighties.

Thanks as always,

John

Dear John:

Hammer Films was formed in 1948 by Will Hammer and Sir John Carreras. Christopher Lee was born on May 27, 1922, so he's 81 years old.

Josh

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

Josh,

Can you think of any good movies that end with the lead character failing to achieve their goal? Specifically, I'm writing a script that is similar in some ways to A Face in the Crowd. It's not about fame, but the basic trajectory of the lead character is the same. I think that the story is working fairly well at this point, but I'm afraid that I'm going to lose the audience with the ending. What are some other good films that end with.. not necessarily an indictment of the main character, but a tragic fall, his reach exceeded his grasp. He actually dies at the end, and the story is supposed to be a comedy, a tragi-comedy. Are there any pitfalls in this you think I should look out for?

Jim

Dear Jim:

The only thing you should look out for is if you intend to try and sell your script to a Hollywood company, they probably won't understand an unhappy ending. If it's meant to be independent, then go for it. Since one moment ago I was discussing Orson Welles, both Georgie Minafer (Tim Holt) in "The Magnificent Ambersons" and Charles Foster Kane in "Citizen Kane" come to sad endings. Georgie gets his come-uppance "three times filled and running over," and Kane dies a lonely, cloistered old man longing for his youth. Of course, neither picture made money, but they're both classics. In my film "If I Had a Hammer" things don't work out for the lead characters, and no one released the film. Coincidence? At the end of "From Here to Eternity," the lead character, Pruitt, gets killed and the film won Best Picture. At the end of "Midnight Cowboy" Ratso Rizzo dies and it won Best Picture. At the end of "Gone With the Wind" things don't work out for the two leads, and that film did okay. I say, be true to your story and take it where it seems like it should go.

Josh

Name: Bob
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

I just viewed "The Trial" directed by Orson Wells on DVD. An interesting movie. I don't know if you have seen the Trial since it has apparently not been widely seen, but the star is Anthony Perkins. It is based on the famous Franz Kafka story, which in German was called Der Prozess and in French Le Proces. The foreign titles convey the meaning of the movie more than the English title, as well as perhaps our justice system. Also appearing in the movie was Romy Schneider, who may be a little more well known as the love interest to Tom Tryor(sp?) in The Cardinal.

I watched Citizen Kane a few weeks ago, and I can see some similarities between the movies, even though Kane was released in 1941 and Trial in 1963. For one thing in the Trial there are those uses of vast spaces, in the the case (no pun intended) of the Trial, it was an office with thousands of desks and the use of the diagonal moving aerial shots, I guess they are known as dolly and crane shots. It does capture the sense of space with the action from the viewpoint.

I found this DVD at the public library, where I have been obtaining many movies lately. The price is right. You did get me interested though, through your various comments in seeing Orson Wells movies and I'm gaining an appreciation for them.

Dear Bob:

Never forget, you're dealing with a severe movie geek here. I've seen "The Trial" a few times at the movie theater. I think it's lesser-Welles and doesn't really come off. Welles thought of it as a comedy, and apparently at screenings he'd just laugh his head off even if no one else was laughing. I do like the "pornograph" line, and I love the way he sets up a shot and blocks his scenes, but the film doesn't hook me or move me. I'd say an overlooked Welles film like "The Stranger" is much more successful.

Josh

Name: Diana Hawkes
E-mail: upon request

Dear Josh:

As I've been away from internet access for several weeks, a super belated thank-you-very-much to Darryl Mesaros for answering my query about the Letterman/Iraq visit and the bizarre helmut gear. Mystery solved.

Josh! I'm so jazzed for you and your Sci-Fi project. I prefer the "Humans in Chains" title, but hell, it's moving and shaking! Is your John Hancock now on it's way back to TPTB? Has there been dramatic re-writes of your original script, and would that be the reason for the title change? Or is it just a case of making it more appealing-sounding (ya know... scifi-ish) for us geeks.
And working with Bruce again! Jost how fabulous is that?! I couldn't be more thrilled for you guys. Can you give us an update on how his hand is healing?
Again - CONGRATS! I raise a Yuengling lager to you.

Dear Diana:

Thanks, but I don't even have a signed contract yet. Bruce does, though. Anyway, I'll believe it when I'm on the plane going to Bucharest or Sofia. Joe LoDuca, who I believe will be scoring these films, is scoring three films right now that were all shot in Bucharest, including a French production. And what is TPTB again?

Josh

Name: Darryl Mesaros
E-mail: simonferrer@hotmail.com

Dear Josh,

Just a few thoughts on SOUTHERN COMFORT and THE WARRIORS.....Regarding SC, one disclaimer: the National Guard is not that bad anymore; we actually receive training, don't wear goatees, and have a general idea what we're doing. Other than that, I thought the film was great, and alot of the dynamics rang true. My favorite scene is in the beginning, where the wannabe hardcore team leader is talking to the squad leader (a Vietnam veteran) about going to South America as a mercenary, and the squad leader says, "yeah, but they're looking for REAL soldiers down there."
About THE WARRIORS, I didn't see much of the film. I used to work at the New Haven Coliseum [sic] with a guy named Louis who did a great bit from the movie. We'd egg him on, and he go "The Warriors did it, man! They shot Cyrus!" and "Waaariiioooors! Come out and plaaaaaay!" which always cracked us up.
Also of note: my battalion's nickname is "The Warriors" which tickles me to no end.

Darryl

Dear Darryl:

"The Warriors" has a lot of quotable lines, like when Cyrus is giving his speech and keeps ending every sentence with, "Can you dig it?" And when the Warriors find themselves on the Orphan's turf and Michael Beck says, "We're gonna soldier right through these lame fuck's territory." Or when they first see the blad-headed guys in the school bus and Back says, "The AC Turnbulls," and James Remar quips, "Lousey skin-headed fucks." One of the things I really like about Walter Hill's first three films is that I don't feel like I'd seen them before, whereas "Southern Comfort" is so obviously based on "Deliverance," it just bored me, not to mention I didn't care for any of the characters, nor did I understand why northerner Keith Carradine was even among these Louisiana guardsmen. After "48 HRS" all of Hill's films just seem like hybrid pitches trying to cash in on something that was recently popular. Once he tasted the big, big money there was no going back.

