Q & A    Archive
Page 115

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

Josh,

Vatican II changed 90% of the religion, right off the bat. Those of us who remain faithful to tradition do so because we believe that the faith was fundamentally changed, and is now a new faith. We reject the changes of Vatican II. Also, they exonerated Jews for the death of Christ, but to those of us faithful to tradition don't repudiate that fact. It's basically a non-fact. Another Vatican council could declare that Oreos aren't healthy, but it doesn't affect our faith. Since you seem to have confidence in statements based on majorities, I'll throw a few at you: The majority of Traditional Catholics don't, and never have, blamed Jews for the death of Christ. The majority of Traditional Catholics will not be predisposed to anti-Semitism after seeing the movie. The majority of Catholic priests who have molested children are not Traditional Catholics. And finally, the majority of anti-Semitism in the country is unavoidable (as is all forms of discrimination) and the release of a movie about the Passion of Christ is incedental.

As another pointed out in a post, anyone can interperet anything any way they want. Mel Gibson made the movie he wanted to make and the movie that millions thank him for making because it helps strengthen their faith. Gibson is not responsible for people taking it upon themselves to hear "the Jews killed Christ, so go kill Jews" in the script. I'm not going to deny the possibility of someone taking the movie wrong. And at some point, even if the intention is good, if the bad outweighs the good, then a person has a responsibility to not act. But when we're talking about a tiny percent of people, then it isn't Mr. Gibson's concern.

By the way, didn't you say once that filmmakers should just make what they want and shouldn't be held responsible for the actions of their viewers?

I think I saw that "Lost in Translation" is on your Netflix list. Might as well take it off--it will kill you to watch. In addition, I don't think people need more encouragement to cheat on their spouses. Is Sofia Coppola responsible for people who cheat on their loved ones after seeing the movie? No, but the movie doesn't offer anything good.

Ben

Dear Ben:

I don't know where you get off speaking for the majority of Traditional Catholics, did they elect you as their representative? And I've certainly said to make the movie you want to make, but I never said that you're not responsible for the emotions you incite. That's why working on horror movies got so old to me so fast, I didn't like the response they were going for. If you make a gruesome horror movie, then someone goes right out and kills somebody using that technique, you are responsible on some level.

Josh

Name: Barb (Weisman) Hoffman
E-mail: Gingit2@aol.com

Josh,

I just read "Blast From the Past." I started laughing immediately when I noted the character's names: Dean (gee, I wonder who that was?), Carter Agree, and "Tom" Francis (I guess you figured nobody would believe the name "Tam." I don't know who "Susie" and "Leigh" represent, but I enjoyed reading that synopsis. It was really very clever! It's always fun keeping up from time to time with the Groves' gang's careers.
If they ever have another reunion, I hope to see you there. All my best, Barb

Dear Barb:

I'm glad you liked it, and recognized some of the names, too. Yeah, our 30-year high school reunion is in two years, for goodness sake. I'll see you there.

Josh

Name: Bird Jenkins
E-mail: bird@jjandbird.com

Howdy, Josh.

This Mel Gibson flick is sure getting a lot of attention. I haven't seen the film, so I can't remark on whether or not it's anti-Semitic. I do know what the Traditionalist Catholics believe, and I think to say that they are "inherently anti-Semitic" is kind of like saying that the Jews are "inherently anti-Christian". Of course it seems true on the most basic level, but it also implies that they wish the other group harm or have a hatred for them or something. That couldn't be further from the truth. It's just a difference in their core set of beliefs. The Traditionalists acknowledge that Jesus himself was ethnically a Jew, as were most of his earliest followers, so it isn't as if they have any beef with the Jewish people, only as a religion. This is no different than if they made a film adaptation of the life of Martin Luther that showed the fucked up things the Catholics did during the time of the Protestant Reformation. That is, after all, what they believe. To try to change that is to try to change their religion, and then you're guilty of the same thing the worst examples of evangelical Christians are guilty of. There may be a few idiots who spray paint swastikas on a synagogue after seeing THE PASSION. There are always morons who misinterpret what they see. My dad thought Thelma and Louise made the jump across the Grand Canyon after it freeze framed and went to montage at the end of the movie. He said to me, "So this is them years later, huh Bird?"

I don't believe the average Christian will walk out of POTK and want to hurt Jews. In fact, I think the average Christian probably wouldn't give it a second thought, until he was inundated with all the fearful rhetoric from guys like Abe Foxman. Then the Christians get defensive because they feel like their religion is getting taken away from them.

I do have to agree with you that Jesus would be disappointed by most of his followers if he came back today. I also think God would be pretty disappointed by most Jews, as well. Same goes for Muslims. Truth be told, we're all one big goddamn disappointment.


Your friend,
Bird

Dear Bird:

So, you say the Traditional Catholics have a beef with the Jewish religion. Isn't that the same thing as having a beef with the Jewish people, since they're the ones practicing the religion? And this beef, I suppose, is that the Jews put Jesus to death. Of course, Jesus had to be put to death so you Christians could have a religion, and had they failed to kill Jesus where would you be now? The Christians should send the Jews a thank you note every year for allowing them to have a religion, which was entirely founded by Jews. So, you think it would then be reasonable for the Jews to hold grudges over all the times Christians started progroms and went out killing Jews for fun? How about the Crusades? Christian armies slaughtering Jews and Muslims in the name of God. How about the Vatican being in bed with Hitler? Or that seemingly most Catholic priests are perverts. The bottom-line is that religion is bullshit; it's evil, and it's the basis of many of our human miseries. Religion is entirely about our supposed differences, not our similarities. And that's why a polemic like Mel Gibson's "Passion" is complete, unadulterated shit. In the name of religion it's causing discord and bad feelings. "The Passion" may well make Christians cry for the suffering of Jesus, it also plants a seed of hatred for those that supposedly killed him, and therefore it is the work of the devil.