Josh

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

Dear Josh:

I saw an intelligent discussion of Walter Hill and immediately became elated and got curious on your opinions of "The Long Riders", "Southern Comfort", and "Streets Of Fire", and the rest of his ouevre.

Personally, "the Long Riders" sticks out because it's Hills' first out and out western, as all of his films share western themes. I've only seen it once and the fact that none of it sticks can't be a good thing.

"Southern Comfort" - there's something about the use of Ry Cooder's music in this film that makes me think it's better than it actually is.

I think "Streets Of Fire" is a throwback to the world of "The Warriors". I love how Hill describes it: "leader of the pack steals the queen of the hop and soldier boy comes home to do something about it". So simple, yet the cringing use of 80s synthesized pop songs makes some scenes unbearable. He should have used the Springsteen song that the film was titled after.

I think there's a good picture in "Extreme Prejudice" but the lack of a well-written female character hurts the overall result.

Lately, his films stink and I can't believe how a film like "Undisputed" gets made (and with Hollywood stars, nonetheless) while screenplays like your "Devil Dogs" and "Cycles" remain unproduced.

Dear Aaron:

I love Walter Hill's first three films, "Hard Times," "The Driver," and "The Warriors," and I think they all fit together as a sort of existential film trilogy. Although I enjoyed "48 Hrs." it's clearly a big sell-out, and, like everyone else, once he got wind of the big, big money he went totally wrong and never recovered. I don't care for any of his films after "48 Hrs." except "Aliens," which he produced and co-wrote, but didn't direct. "The Long Riders" is a lame rip-off of "The Wild Bunch," and "Southern Comfort" is a lame rip-off of "Deliverance." And everything thereafter is just awful. "Undisputed" is complete garbage.

Josh

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

Hey Josh,

I have been wanting to see the film "The Station Agent" for some time now and I finally went to see it last night.

I really enjoyed that film very much and I recomend it. It is not a great film, but I liked the story and the characters. It was a nice film about people for a change.

Scott

Dear Scottie:

I'll catch it when it's on cable.

Josh

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

Dear Josh,

Congratulations on "Alien Apocalypse!" Whoo hoo! A new project! With financing! Too cool.

I watched "The Warriors" the other night with a friend of mine. We were laughing our asses off. It was absolutely ridiculous. I love the idea that all gang members in New York actually have matching outfits, so you can spot them a mile away. "Ooh! Look out! It's the baseball-bat wielding guys with the makeup that Marilyn Manson ripped off! And they're coming this way!" Then the subway doors would always close just in time for people to not follow them... I kept asking, "Why don't they just get a cab?" Anyway, in the great tradition of crap begetting crap, apparently it's being remade by Tony Scott. And yet, I'm not surprised. I hope the gang members will still look like the Village People.

Take care,

Cindy

Dear Cindy:

I love that movie. Yes, it's ridiculous, but it's a nice simple concept, beautifully handled, and very exciting. It certainly makes a hell of a lot more sense in the context of "The Warriors" than it did in "The Gangs of New York," when each side shows up in matching outfits -- in 1864. But, in my opinion, Walter Hill was pushing the edges of storytelling with his first three films, "Hard Times," "The Driver," and "The Warriors," which are all interesting examples of existential filmmaking (inspired by "Point Blank"). In "The Driver" nobody even has a name, it's simply the Driver, the Cop, and the Girl. In "The Warriors" it's a fantastic, alternate version of reality, where you can't get a cab and every gang is after you. I must say that the way Walter Hill shot the fights directly influenced me. There are also some wonderful lines of dialog that have never left my head. The whole opening title sequence, intercutting to the subway going by, where you get all of the exposition, and ends with one of the Warriors saying (and I haven't seen this film in ten years), "Cyrus be the leader of the biggest gang in the city, he don't take no shit." Ajax (James Remar), replies, "Aw, fuck him." Perhaps you need to see "Hard Times" and "The Driver" to get the context. Also, on different level, the film was a bit of a sociological phenomenon in that it caused violence in theaters across the country and it was the first time security guards had to be hired due to the film they were showing.

Josh

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

Josh,

In reference to the Vincent Price discussion, you speculate on the comedic career which might have been his. I would think that Tony Randall's career probably looks as close to what Price might have had as is possible. Both were somewhat effette, but amiably so. They were both "high culture" people, with a wide variety of interests. The timing of their careers was slightly different, of course, as Price didn't have access to television until later in his career, but I do think there's room for comparison.

My favorite Price film, by the way, probably isn't all that good, but it's a lot of fun, and that is "The Raven". I know the principals were playing to type but it was certainly with tongues firmly planted in cheeks. The duel at the end was the best magical duel I've ever seen; compare the "Harry Potter" duels which are simplistic and avisual. And was that Nicholson's first role? It was very early at any rate.

Price, by the way, was quite the philanthropist in Saint Louis, Mo, as well.

Thanks,

John

Dear John:

"The Raven" is Jack Nicholson's seventh film. His first is "The Cry Baby Killer" in 1958 (the year I was born). He had also made "The Little Shop of Horrors" before "The Raven." I can barely remember the film. I remember the 1935 version of "The Raven" with Karloff and Lugosi much better. Back in 1983 when I was attempting to put together the feature version of "Cleveland Smith Bounty Hunter," I contacted Vincent Price's agent about him appearing in the film. His agent was very nice and told me to get back in touch when we had our financing, which we never did. Oh well.

Josh

Name: Jo
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

Have you seen "House of Sand and Fog"? Care to comment?