Josh

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

Josh,

You are right about the defacing of a Synagogue here in Brooklyn. I can only speak for NYC, since I have lived here now for five years and through 9/11, but I see far more Anti-Semitism than I do Anti-Christian acts.

I don't have the answer, I only know what I see here. Maybe it is because there is a large Jewish population in NYC?

All I have to say is that with regards to Gibson's film, even if there are no physical acts towards the jewish population, the sentiments are definitely felt here in NYC. No doubt about it.

I don't believe it has to be a physical act, just the intention can be as damaging and in fact it is.

I just wanted to add that I was raised Catholic and I believe it to be the nastiest of all the Christian sects. As a boy, I always had this uncomfortable feeling around the Priests and I did not know quite why at the time.

I refused to be an Alter boy, and luckily for me, my parents never forced me. Needless to say, I now know why I had the feelings I did at the time towards particularly two Priests at our Church.

This was a a middle class Church back in Michigan not somewhere in the hood.

To this day, I am happy that I went with my intuition as a kid or who knows what would have happened? It still scares the shit out of me sometimes.

Scott

Dear Scott:

With over 11,000 allegations now against over 6,000 Catholic priests, with obviously many, many more undiscovered and unmentioned, your uncomfortable feeling was clearly well-founded. What amuses me is that the Catholics are against gay marriage, and say that homosexuality is an abomination that has to be fought against all the time, but even the priests seem to always lose the fight as hard as you drill the religion into them. As Bill Maher said, the entire Catholic religion is just gay, with guys in pointy hats and silly outfits, and rows of boys on their knees with their mouths open.

Josh

Name: Alice Schultz
E-mail: schultz3123@hotmail.com

Dear Josh,

I was wondering if you could maybe tell me what movie this is? I tried around on the Net but I don't remember who was in it or have any keywords. A man and a woman meet during WWII and instantly get engaged. He has wealth rank and station. She's poor but honest, a classical dancer. They mean to get married immediately but circumstances prevent this, and he has to leave on schedule for his overseas posting. By and by she learns he's KIA. She slowly goes broke and eventually desperate. Suddenly he turns up alive -- there's been a mistake. They're still in love and he still wants to marry her. But by now she's accumulated this past he doesn't know about.

I don't seem to be bringing out much about this except the melodrama, an it probably was that but in the good way, once you grasped the ending. It had the look of a '40's classic. ?

Thank you,

Alice

Dear Alice:

It sounds vaguely like a movie I really like called "Random Harvest" (1942) with Ronald Coleman and Greer Garson, but maybe not.

Josh

Name: JimmyJ
E-mail:

Josh,

No, the new show Sylvester Stallone and Mark Burnett are producing hasn't started yet. It will be about real boxers and end with a Title fight each season.

Cheers,
JimmyJ

Dear JimmyJ:

I know the new one hasn't started yet. I'm saying there basically is a boxing show just like that that's already on, called ShoBox on Showtime, which is about giving contenders a shot. They find fighters with really good records that basically no one has ever heard of, or only real boxing afficianados, and let them fight each other. What's the difference with this new show?

Josh

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

Josh,

It's unfortunate that you write so much that you don't know about. I'm fed up with your retarded assertions, one of which is that "'love thy neighbor' means nothing to Christians." I can only speak for Traditionalist Catholics, nothing else, but I assure you, that not one will come out of The Passion with anti-Semetic feelings. Our next step is not revenge or to kill Jews. In fact, the only anti-Semetic sentiments that have come from this (nothing physical, just emails, the severity of which aren't even truly known) was a result of rabbis protesting the movie. If they had kept quiet, then nothing would have happened.

No one should argue about any of this, because it will be apparent how many riots and hate-crimes result from this--like I said before, none. No one will kill Jews, and after everyone is done bitching about all the potential hate, it will all die away quietly until the liberals find something else to bitch about with no basis.

Talk about persecution. Talk about minority. I'm a minority and I'm being persecuted continually for my beliefs. But I don't bitch about it too often. I'm not a black or a Jew or a woman.

Ben

Dear Ben:

Considering the Traditional Catholics rejected the Vatican II Accord, which officially took the blame for the death of Jesus off the Jews, it seems like the Traditional Catholics are inherently anti-Semitic, that it's a foundation of the sect. A synagogue was defaced with swastikas in Brooklyn last week, does that count, or is just a coincidence?

Josh

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

Josh,

I agree absolutely. If Gibson had chosen to film a movie rather than a protracted scene he might have supplied a context to support his public statements that, "We all killed Jesus." As it stands, he chooses to ignore the contemporary context of his movie, justifying himself by saying that he's only following the Gospels, to say nothing of his claim of Truth. Regardless of the (likely limited) merits of the movie per se, this decision is irresponsible in the extreme.

You mentioned the "Cossacks" line in "Annie Hall". I think the Cossacks offer a wealth of material for filmmakers. Apologies to "Taras Bulba", but the Cossacks were never an ethnic group. I don't know if you've read much of them but they were essentially run-away slaves whose raiding was tolerated by the Tsars because they provided a buffer against the Turks. A wilder version of the Wild West, one might say. When you decide to write that screenplay I'll go on a fundraising tour for you. Thanks,

John

Dear John:

I loved "Taras Bulba" as a kid; when I was eight that was my idea of a good movie. Luckily, I was so young at the time I wasn't bothered that Tony Curtis played Yul Bryner's son.

Josh

Name: Robert
E-mail:

Hey Josh,

Great night for the Kiwi's, huh?! Do you happen to know how many castmates of Xena and Herc actually worked on Lord of the Rings? I recognized Ngila Dickson (sp?) Did you know any of the oscar winners personally?