Dear Jo:

Sorry, I haven't seen it. After "Mystic River" and "The Missing" I was so put off going to the movies again I haven't bothered. I just watched Hiroshi Inagaki's "Samurai, Part I," and that was pretty good. Lovely color and an interesting story. Inagaki isn't that good at staging or shooting sword fights, but his use of the camera was very nice. Toshiro Mifune is always fun to watch.

Josh

Name: Darryl Mesaros
E-mail: simonferrer@hotmail.com

Dear Josh,

I didn't realize that Bruce's picture for the SCIFI channel was MAN WITH THE SCREAMING BRAIN (I have to go on his website more often). I remember he was carrying that project as officially shit-canned. (shaking head) Wonders never cease...
Going back to THE BIG RED ONE, I do feel that Lee Marvin was too old to be a buck sergeant. Presuming that he was a corporal or a buck sergeant at the end of WW I and stayed in the Army afterwards, he should have been anywhere between a Sergeant First Class or a First Sergeant by the beginning of WW II (I won't say Command Sergeant Major, because those slots were few and fiercely competed over). He certainly should have been at least a Staff Sergeant; in late 1941, the War Department issued an across the board promotion to all NCOs serving in combat units, in anticipation of an expected war.
However, if he were a much higher rank, he couldn't have been in the duty position he filled in the film. A buck sergeant, although he normally leads a team (half of the squad), can lead a squad if no higher NCO's are available, but normally the squad leader is a Staff Sergeant. A Platoon Sergeant is usually a Sergeant First Class, and a company First Sergeant is a First Sergeant (E-8). A Command Sergeant Major would be the leading NCO in a battalion, regiment, brigade, or division. What it all boils down to is that Marvin's character should've been a higher rank than he was given his time in service, but if he was, he wouldn't have been in the duty position that he was or known the other characters like he did. Sam Fuller should've put some more back story in the film to explain Marvin being the rank he was (passed over for promotion, busted a few times, etc.). Believe me, military audiences pick apart that detail, too (Wait a minute! He's almost 60 f**kin' years old and he's still an E-5?! What the f**k is that shit?!) War movies just aren't as much fun after serving awhile, unless the attention to detail is extreme.

Darryl

Dear Darryl:

I haven't served in the military at all and it still bugged me. I did appreciate Fuller getting legitimately young guys for the soldiers, and of course Lee Marvin was a terrific actor with great screen presence, so I just went with it. I'm still convinced that Spielberg saw the documentary on Sam Fuller made by Tim Robbins and Quentin Tarantino, where Fuller says that his depiction of D-Day was accurate "except for the meat," which he explains was the body parts all over the place. I can see Spielberg's little brain whizzing, saying "I can do meat." And thus the beginning of "Saving Private Ryan" was conceived.

Josh

Name: Jeremy Vaeni
E-mail: jvaeni@yahoo.com

Dear Josh:

You left out a religion--being right that all others are wrong. Religion isn't the root of the evil, answers, period, are. Atheists and theists are the same in that sense. One is irrational, the other rational. Neither answer the question of transrationality because, as you alluded to, remaining open to the question, the mystery is they key. NEVER answering it, for what is answered is dead. (Including this answer and this and this....)

Dear Jeremy:

Interesting way of putting it. Yes, I agree, anyone who thinks they know for sure is full of it, including Athiests. The mystery and irrationality of life is the point, and how we deal with it is our measure as a human being. If you toss in your cards right away saying that the religion you were brought up with has all the answers, now you don't need to think about any of that anymore, you've closed yourself off to a great portion of deep thought and all the mystery of life, and ergo you will be a limited person. Religion is along the lines of sticking your fingers in your ears and chanting "La la la" so you don't have to hear anything else.

Josh

Name: DS
E-mail:
Dear Josh:

While you're in Romania, you should visit Charles Band's castle. But in all seriousness, most of the films he produced were shot in Romania as well, and it's a gorgeous, beautiful country (but then again, basically all of Europe is).

Just for fun, I'd love you hear what you think of Charles Band. Did you ever bump into him at a gathering anytime over the years (I hear you're friends with Jeff Burr, who directed "Puppet Master 5" for Band)? Take care.

Dear DS:

I've run into Charlie Band a few times over the years, although he certainly doesn't know me. My friend Jane, who produced my last two films, was head of accounting for Empire Pictures for a couple of years (she knew when they were going out of business before they did) and is good friends with Charlie's former wife, who got his castle in Italy. As a filmmaker, Charlie Band has never made a good film, or even a decent one. He's a shit-monger like Roger Corman -- they can get films made, but neither one has the slightest clue what a decent film is. As a friend once said about Charlie Band (which still amuses me), "His middle name should be Daniels, that way he'd be Charlie Daniels Band."

Josh

Name: Darryl Mesaros
E-mail: simonferrer@hotmail.com

Dear Josh,

I see others are interested in this Vincent Price topic, too. His daughter, Victoria, wrote an excellent biography of him last year, titled VINCENT PRICE: A DAUGHTER'S BIOGRAPHY. It's very thorough, starting with a brief history of his family in America, and covers his life from birth to death.
I always found it fascinating that Price was so well-rounded and disciplined. Many big-screen actors today never finished high school, let alone pursued or completed higher learning. Many others seem to have no interests other than marrying other stars and sinking into pits of drug abuse and crime before being "cured" by rehab. Price was highly educated (Bachelor's from Yale, Master's from the Courtald Institute in London), worked hard, and had several interests, primarily the visual arts and cooking (he and his first wife wrote two cookbooks, and Price was a nationally recognized authority on art).

Darryl

P.S. In an aside, if you have to watch COLD MOUNTAIN for locations, you could always do it with the sound off.

Dear Darryl:

If it's still at the theater, I guess I'll have to hear it, too, unless I plug my ears. Sadly, I have no more to add about Vincent Price. If you ever get a chance to see "Champagne for Caesar" you'll see the alternate career in comedy he could have had. He was a very funny guy.