Dear Robert:

I know Ngila, and Grant Major the production designer, and Richard Whatshisname, the FX supervisor, who did the Minotaur head for the Herc movie I directed, and I've met Peter Jackson, too. They're all very talented people. It was the only real highlight of an otherwise very dull, predictable, and unfunny Oscar telecast.

Josh

Name: David
E-mail: rudyt17@yahoo.com

Dear Josh:

You keep a list of all the movies you've seen; do you keep a list of all the books you've read? Just curious.

Dear David:

Yep, I sure do.

Josh

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

Dear Josh,

I caught "Whale Rider" on Oxygen last night (it airs again Saturday night) and was really touched and impressed. Curious if you've seen it, and if so, what you thought of it. Cliff Curtis, with whom you worked on one of those Hercules movies, has a nice supporting role as the little girl's dad.

Regards,

August

Dear August:

Cliff was good, and so was the little girl, but I was unmoved. The grandfather just seemed like a creep and I didn't care what he believed in or if he would ever be nice to the girl. The idea that the little girl was nominated for an Oscar is, of course, insane. She spends 7/8s of the film playing dead-pan, then cries like hell in one scene. Admittedly, she has a interesting face, but still. The fake whales were impressive. I also knew half the crew, who had worked on Xena. The other half of the Xena and Herc crews all just won Oscars for LOTR.

Josh

Name: JimmyJ
E-mail: jj@aol.com

Josh,

What is old Rob Tapert up to these days? Is he still in New Zealand making a horror film? On a side note, didn't you grow up with Mark Burnett, the producer of Survivor, Apprentice, and the upcoming reality boxing show with Sylvester Stallone?

Thanks,
Jimmy

Dear JimmyJ:

No, I don't know Mark Burnett. I did grow up with Craig Peligian, who was the co-executive producer of "Survivor." He also produced "Real Stories of the Highway Patrol" which I worked on for the first season. I'm highly suspect of this boxing show, I must say. Are we expected to watch non-boxers fight each other? If it's actually up and coming contenders, that show is already on, it's called ShoBox of Showtime.

Josh

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

Josh,

I think you hit on the fundamental problem with the context of the film "The Passion" itself.

First, it tries desperately to portray the violent way in which Jesus died, however, it does not balance that with what he was trying to teach.

I also disagree with what Mike said about justifying the nature of this film with "Jesus himself said that no one was killing him...that he was laying down his life "of his own accord."

The message of the film is mixed and as mixed up as Gibson's own vision of the last hours of Christ. I still hold to the fact that absolutely nobody can say for sure who played what role in his death.

Shit, our own government can't even find "Weapons of Mass Destruction" in Iraq, how can we know for certain the details of something which was written so long ago.

The Bible is a book written by humans, and all books, even the Bible are not infallible by the mere nature of them being written by humans and in turn interpreted by us in every way possible.

Gibson's film has been credited for being true to the Bible's interpretation, but it he is also using it to foster his own belief system and in turn hurt rather than help the cause.

I also share your comment that "Jesus's words about love thy neighbor don't mean squat to many Christians."

I feel if Jesus were alive today, he would be appalled at how Christian's use his teachings in such a destructive manner.

On a lighter note! Here are two new links to checkout form Andy Rooney's last two segments on 60 minutes. The latest has a link to the video, but not the one about Mel Gibson. They are both really funny:

http://www.cbsnews.com/sections/60minutes/rooney/main3419.shtml

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/02/19/60minutes/rooney/main601254.shtml

Scott

Dear Scott:

The Bible being written by humans, which it was, both editions, is at the core of this argument. The true believers think that the Bible is the "Word of God," although those that think the old testament is the actual word of God don't think the new testament is, and vice versa. Of course, the Muslims think the Koran is the word of God; the Hindus think the Baghavad-Gita is; the Mormons think it's the Book of Mormon, etc. And indeed it's all nonsense, there is no word of God, and all human religions are mythology. There's no more "truth" in the Bibles than there is in the Eskimo mytholgy of creation, and anyone that believes there is is being intentionally obtuse. The religious call it "faith," but as Mark Twain said, and I love to quote, "Faith is believing in what you know ain't so." Religion is a big cop-out; your sins are your own problem, and either you come to terms with them or you don't, but no one died for your sins. You're stuck with them, and if you're an asshole, that's because you're an asshole.

Josh

Name: David
E-mail: rudyt17@yahoo.com

Dear Josh:

How about a review of "Lost In Translation"?

Dear David:

Sorry, I haven't seen it yet. It's on order from Netflix, so it ought to be soon. Several of my close friends really hated it, though. And everyone I know seems convinced that the worst aspect is the Oscar-winning script.

Josh

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

Josh,

There have been any number of Anti-Christianity efforts since the acceptance of Christianity by Rome. Islam, particularly in the Mongol and Turkish expansions, was anti-Christian. The very real and immediate threat from the Ottomans didn't really recede until the eighteenth century. Communism as practiced in the Twentieth century was also anti-Christian, though not nearly to the extent that it was anti-Semitic. Christians (and
Jews) are currently persecuted in most Muslim nations.

The biggest difference between the two experiences is that, while Christianity survives, Christendom died a natural death in period between the mid-eighteenth and early twentieth centuries. Only the Vatican, I believe, is officially a Christian country. In Judaism, faith and nation are indestinguishable Another significant difference is that Christians have, since Rome, been the majority population in their own countries for the most part. That is only recently true for Jews, and even now not by much.

In the end, the threat to anti-Semites today is neither the Christians nor Jews but, rather, Secular Humanism. The Western legal structure prohibits persecutions of special groups irrespective of their particular identifier. Unfortunately, all anti-Semites are Idiots and their survival is guaranteed by the bell curve.

John

Dear John:

Your's is an historically interesting response, but it doesn't really relate. In known memory no one has gone out and killed Christians just for the fun of it. For at least the past 1,000 years Europeans and western Asians have regularly killed Jews for sheer amusement. It's like that wonderful exchange in "Annie Hall" where Annie says that her tie was given to her by Grammy Hall, and didn't his Grammy give him things? Woody Allen says, "No, she was too busy being raped by cossacks." Jews weren't allowed to own land or businesses in Europe until about 100 years ago, which is why they went into professions like medicine and law and money-lending, that way when the pogrom came, as it undoubtedly would eventually, you could just flee and not leave your business behind. My point is that anti-Semitism is a very, very real, contemporary issue to Jews, not some piece of ancient history like the crucifixion. And historically, when Christians get all bothered and upset about the crucifixion of Jesus, frequently their next move is to kill Jews. In Europe anyway, that's called being a good Christian. Clearly, Jesus's words about love thy neighbor don't mean squat to many Christians.

Josh

Name: Mike
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

I know that you can be hot-headed about film (especially current ones), but since you are not a practicing Christian or anything...why do you care so much about whether or not anti-semitism exists in The Passion of the Christ?

I saw the film and found it to be extraordinarily powerful and moving, and saw no traces of anti-semitism. Everyone had a hand in what happened to Jesus, not just the Jews. Besides that, Jesus himself said that no one was killing him...that he was laying down his life "of his own accord." So that really renders the point moot doesn't it?

If you don't care either way, why are you so quick to jump on the "It's emotionally anti-semitic" bandwagon? ESPECIALLY, when you haven't even seen it?

Dear Mike:

It's easy for Christians to be nonchalant about anti-Semitism, there hasn't been any active anti-Christianity since the Romans 1500 years ago. Considering that there is active anti-Semitism going on in many parts of the world right this minute, and within the last 60 years six million Jews were killed strictly because of their religion, the idea of inciting anti-Semitism seems like a bad idea. And, as I mentioned, it's historically proven that showing this story, the passion play, Jesus's last hours, to Christians incites anti-Semitism. It all comes down to the old adage: Are you part of the problem or are you part of the solution? I'd say Mel Gibson's movie has ultimately added to the bad vibes of the world and is part of the problem, not the solution.

Josh

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

Josh,

It's fine that everyone is concerned with the anti-Semitism that will result from the film. I totally understand their concerns. But where is it? The movie has been out for five days now. It's made, what, $70 million? How many Christian-Jewish riots have broken out? How many people came out of the theatre cursing Jews rather than crying, having been faced with what they consider the ultimate sacrifice?

Maybe ten years from now, when not a single spark of anti-Semitism results from this movie, then people will close their lips.

Dear Ben:

Maybe, but maybe not. William Safire's point about "The Passion," is that it's emotionally anti-semitic, which was why these passion plays were so popular in Germany, and why they were ultimately banned by the Vatican. The point of only telling this tiny bit of Jesus' life, meaning his suffering at the very end, has historically been proven to lead to pogroms against the Jews. The point is to emotionally whip them up in their empathy for the suffering Jesus, which can only logically be vented on his Jewish persecutors, or their descendents. So, if historical precedent tells you that presenting a certain story frequently gets a certain response, that's what you must want.

Josh

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

Hey Josh,

I was wondering if you'd had the chance to see Mark Hamill's directorial debut- Comic Book: The Movie yet. It came out directly to DVD, but don't let that deter you. And it features a cameo by your pal and everyone's favorite movie actor: Mr. Bruce Campbell. As well as Hugh Hefner, Kevin Smith, Stan Lee, and others. If you have seen it, what did you think of it, if you haven't seen it, and/or why won't you see it?

Dear Ben:

I haven't even heard of it. But it certainly doesn't sound like my cup of tea. I did watch "Phone Booth," though, which was seriously preposterous. It's like Larry Cohen wrote the script 20 years ago when there were phone booths everywhere, but now there aren't any anywhere, so he had to have a opening piece of exposition about how this was the very last phone booth in NYC and would be torn down tomorrow. And without the lengthy credits, that film is barely 70 minutes long.

Josh

Name: Gazz
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

Just saw "Throw Momma from the Train" with Danny DeVito and Billy Crystal.
Wondering if you have seen it and if so what did you think of it? I looked it up on www.imdb.com and it had a pretty pants score, but i thought it was a really great film.
What did you think to DeVito's direction?

Dear Gazz:

It was okay, and it had a few laughs, as I recall, but it was certainly nothing special. The first half of "War of the Roses" was pretty good, but that's about it for all of Mr. DeVito's directing career.

Josh

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

Josh,

I thought I'd add that Mary and Mary Magdeline had head coverings, until Mary Magdaline took hers off to wipe up blood.

Ben

Dear Ben:

But not Jesus and his merry men. That's bullshit!

Josh

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

Josh,

I agree with your sentiment that "anything good for you isn't supposed to taste good," although I found the phrase "roll around in his blood" to be irreverent.

Gibson didn't make this movie to be a technically dramatic story. The focus has always been the suffering of Jesus, and that's what he filmed. I agree, that for someone who doesn't know the story (or someone who needs characterization to care about the protagonist), it would be incredibly confusing. For those people, the crucifixion would almost be a relief, after seeing so much torture, but then he gets up and walks away?

In original stories, you need the goal to be set up in the beginning so you know when the movie will end. In this story, everyone knows when it's going to end.

I agree that the movie goes against classic story structure (no real act breaks and a passive main character), but like you said, if you really think this guy died for their sins, then it has meaning.

Of course, Gibson's goal wasn't anything other than to make the movie. He went outside the Hollywood paths and the movie, with help of expectant Christians, just promoted itself. (Abe Foxman helped, too.) He wasn't trying to make a blockbuster.