Josh

Name: Scott
E-mail:
Dear Josh:

In response to your question, nothing made this past year any different, for some reason I ended up seeing more crappy films than I would have liked. I am in full agreement that films of the last decade and beyond have been awful, and are getting progressively worse. Having said that, I have been to Oregon, and I can tell you that some of the locations in Cold Mountain are very similar, particularly the lush mountainous areas. I know Alien Apocalypse is a ways off but was wondering if Bruce Campbell might be a part of it? Also, please keep us updated on the project. I'm thilled to hear that it is a valid possibility.

Dear Scott:

Bruce will star in "Alien Apocalypse" and co-produce. Then he'll turn right around and make "The Man With the Screaming Brain," which he wrote, he'll star in, produce, and direct, with the same crew. This is all supposed to occur in April. Knock on wood, it all seems to be happening, too.

Josh

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

Hey Josh -

> Reading your comments on Anthony Minghella's "Cold Mountain" (and that you haven't seen it), I was curious as to what you thought of his past films like "The English Patient" and "The Talented Mr. Ripley"?
Also, I read a disturbing piece of news the other day concerning Minghella's 18 year old son, who's actually directing a feature-length movie with Richard Gere, without absolutely no experience behind the camera.
I think that's one of the most sickest examples of nepotism I've ever read about Hollywood and it's been pissing me off so I just had to ask your opinion.

Good luck in the new year, and I'm super-psyched for your new film for the Sci-Fi channel...it sounds like a lot of fun.

Dear Aaron:

"The English Patient" bored me out of my skull and I didn't care at all about anything. The idea that Ralph Finnes is supposed to Hungarian, and everything hinges on that, was completely stupid. And the entire relationship with the Indian guy seemed totally out of left field. I went with my mother thinking it would be her kind of film, and 45 minutes in she whispered to me, "This is interminable." I guess it wasn't for her, either. I bailed out pretty early on "Mr. Ripley," which just seemed weak and Matt Damon is a drag. And I have no doubt that "Cold Mountain" sucks the big one. Meanwhile, all the wrong people are getting to direct these days, so why not Minghella's kid? Hollywood has turned against anyone with experience. The reason they shoot everything in eastern Europe with non-union directors is so that the producers can pull bigger fees, and that the product turns out far worse means nothing to them.

Josh

Name: Scott
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

In regards to Cold Mountain, save your money. It is far worse than that piece of crap The English Patient, because it is, believe it or not, more senseless. First of all,about 70 percent of the cast was Brittish, and couldn't hold American accents to save their lives. All of the northerners in this film were portrayed as child murderers and rapists. This film was so biased towards the south it seemed as though it were written by Trent Lott, and John Ashcroft. Slavery was mentioned in one scene, but was insignificant to the story, and yes Jude Law meets Nicole Kidman for 5 minutes, thinks he's in love, and later goes to war. His infatuation for kidman runs so deep it causes him to go Awol. He spends the rest of the movie wandering the contryside, running into an assortment of A list celebrities who decided to make cameo appearances in this piece of garbage. Not only did Jude Law's accent sound 4th rate, but he was severely miscast. While watching the film I thought someone like Kirk Douglas would have starred in a film like this 50 years ago. Now all Hollywood has to offer are these pretty boys who can't act. No matter how scruffy they made Jude Law look, he was still too damn pretty to be in a film like this. The biggest problem with the film was it's unfocused, and poorly written script. The first act is about 30 minutes of flashbacks before the story truly begins. What depressed me the most was wondering how this film got greenlit and financed, however I have asked the same question about too many films I've seen this year.

Dear Scott:

If they decide on shooting "Alien Apocalypse" in Romania I'll still have to see "Cold Mountain" just to see the locations. Otherwise, I could care less. And "this year" you say? What makes this year special?

Josh

Name: Darryl Mesaros
E-mail: simonferrer@hotmail.com

Dear Josh,

I've read about the Price films you mentioned, but never saw them (Champagne for Caesar and Baron of Arizona are hard to find, but not seeing Comedy of Terrors is my own fault). The Sam Fuller who directed BOA, is he the same one who directed THE BIG RED ONE? I didn't see it, but do remember another western that Price was in, THE DEADLIEST MAN ALIVE, I think it was, starring Clint Walker. Price played a traveling medicine show drummer, and was gunned-down in a slow-motion hail of bullets worthy of Sam Peckinpah. Between that and his small role as Mr. Morality in CHATAQUA (where, Price stated, he never even met Elvis Presley), those were about the only non-horror roles that Price played in the sixties.
By the way, I just read your interview with Screaming Stoner Video. It seemed to me to be better than the internet/radio interviews you've given in the past. The questions were more focused and mature, and you're answers weren't so vitriolic. They did post a picture of you looking like you were about to dive into a mosh pit, though.
One last thing about Vincent Price, then I'll get off the subject. Do you remember in Three Tales of Terror, in the Black Cat sequence, when the drunk Peter Lorre crashes foppish Vincent's wine-tasting? The business of Price making those ridiculous little sips and swishes from his wine spoon while Lorre gulps cup after cup of wine (and matching Price on identifying every vintage) always cracked me up.

Darryl

Dear Darryl:

That film is just called "Tales of Terror," and it was okay, but I liked all of the Poe stories better before they were changed for the film. A lot of what I admire about Poe was his prose style, which of course does not come through in the films. And yes, Sam Fuller that wrote and directed "The Baron of Arizona" is the same guy who did "The Big Red One," which I enjoyed, except that Lee Marvin is way too old for the sergeant. Before that film came out I saw Fuller speak at a movie theater in L.A. and he told us a bunch of the stories that make up "The Big Red One." I enjoyed Fuller's two Korean War films, too, "Fixed Bayonets" and "The Steel Helmet."

Josh

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

Josh,

I haven't yet seen the movie and I don't remember seeing any comments from you about it, but I've been hearing a criticism of "Cold Mountain" which is really pissing me off and I wonder what you think about it. The criticism is that the movie doesn't address slavery. As I understand it the movie is set in the back country of the Appalachians, hardly a strong hold of slaveholding. To me that's like saying that you can't make a movie about the Roman Empire without bringing up Christianity. Slavery was certainly an important story in the South of the day, but it was hardly the only story worth telling. Nor is it historically inaccurate to portray a significant geographical area in the South of the period without a sizable Black population. Even today there are many such areas, having lived there myself.

I certainly have no objection to stories focusing on slavery, though I wish they were a little more contextually accurate, but there is surely room for stories of the South which do not involve slavery.

Apparently a lot of people, particularly African Americans, have a real problem with this aspect of the movie. To me, this is political correctness in its most insidious form. This sort of thinking leads to mandatory stereotyping; the noble savage, the completely-evil Nazi, the diligent, hard-working Asian. These stereotypes are just as damaging as the Black gang-banger, or the poorly-complexioned latino drug dealer. At any rate, I got irked.

How are you?

John

Dear John:

I'm fine, thanks. Well, any story about the American Civil War has got to be somewhat about slavery since that was the main reason for the war. Also, as far as I know (I haven't seen the film), Jude Law's character is traveling across many miles of the south to get back to his girl, so I would suspect that he ought to be encountering black folks somewhere along the way. The real issue with with "Cold Mountain," as far as I'm concerned, and it directly relates to this issue, is that the film was shot in Bucharest, Romania, where you're certainly not going find many black people to cast in the film, and no black extras for color, if you will. On top of that, the two lead American characters are played by Aussie Nicole Kidman and Brit Jude Law. This was at least an $80 million film, but they couldn't bring themselves to shoot it in the U.S. where it takes place. That's not, as they've stated, because they couldn't find appropriate locations in the American south, it's because of the exchange rate in Romania which allows all the top-end people to pull bigger fees. And to me cast Aussies or Brits as Americans is like casting Caucasions as Indians, or gentiles as Jews. I'm sorry, is there a shortage of American actors? But worse than all of that, as I've read the two lovers in "Cold Mountain" spend a couple of minutes together at the beginning, then Jude Law spends the next two and half hours walking back to Nicole Kidman so they can spend the last couple of minutes together. That is structurally a severely fucked-up love story. I got shit from a few reviewers on "Lunatics" because it's 45-minutes before the boy and girl get together, and I agree that that's too long. It shouldn't have been anymore than 35-minutes. But if you're making a love story and the two leads are never together, that's a bad love story.

Josh

Name: Brian
E-mail: KumiteENT@aol.com

hey josh,

Just to respond to Kevin's comment, "They'll take any independent movie, they have this thing called TROMADANCE once a year where anybody with a film can go to colorado and show it for free, no judges or fees or anything"
That's a misconception. I sent my first feature to them for the Tromadance festival and it got rejected. Mine didn't have the usual Troma themes in it so to speak (in example, heads melting, lesbian vampires, diareah, ext.) yet a film called "tales from the toilet" will be shown. Go figure.
On a side note on Vincent Price, I too enjoyed his comedy roles much better. Especially the great character of Egghead he played on the Batman series. But all the campiness in that show still makes me laugh anytime I see reruns.

Take care Josh, and be careful on the roads out here!

Dear Brian:

I forgot Egghead. Man, they had the best bad guys on that show: Burgess Meredith, Caesar Romero, Frank Gorshin, and Vincent Price. And they really took their campiness seriously; I'm not sure anything has ever been as successfully campy as "Batman." Meanwhile, that whole Troma outfit is just a bunch of losers with absolutely no taste. Even if you were "lucky" enough to get them to release your film, it probably wouldn't do you the slightest bit of good since they're such crappy distributors, and I have no doubt that they've never returned a penny to a filmmaker in their lives.

Regarding the icy roads, a foot of snow came down in less than 24 hours. I've attempted to shovel my driveway twice already and I've still got about half of it to do.

Josh

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

Dear Josh,

I too always loved Vincent Price, and wished he had been as successful in other roles as he was in horror. Shelby in "Laura" was a terrific characterization, and he used a little bit of his natural semi-Southern accent. I especially liked his rambling voice-overs in the Dr. Phibes films, as they gave him a chance to use the wonderfully smooth voice of his.

He used to turn up pretty regularly on Johnny Carson, and was as you say a very witty, urbane guest. I recall at some point in the mid-70's he actually was a guest host once on the Tonight Show, and he did a fine job with the monologue, and with maintaining intelligent conversation with the guests.

I read a bio of him around that time too. Did you know his first big "break" was on stage, with Helen Hayes? He played Prince Albert to her Queen Victoria in "Victoria Regina," which was apparently a huge hit in the 1930's.

Regards,

August

Dear August:

I did not know that, although he certainly seemed like he came from the stage.

Josh

Name: Darryl Mesaros
E-mail: simonferrer@hotmail.com

Dear Josh,

I also liked Vincent Price in THE SONG OF BERNADETTE, where he played the cynical, intellectual Imperial Prosecutor that questioned Bernadette. It wasn't a large role, but he brought an interesting conflict to it. I especially liked the way that the cynical (and now-dying from throat cancer) Price goes to the miracle fountain and sees the pilgrims congregating, and thinks to himself of his impending lonely death. It is not at all an admission of faith, but rather a desperate longing to share the comfort and serenity the pilgrims derive from theirs [he finds his own intelluctual cynicism and snobbishness cold comfort]. That Price could bring that to so small a role showed what a truly talented actor he was. His horror films were fun, but many critics felt that he wasted his talents on them (the more practical Price preferred to be a working B-movie actor rather than a critically acclaimed, but underfed, mainstream or theatrical actor). His period horror pieces were undemanding of him, and I rather prefer his "contemporary" scare movies from the early '70s, such as SCREAM AND SCREAM AGAIN, or THEATRE OF BLOOD. His non-horror roles were always good, but too few and far between once he became typecast as a horror actor.