Out of curiosity, does it make you happy at all to see a movie that is based on beliefs do well over "X-men" and "Spider-Man"? Or do you not care?

Dear Ben:

No, I don't care. Crappy films are crappy films, and the subject matter isn't the issue. Mel Gibson is a piss-poor filmmaker, and I have no doubt that "Passion" is exceptionally bad film. And, as William Safire said today in the NY Times, it really is very anti-semitic because Jesus is beaten so cruelly that you really want revenge, and Pilate and Herod are both portrayed sympathetically, so your hatred focuses on the Jewish leaders, thus the film inspires Chistians to blame the Jews for Jesus' death, and ultimately fans the flames of hatred. Well, that sounds like a terrific message to be spreading.

Josh

Name: Blake Eckard
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

Now, wait a minute...

You don't like any Mel Gibson movies? Then why are the first two "Mad Max" films on your favorites list? I have the feeling you don't like Gibson because he's conservitave.
Maybe that's not true, but I've noticed some lamblasting on your part with other very talented people and all I can figure is that they are outspoken about political views that differ from yours.

This only dawned on me after remembering some of the negative things you've brought up about such biggies as Charelton Heston, Clint Eastwood, and even the Duke...All well-known right wingers. Gibson is in the same boat. At least he's out there doing something that nobody else wanted to do. He's got guts.

Not meant as an attack, just a observation.

The best, as always. Have a good one.

Blake

Dear Blake:

Your right, I like "Mad Max," "The Road Warrior," and "Gallipoli, and I'll even throw in "The Year of Living Dangerously," which takes us up to 1983. Everything Mel Gibson has done since then I don't like. Basically, when he just made Australian films he was okay. Once he became a star, he's made nothing but crap for the past 20 years. Meanwhile, although I don't agree with Charlton Heston's or John Wayne's politics, I've never dissed the work of either of them. I think that Heston is a legitimate movie star, much more so than Gibson. John Wayne had a great career and really had good taste in the scripts he chose to make. I just don't think Mel Gibson is particularly talented as an actor, and he's far less talented as a director. I actually walked out of "Braveheart" about two and half hours into it, which is very odd for me. If I've made it that long, I'll generally sit through the remainder of anything. Hell, I'm one of the very few people that liked Ronald Reagan as an actor, and have said so many times, and I sure don't agree with his politics. But I do think I'm pretty good at not mixing someone's art with their politics.

Josh

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

Josh,

On the subject of torture in the movies (not the torture of modern movies) I've never seen you comment on "The Killing Fields" with Sam Waterston and John Malkovich. I saw that one when it came out. I had to walk two miles to and back from the theater and the walk back was a lot quieter than the walk there. It's a difficult movie to sit through, as I recall, the more so since it reflected the actual experiences of the lead character (whose name escapes me). I wondered if you had seen it and what your opinion of it is. For myself, I've only seen it one time but I remember being taken up completely be the experiences played out on the screen.

Thanks,

John

Dear John:

It was okay. Sam Waterston was kind of a weak lead, and though it looked good, I never personally got into it. Nice photography by Chris Menges. And you see where director Roland Joffe's career has gone -- nowhere.

Josh

Name: Dan
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

I hope that you are kidding about "health care for everyone." So where would you get the money to handle this gigantic task? Noble cause, but completely unrealistic. Also, with these "tax incentives for the US companies that stay in the US," where in the world are you going to get the money to offset the loss of taxes from these companies? And where are you going to fund these "kickbacks?" And with these new hybrid cars, are you prepared to help the car manufacturers fund this because there is no way an industry that already has enough trouble will completely switch gears to a different make of car...So all in all, I really hope to GOD that you are joking because your politics wouldn't support any sort of free enterprise, high voltage economy, anywhere....

Dear Dan:

what? Like we have now? As Dennis Kucinich has said over and over, we pay more than enough each for everyone to have health care, but most of the money is wasted because it's all through private companies. You pull out the giant profit magins, CEOs making tens of millions each, and all the advertising and we could all have health care. I'm not telling the car companies to stop making strictly gas-powered cars, I'm saying we should promote hybrids, which are a very good idea, and get American car companies to make them, too. Then make it economically advantageous to drive them, so you'd save money on your registration, save money on insurance, save money on gas, and help clean up the air. And is it better to lose American jobs or make it attractive for companies to stay here? Let's face it, if we rescind Bush's tax cuts to the rich we could easily get on with paying off the deficit and doing things that will legitimately help this economy grow.

Josh

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

Hi Josh,

Quick question-since you mentioned Robert Crumb, did you see the documentary on him and his brothers? I thought it was *incredible.* I've only seen it once-and I need to see it again. (Damn-that's something *else* I should get on DVD.) The irony is that Robert was the sanest of the three (?) brothers. Crumb's comics were truly fucked up. I enjoyed them. Last I heard, he was living in Southern France.

I still remember the part in the Crumb documentary where one of his brothers said (I might be paraphrasing here), "I was on anti-depressants for 20 years. I went off them a while, didn't like it-so I went back on them again." Sadly, my understanding is that this brother later commited suicide.

Speaking of which-have you ever read John Kennedy Toole's A CONFEDERACY OF DUNCES? I thought this book was HILARIOUS. He only wrote one other book-THE NEON BIBLE. That book was written when he was in his teens, I believe. It is a CHILLING book.

Sadly, Toole commited suicide in his early 30s, I believe-I think he jumped off a building.

Have a good one.

Saul

Dear Saul:

I've seen the documentary "Crumb" three or four times and I have it on tape. I think he's great. He's one of the few people on the planet that values his integrity more than money. He turned down a Rolling Stones album cover, among many others things, because he didn't want his art appearing there. And yes, I've read "A Confederacy of Dunces," and I enjoyed it, although I found somewhat one-note. I actually have a hardcover first edition (since it is a Pulitzer Prize-winner and I collect them), which was very difficult to find.