Darryl

Dear Darryl:

Yes, once he went into horror he never got out. But I still like him best doing comedy. Nobody remembers "Champagne for Caesar," which is about a TV quiz show, circa 1950, with Ronald Coleman as a genius who gets on the show and can't be beaten. Vincent Price plays the evil sponsor of the show, and is really hilarious. I also thought he was pretty funny in Roger Corman's "Comedy of Terrors," where Boris Karloff is his old, feeble father-in-law whom Price keeps trying to poison, but his wife won't let him. Price keeps filling a spoon with poison, offering it to Karloff and saying, "Here's your medicine, papa," then the wife smacks it out of his hand and Karloff gets upset, saying, "Why won't you let me have my medicine?" It's a silly movie otherwise. And has anyone seen Sam Fuller's film, "The Baron of Arizona"? In the old west, Vincent Price shows up one day in the Arizona territory with a deed from the king of Spain saying he owns the entire state, and everyone there can either stay and pay tribute to the new baron, or leave. It's a terrific set-up.

Josh

Name: ryun hovind
E-mail: spektralmotion@yahoo.com

Dear Josh:

Talked with you in Champaign, IL, waaaaay back.

I am writing after "discovering" your website. My girlfriend and I were at the "Running Time" preview at the University of Illinois when you and Bruce presented it and we loved it. After finding it for sale last October 03 locally, I purchased several copies for friends and colleagues. My point.

My band, Spektral Motion, just released our debut CD and wanted to offer any tracks to you if you found them to be appropriate. I didn't see any dates on your website Q & A's, but I did read that you and Bruce have two potential films coming up. We are indep-endent and own all of our publishing/synchronization rights so there wouldn't be a whole lot of red tape. Our music is electronic rock, kinda poppy I guess with lyrics from dark to light. You can hear samples at www.cdbaby.com/spektral

I appreciate your insights on the site, and loved reading about you as the "Bearded Wonder" in Bruce's "If Chins Could Kill" book. Oh, and to answer a question I saw on the Q & A, "Lunatics." is still $29.99 for the DVD at Amazon.com.

Ryun Hovind
www.spektralmotion.com

Dear Ryun:

I remember showing the film in Champaign way the heck back when, but there were a lot of people, so I don't remember you specifically. You're confused, my friend, "Lunatics" is not available on DVD anywhere, and hasn't been transferred to DVD, as far as I know. It's only available on VHS, as it clearly says at Amazon.

Good luck with your band.

Josh

Name: Kevin Neece
E-mail: jericho_legends@yahoo.com

Dear Josh:

<<The schmucks at Troma would never release a film like "Buds," it's nowhere near stupid enough for them.>>
They'll take any independent movie, they have this thing called TROMADANCE once a year where anybody with a film can go to colorado and show it for free, no judges or fees or anything. There doesn't have to be sex or stupidity or violence in it. on the other hand... they have managed to lower the bar a few hundred notches.

Dear Kevin:

Just because it's being shown at a festival certainly doesn't mean it's being distributed in any way. Still, it's better than a sharp stick in the eye.

Josh

Name: Ben
E-mail: wakko@icon-stl.net

Josh, I would imagine your not being a christian to be an advantage when judging Christmas movies. When you give your opinion of a Christmas movie, you don't have to be more forgiving of it because it's a Christmas movie. I guess we christians really don't have to be forgiving of Christmas movies either, but it seems like we do. But you, on the other hand, can simply judge them as movies. Anyway, since I consider you an impartial judge on the matter, which, if any Christmas movies are your favorites?

P.S. I realize it's well past Christmas. It took me this long to come up with a way to ask you this question that wasn't just saying "Hey! What's your fave Christmas movie?" And since it's the closest national holiday, to you and yours I wish a very happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day!

Dear Ben:

"Miracle on 34th Street." I am a big fan of the film's writer-director, George Seaton, who made many films that I admire, "An Apartment for Peggy," "Anything Can Happen,""The Country Girl," "But Not For Me," "The Tin Star," "Teacher's Pet," and "Airport." He was also a writer on the Marx bros. films "A Night at the Opera" and "A Day at the Races." Also, "Miracle on 34th Street" has nothing to do with Christianity, it's about Santa Claus.

Josh

Name: Kevin Neece
E-mail: jericho_legends@yahoo.com

Dear Josh:

I'm sorry, I really didn't mean to get your hopes up, I'm just some shmuck who makes $6.50 an hour... I was thinking of just shooting it on video for fun with some of my friends and taking it to TROMA or something. $25,000.00 IS VERY generous, if I can raise it I'll let you know... I'm sorry $25,099.99. I like RUNNING TIME and I'll eventually see
LUNATICS: A LOVE STORY (now that the price went down... awesome)

Dear Kevin:

Did the price go down on "Lunatics"? How do you know? It isn't available on DVD is it? Meanwhile, that's okay, you certainly didn't get my hopes up. The schmucks at Troma would never release a film like "Buds," it's nowhere near stupid enough for them.

Josh

Name: Darryl Mesaros
E-mail: simonferrer@hotmail.com

Dear Josh,

Does "no back end participation" mean no royalties, profit sharing, etc? Also, in THE RETURN OF THE KING, there is a flashback to Sean Bean's death scene from THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING. Does a flashback from a previous film in a current sequel count as a new scene, and can the actor earn royalties for it? No doubt you're right about his salary; American companies have been wooing British actors with Hollywood bucks for years, but Bean wasn't particularly famous, except for a certain cult following. Still, the exposure is good for his career.
You're right about Vincent Price having that odd, sort of effeminate quality to him. Watching him, the viewer can never believe him capable of getting physical or violent (on the few occasions when he did, it was always surprising), which is strange. In life, Price was 6' 4", and no doubt was physically capable; he just never came off that way on screen. Perhaps that is what made him such an interesting villian.