Josh

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

Josh,

Since throwing lawn darts at Mel Gibson seems to be in vogue now, I heard something (unintentionally) funny about Passion the other day. There was a discussion on the Lefty Talk Radio, with these Christians and Pro-Passion talkers. One actually challenged the notion that a movie should be entertaining. They claimed that the movie isn't supposed to be entertaining, but redeeming. How's that for double-speak?! How can one learn anything from a movie if they aren't being entertained? (ie engaged) I have seen very disturbing movies and was affected by them because they were enthralling and challenged my intellect.
So, even the Pro-Gibson/Passion crowd is admitting that the movie sucks.

Dear Kim:

Things that are supposedly good for you aren't supposed to taste good. If you honestly think Jesus died for your sins, then why not roll around in his blood.

Josh

Name: The Real Bob
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

Concerning Catch Me If You Can, I thought the movie was entertaining enough, but I too found Tom Hanks Eastern New England/Bostonish accent to be distracting. For example, the way he pronounced words like 'forty-four' was way off, something like 'fahty- fah'. It must be a difficult accent to nail. I thought that his effort might be forgiveable if it was essential that his character be identified with Boston, but I don't recall it ever being mentioned in the movie that he was supposed to be from Boston. Nor did any of the movie take place in Boston. It didn't make a whole lot of sense to me.

Otherwise, though, I think Tom Hanks is one of the best actors around today, and I like most of the movies he is in.

Dear The Real Bob:

It must be difficult because nobody seems to pull it off, like Rob Morrow in "Quiz Show." Whoever does the voice of Mayor Quimby in "The Simpsons" does pretty well, but then they're just imitating the Kennedys. Anyway, Tom Hanks is all right, he just hasn't been in very many good movies.

Josh

Name: Bird Jenkins
E-mail: bird@jjandbird.com

Howdy, Josh.

What's your opinion of the 1944 film THE FIGHTING SULLIVANS, formerly just THE SULLIVANS? It's one of my favorites and stars Thomas Mitchell as the father of five boys who all end up serving on the same ship during WW2, and all five brothers die when the ship is sunk. It's a true story and it always fascinated me that they made this film before the war was even over. It's a great piece of American propaganda.

It also features classic child star Bobby Driscoll when he was extremely young, before he went on to work for Disney in such films as TREASURE ISLAND and PETER PAN. He plays the youngest brother as a child. He's an actor I've always wanted to learn more about because apparently he died penniless of hepatitis when he was a young adult, and for a year he was a John Doe, unidentified, so he was buried in a pauper's grave. I think he used intraveinous drugs.

Do you know anything else about this wonderful film?


Your friend,
Bird

Dear Bird:

I saw "The Fighting Sullivans" (AKA "The Sullivans") a couple of times as a kid, but I literally haven't seen it in about 30 years. I remember Bobby Driscoll (1937-68) best from "The Window" (1949), directed by the great DP Ted Tetzlaff, for which Driscoll got a special kid's Oscar. I saw Disney's 1950 "Treasure Island" with Bobby Driscoll and Robert Newton at the theater as a young kid, like seven, and it scared the shit out of me. I love the fact that Robert Crumb and his brothers obsessed over that film. As per the Ephraim Katz Film Dictionary, "His career faltered, however, when he reached his teens, and he was unable to obtain work in films or on TV except on scattered occasions. Unable to adjust to the new conditions, he became a drug addict and was arrested several times for various offenses. In 1965 he moved to NYC, where three years later his body was found in the rubble of an abandoned tenement, the victim of a heart attack. He was buried in a pauper's grave. It was not until 1969, a full year after the burial, that, through fingerprints, the body was identified as that of Driscoll."

Josh

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

Josh,

Yeah, we had a woman die here in Wichita during "Passion" as well. I've been trying to tell anyone who will listen that "Passion" is the natural successor to Saint Spielberg's movies; it's entirely visual without any substance. You paraphrased Spielberg's thinking on "Private Ryan" not too long ago; "Meat? I can do meat." Gibson's thinking seems to be along the same lines. My only interest in actually seeing the film is in doing a cc count of the blood. There are real limitations to how much any one person can bleed and, from what I understand, Gibson may have exceeded that amount significantly.

It seems that Spielberg, Hanks, Gibson and Robin Williams have all joined the same cabal. They each want,in their old age, to be thought of as the puritans not one of them was when younger.

Thanks,

John

Dear John:

At the very first showing of "Taxi Driver" here in Detroit, which I attended, a woman died. If you believe that Jesus died for your sins, then I suppose watching Jesus get his skin flayed off of him has meaning. To many of the rest of us, however, watching any human being get tortured to death is simply in bad taste. I didn't enjoy it in "Reservoir Dogs" or "I Spit On Your Grave," and I have no doubt that I wouldn't enjoy it in this case, either. But, like most other modern movies, this film apparently skips Act I, where we would get to know and like the guy, so that when he's tortured to death it matters, and therefore it's just bad drama.

Josh

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

Dear Josh,

If you run in 2012 with that platform, I'll not only vote for you, I'll organize your grassroots campaign here in DC, and everywhere I go! All I care about now is getting Bush out of the White House. He pisses me off more with each passing day, and I have to live in the same town as him. Grrr....

In other news, I tried to watch "Catch Me If You Can," after five of my friends recommended it, and couldn't finish it. I just didn't care about Leonardo DiCaprio's character. At all. So sad.

Still waiting for a good new-ish movie,

Cindy

Dear Cindy:

I actually sat through the entire film, but it wouldn't have been a problem to bail at any moment. Leonardo just isn't very interesting, and there should be a law that actors like Tom Hanks are not allowed to do a Boston accent. Ever.

Josh

Name:
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

BTW, Mel Gibson didn't direct "The Patriot." That was done by the same lame brain that made "Godzilla," and "Independence Day."

Dear ----:

That's right, I'm not thinking. Basically, I just don't like Mel Gibson's movies, whether he directed them or not.

Josh

Name: KDN
E-mail: Jericho_legends@yahoo.com

Dear Josh,

Believe it or not, some lady here in Austin went to see the PASSION OF THE CHRIST and had a heart attack. Its more violent than any evil dead or peter jackson film, the whole thing feels like a horror film. And near the end when Jesus is on the cross, it feels like they just tossed in the thing with the bird ripping one of the guys eye out (not jesus, the guy on the cross that laughs at him). I like this version.

Dear KDN:

It's the Jesus story for the "Evil Dead" crowd, well that's great. My biggest problem is that Mel Gibson is such a God-awful director that I can't possibly support him anymore, not after the dual blasphemies of "Braveheart" and "The Patriot" (I thankfully haven't seen "The Man Without a Face"). I also hear that Jesus and his crew don't have their heads covered, yet all the other Jews do. Is Mel saying that Jesus and his posse weren't good Jews? Of course, in reality, I'll bet you that Pontius Pilate never heard of Jesus, they never met, there were no big gatherings in the streets of Jerusalem, it was absolutely no big deal. The Romans had criminals crucified every day of the week, and there was nothing special about Jesus to them, he was just one more uppity native.

Josh

Name: Dylan
E-mail:

Hello Josh,

I just wanted to tell you how much I loved the screen treatment you just posted, "Blast from the Past" (though if it was made into a movie someday, you'd have to change the title, since a pretty bad film with that name came out a few years ago). A wonderful, solid story and characters. Like most of your unfilmed work, it also predates many films made about the same topic, in this case being a fatal attraction, and as in every case, this is far superior than any other film since the time you wrote it on that subject. Anyway, keep the treatments coming, it's some of the finest story work I've read in ages! My favorite so far has been "Grave Error," which I found to be oddly moving, and one of the better horror stories I've read (simply because it wasn't all about the horror, and that it was very character-driven, like everything you've done). All of these would make wonderful movies (and a shame you haven't had the chance yet). How many of these treatments have you actually tried to get off the ground over the years?

Best Regards,
Dylan

Dear Dylan:

I don't even know anymore. A lot. And they all seemed good to me at the time I was writing them. But if I didn't proceed forward to writing the script, then I probably received a flat, uninterested response from the treatment. Anyway, I'm glad you've enjoyed some of them. It's nice having a place to post them, as opposed to just collecting dust in my files.

Josh

Name: Freddy
E-mail:

Josh,

Way to go! I knew you would be honest. I sure wish you were a politian. You would definitely have my vote. Best of luck to you on your upcoming film.

Cheers mate,
Freddy

Dear Freddy:

Okay, I hold you to that when I run in 2012. My platform includes: the legalization of marijuana, the banning of the use of the word God in all government speeches and functions, full equality for gays and lesbians, term limits on Supreme Court justices, health care for everyone, not only tax incentives but legitimate kick-backs and freebies for companies that stay in the USA and hire American workers, promote hybrid cars and base car registration prices on gas milage, impose clear-cutting, replanting, and run-off laws on logging on private land, and a flat 15% income tax on everyone.

Josh

Name: Freddy
E-mail:

Josh,

I love your no-bullshit attitude, and would be very interested in knowing what you honestly think about Bush's actions on the subject of same-sex marriage? Also, just your opinion in general on the subject would be great to hear. :-)

Dear Freddy:

I find them deeply offensive. As Ted Kennedy said, Bush is the first president to try and put bigotry into the constitution. America is the land of equality, not just for heterosexuals and not just for Christians or other religious people, it's also the land of equality for homosexuals, Athiests, and Agnostics. Without the religious argument to back them up, Bush and all the other homophobic bigots have nowhere to stand. And since one of the basic foundations of our country is the seperation of church and state, all religious arguments in this case are moot. What these religious fundamentalists will not accept, which does make them bigots and does make them stupid, is that 10% of the world's population is homosexual and always has been. Just like there are X% of redheads and X% of left-handed people. But here in America nobody should be descriminated against. This is just one more example of how religion is the basis of evil. Hiding behind their false Gods, religious people want to descriminate against anyone who is not like them, because they are under the evil delusion that God is on their side, that they're book of mythology is "the word of God," and that everybody else's beliefs are profane and blasphemous. I think that GW Bush is an evil man, and I also believe that all religious people are imps of Satan.

Josh

Name: diane gray
E-mail: dianegray@att.net

Hi Josh,

I am a fan of your writing. And was hoping you would have a moment to answer a general question about treatments (I am currently finishing one). Do you believe they are necessary to sell a script? I have read several times that they are a waste of time & don't bother writing them. Since I live in Pittsburgh, I'm not around many who know this answer. Thank you for time.
Warmly,
Diane

Dear Diane:

I write a treatment for every single one of my stories, and then decide whether or not I'll develop it into a screenplay. A treatment is a step along the way. Let's face it, if you can't get 12-14 pages out of the idea, how do you expect to get 120 pages? I think they're absolutely necessary, like a blueprint before building a house.

Josh

Name: Bird Jenkins
E-mail: bird@jjandbird.com

Howdy, Josh. I watched the Spencer Tracy version of CAPTAINS COURAGEOUS on TCM this morning, and boy, what a great movie. I can't remember if I read it on your site or if someone else was telling me, but I remember hearing about some kind of homosexual subtext in the film, specifically in the relationship between Spencer Tracy and Freddie Bartholomew, the boy. Spencer Tracy's Manuel calls him "Leetle Fish," and they're sailors and all, but was there more? Perhaps the book was more gay? Do you have any idea what I'm talking about?