Darryl

Dear Darryl:

He'll probably receive SAG residuals (unless the cheapskates at Miramax figured out how not to pay them), and he does get them for a sequel with footage of him from the previous film. But you're talking about a few thousand dollars. Mr. Bean has no profit participation, nor do any of the others actors in the three films, which is part of the whole scheme -- no big name actors, and shoot it in New Zealand where you don't have to use most of the American unions (remember, they only had $275 million US dollars). The idea that anyone on the planet believes that a Miramax film is an independent is patently absurd. Miramax is just one more division of a multi-national conglomerate, and is no different than Touchstone or Hollywood Pictures, the other divisions of Disney. And I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad tidings, but the Weinstein bros are just two more fat, uncouth, tasteless Hollywood slobs that are no more than purveyors of shit, just like the rest of Hollywood.

Meanwhile, I liked Vincent Price much better in all of his other character roles than his horror stuff. Films like "Laura," "His Kind of Woman," "The Baron of Arizona," and "Champagne for Caesar." Price was a legitimately funny actor, and along with George Sanders, could play a rich snob better than almost anyone.

Josh

Name: Kevin Neece
E-mail: jericho_legends@yahoo.com

Dear Josh:

just checked out WGA Minimum... HOLY CRAP!! $50,199?! ! Whoa! And there are two writers on that script right? That would like double, triple that... damn... jaw drops... that is awesome. Now I want to sell a screenplay... You'll have to excuse me for a moment... hmm, I think I'll hock a few organs, sell a car... gee I love the screenplay. That is one good movie (refering to BUDS). I'll see where I am a year from now. Break a leg.

Dear Kevin:

If there's two writers they split the fee, you don't double it. Look, I'm a reasonable man, and I'm not in the WGA, so I'm not bound by their rules. I'll take half of that amount, how's that?

Josh

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

Dear Josh,

Congrats on the impending Sci-Fi deal - we're all keeping our fingers crossed. If it won't jinx anything to tell, is this going to be a revamped version of "Humans in Chains?" (Which I think is an awesome story.) Once the paperwork is signed, I think a lot of your fans would love to read an essay on your experiences in getting the deal done.

On "Deliverance" - I thoroughly agree - one of the best films of recent years, and superb ensemble performances from the cast. What's your opinion of some of Boorman's other work from that era, like "Excalibur" and "Emerald Forest?" (I won't mention "Zardoz.")

On "Deus ex machina" - I can add a little historical background on top of what you already said. It means "god from the machinery," and refers to stagecraft of several centuries ago. If there was a weak plot, especially in an opera (which might be about valkyries or Siegfried or Hercules or whoever) then it might be resolved by some god magically appearing and resolving everything. So usually they'd lower the actor playing the god on ropes or wires from the rigging above the stage - hence a god from out of the machinery.

Even Shakespeare wasn't above it - in college in "As You Like It," in addition to several other small roles, I played the previously unseen third brother of Orlando and Oliver, who shows up to announce that the villain who was coming to wipe them all out met a holy man and experienced a religious conversion, so that everyone can live happily ever after. Go figure.

BTW - two people from your past are celebrating birthdays - Laura Kelly, who used to visit your site all the time in '99 and '00, and took part in that wonderful celeb chat you did, turns 23 today (1/12) - and your old buddy Campbell Cooley is alive and well and still living in Auckland, and turns 38 on the 13th.

Regards,

August

Dear August:

Yes, the SciFi film is "Humans in Chains," now retitled "Alien Apocalypse." An essay about this deal wouldn't be all that interesting. The script had to sit around for 14 years first and collect a lot of dust. Then it's been over at SciFi for the last 2 years collecting more dust. Now we're going to potentially make it, that's the exciting story.

I didn't care for "Excalibur" or "The Emerald Forest," both of which seemed rather poorly written to me. Both have lovely photography, though. As I said before, I think Boorman is a talented director, but not much of a writer. His two best films, "Deliverance" and "Point Blank," were both written by other people.

Happy birthday to Laura and Campbell.

P.S. I sent you your tape of "Hammer." Thanks for buying it, and I hope you like it.

Josh

Name: Darryl Mesaros
E-mail: simonferrer@hotmail.com

Dear Josh,

I saw that you mentioned LORD OF THE RINGS and wanted to throw my two cents worth in. I rather liked the series (okay, I'm a fan of monsters getting hacked to bits with swords, so shoot me!), but my favorite character, Boromir, was killed off in the first installment. Boromir, by the way, was played by Sean Bean, who also played Richard Sharpe in the Sharpe television series (he was also in GOLDENEYE and a few other high profile films). The one character with an interesting moral dilemna (the conflict of duty: destroy the ring or save his country with it), and they kill him off. Granted, it happened that way in the book, but it sounds almost like Spielbergian thinking. In any case, I'm happy too see Sean Bean cash in on a Hollywood payday.

Darryl

Dear Darryl:

I'll bet you he didn't make all that much money. He's a fairly unknown character actor, I'll bet he made no more than ten grand a week and worked for a couple of weeks. And I'm absolutely certain he's got no back-end participation, so it wasn't a payday for him. The exposure is probably good for him, though.

Josh

Name: Bob Butler
E-mail: buzzard007us@yahoo.com

Dear Josh:

You've heard it all; If you liked the movie Falling Down then my screenplay Forty Plus is for your collaboration- Ben Rand is a computer operator who goes postal when his mainframe computer is phased out. Enough said.

Dear Bob:

More than enough said. I've got news for you, that premise wasn't strong enough to sustain "Falling Down," which truly does fall down no more than halfway through. That's not a whole story. A guy gets mad and goes ballastic is an act one. This ought to lead us to something else.

Josh

Name: Michele Hackman
E-mail: mhoppes@mchsi.com

Hi Josh,

Just a comment on "Deus Ex Machina and THE BIG LEBOWSKI."

Yes. What you said. And it all needed sayin'.

I ran across your article while looking for info to improve my own writing, and found it very helpful.

Thanks,

Michele

Dear Michele:

I'm glad I can be of service.

Josh

Name: Kevin Neece
E-mail: jericho_legends@yahoo.com

Dear Josh:

How much do you want for the rights to your screenplay, BUDS?

Dear Kevin:

I'm a reasonable man, I'll take WGA minimum.

Josh

Name: Darryl Mesaros
E-mail: simonferrer@hotmail.com

Dear Josh,

I hate to admit it (it seems awfully shallow), but the real reason I liked Scarface was that the dude got cut up with the chainsaw in the bathtub, and Al Pacino hoovered that pound of Columbia's finest and blew a bunch of guys away with an M203. Intellectual? No. Satisfying in a testosterone-laden sort of way? Hell yes!
Now for a non sequiter: what did you think of WITCHFINDER GENERAL, otherwise titled THE CONQUEROR WORM? I saw it awhile ago, and recently read an interview that Vincent Price gave about it. He stated that it was a challenging role, and that the director was talented but very difficult to work with (the director later committed suicide when his fiancee left him). I recall that Mr. Price's performance in the film was more laid-back sinister and far more genuinely evil than his other performances (his daughter, Vicoria, stated that in his other roles, it was like you could see him peeking out and winking at you from behind the role of the villain). As is every Price film, it was a pleasure just to see him perform (it's hard to find an actor today with his voice and his annunciation), but CW was a more pithy film than his usual stuff from the period.
Speaking of Vincent Price, I remember about a year ago we were talking about him screening for the role of Ashley Wilkes in GONE WITH THE WIND. You stated that he wasn't handsome enough to play the role, authentic Southern demeanor (he was raised in St. Louis) or no. I disagree. Price certainly had classical, aristocratic features, which would have been adequate. I think he could have pulled it off, like Bette Davis did in MR. SKEFFINGTON. In that film, Davis (pretty but certainly no heart-stopping beauty) pulled off the persona of an extremely attractive woman through sheer personality alone. I think Price could've done the same. Any thoughts?

Darryl

Dear Darryl:

I liked Vincent Price a lot, and I'm sure if he had to he could have pulled off Ashley Wilkes, but I don't think he's particularly suitable for the part. Leslie Howard was a big star at that time, and he certainly knows how to play a stick-in-the-mud, even if he wouldn't bother with the accent. But since David Selznick cast an unknown as Scarlett, he felt that he had to surround her with big stars, like Clark Gable, Olivia DeHavilland, and Leslie Howard. Vincent Price was nobody at that time, so he really didn't have a chance. He does seem aristocratic, but he wouldn't have made a strong love interest, as he comes off as slightly effeminate. Meanwhile, I've never sat all the way through "The Conquerer Worm." I love the poem, which ends with the wonderfully descriptive line, "In human gore imbued."

Josh

Name: Steve
E-mail:

Hi Josh,

How is your deal with Scifi going? Are you and Bruce still working on getting a film going?

Dear Steve:

It all goes well (knock on wood). Bruce signed his deal and I'm supposed to be getting my contract today or tomorrow. This is actually for two films, one I'll direct (based on my script), the other Bruce will direct (based on his script). This is supposed to occur -- the first film -- in April, May. Originally we were to shoot in Sofia, Bulgaria, but it may have changed to Bucharest, Romania, where they just shot "Cold Mountain."

Josh

Name: dayhana
E-mail: dominicangurl_04@hotmail.com

Dear Josh:

what does the word deus ex machina figuratively symbolizes? what movie or TV show has a deus ex machina?
p.s please write back soon i need these answers for monday!

Dear dayhana:

Didn't you bother to read my essay about it? Literally it's "God in the machine;" figuratively, it's a stupid, inappropriate ending on a story. A prime example is John Boorman's film, "Hell in the Pacific," where Lee Marivin and Toshiro Mifune are starnded on a Pacific atoll during WWII and end up fighting the war by themselves. Originally, as Boorman shot it, they learn to repect each other at the end. The producer didn't like the ending, so he had an artillery shell hit them and blow them to bits, which always seemed like a good example of deus ex machina to me.

Josh

Name: Robert
E-mail:

Hey,

You really remind me of Lester Bangs. He was to music what you are to film.

Best,
Robert

Dear Robert:

Thanks, I appreciate that.

Josh

Name: Alex
E-mail: alexc@london.net

Josh,

Have you ever heard of The Process? Was it really a popular group in the late 60s, early 70s? What do you think about Scientology?

Dear Alex:

I've never heard of The Process. As for Scientology, well, I have no respect for the old, well-established religions, so I certainly haven't got the slightest shred of respect for a recent religion dreamt up by a science fiction writer. I used to regularly walk past the Scientologist's building on Hollywood Blvd. on my way to my friend's house, and every time I went by a guy would hassle me to take an E-meter personality test, and if I joined I'd greatly improve my memory. After about the 50th time I went by and was hassled, I asked the guy if being a Scientologist had improved his memory? He smiled widely and said, "Yes, very much so." I replied, "Then remember my face and never bother me again." He bothered me again the very next day, and didn't even remember us speaking the day before. Obviously, it doesn't work.

Josh

Name: dave
E-mail: voxosoxo@lineone.net

Dear Josh:

loved it as i just read Mark Gados account of crowley...the remark wipe the seat had me laughing man some of them were tough in there last seconds on this earth in the death chamber bob elliot shouldnt have been so quick with that goddam switch as people have a right to speak..i beleive when the military executed soldiers here in england the proceedings took up to an hour speeches etc..the verdict readout..
almost like a party canned beer passed around way to go..not that way..great writing all best dave

Dear Dave:

Yeah, there's a definitely a movie there with "Two-Gun" Crowley. One of these days . . .

Josh


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