Also, I happened to watch that bastard Clooney's piece of crap THE PERFECT STORM about a week ago, and I noticed that the fishermen in CAPTAINS COURAGEOUS were from the same town as the fishermen in the Clooney film: Gloucester, Massachusetts. I say this only because the actors in CC seemed so much more believable as rough and rugged sailors than Clooney, Wahlberg, and the gang from PERFECT STORM, and they're supposed to be men of the same ilk. Got me thinking... I know you hate remakes with every fiber of your being, but just for kicks and giggles, humor a fool here and tell the Birdman who YOU would cast if remaking CAPTAINS COURAGEOUS was your charge. Assume it's a giant budget and you could get anyone. Seriously, just a couple names of who you think would be good modern day counterparts for Tracy, Bartholomew, Barrymore, Rooney, etc.

Something tells me Frankie Muniz won't be on your short list.


Your friend,
Bird

Dear Bird:

You heard about the film here, it was me saying how much I liked it. I don't think there is a homosexual subtext, but one can read that into almost anything if one cares to see it that way. I absolutely won't think about the casting of a remake.

Josh

Name: Mike
E-mail: crashpix at yahoo _ com

Hi Josh,

First, yet more congratulations on your upcoming Sci-Fi project. I'm glad to hear that they seem to treating you and your work with some respect. Looking forward to seeing the end product!

I just wanted to follow up on Bob's question about SAG actors. I know people who shot indie projects which qualified as "experimental" (which means the budget is less than $75,000, or something). My limited understanding is that this allows you to hire both SAG and non-SAG actors for a production, but he SAG cast must be paid a certain percentage of the net, and some sort of payment up front. If one were to do this, would you be limited to shooting the SAG actors only X hours per day, and all the other labor rules, while working your non-SAG actors longer hours? I guess I'm just asking if you can clarify what sorts of limitations are placed on working with SAG actors, and the whole "experimental" class of film.

A while ago you were talking about doing a DV or HD horror feature - would you have used the experimental clasification, or just shot non-union?

Again, congratulations, and have a great week,

Mike

Dear Mike:

I've never used the experimental classification, it's got weird limitations. But when you use SAG actors you must follow SAG rules, which means you have to break on time for meals or you get meal penalties, and if you go into overtime, then you pay time and a half for two hours, then double-time then next two, etc. And you have to keep proper records so SAG can see that you followed the rules, which means having someone like a 2nd AD keeping track of everything. And whenever I've worked with SAG actors I've had to put their entire fees up in front. It's complicated.

Josh

Name: Melanie
E-mail: BuhintheWuh@aol.com

Dear Josh:

I'm just so curious about your standpoint on this movie....Didn't you see the good in it at all?? Or were you so caught up on little mindless details that you just decided right then and there not to like it? I mean, this movie was a major turning point. I would really like to see somebody like you try and write a better script, direct it, and act in it - YOU WOULDN'T BE ABLE TO DO SHIT.

Dear Melanie:

All of that may well be true, but what movie are you talking about?

Josh

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

Dear Josh,

Yeah I totally agree that Lucy was great as Lysia! I thought maybe she also tried out for the role of Hippolyta, I think I read that somewhere, but I think it said that the studio or people in charge got cold feet because she was a New Zealand actress. So I was just thinking, even though she was great as Lysia, she would have made a great Hippolyta as well. I was also kind of thinking to myself maybe the try-out material included the scene where Hercules is supposed to wash Hippolyta's feet, and you know if Lucy tried out for that that would have been hot feet you know!

So anyway, do you think that due to the success of Xena with Lucy, your work on it, and everybody else involved, that studios are less reluctant these days to cast New Zealand actors in major roles? I think that would be a terrific accomplishment as well.

Thanks,

John

Dear John:

I don't know if Lucy ever read for the lead Amazon part, but she never had a chance at it. But whether or not the actress playing the part was American meant nothing to anyone. It went to Roma Downey and she's Irish. And let's face it, foreign actors seem to get quite a few American parts these days, like Nicole Kidman and Jude Law in "Cold Mountain," or Anthony Hopkins and Nicole Kidman in "The Human Stain," or Russell Crowe or Naomi Watts or Colin Farrell, etc. I don't think anyone in Hollywood gives a shit where actors are from, but they should. I am constantly thinking when I see any of these foreign actors playing Americans, "Is there a shortage of American actors these days?"

Josh

Name: Manny
E-mail: mannyw@hotmail.com

Josh,

Will Lucy be starring in your new SciFi venture? Did you think of offering a part to Renee O'Connor? Are you producing the film as well as directing? Will you be editing?

Love your work,
Manny

Dear Manny:

I offered it to her (Lucy), but she turned it down. I think she may have some bigger irons in the fire. I don't have a part for Renee, but I'd love to work with her again at some point in the future. I am not producing the film, and I'll get to do a director's cut, but the producer's cut is, as always in TV, the final one.

Josh

Name: Bob
E-mail:

Hi Josh,

What do you think was the most beneficial experience you gained working on "Xena"? And, with all of your years of experience, is it better to have a sales rep or an agent?

Best,
Bob

Dear Bob:

The most beneficial aspect of working in TV was the ability it instilled in me to not panic under any circumstances, to never get angry on the set, and to handle whatever was thrown at me. Also, and this comes back frequently as a life-lesson, as a TV director you are never allowed to make excuses about anything. As the director you are given a schedule to shoot between 5 1/2 and 7 pages of script a day, and you simply get them under all circumstances: rain, sleet, hail, unprepared actors, asshole crew members, broken equipment, last- minute rewrites, not being able to get to your location, whatever it is you deal with it, and you can't make excuses afterward. As the director it is 100% your responsibility, end of story. Meanwhile, there are different sorts of agents out there. A sales agent (or rep) is completely different than a talent agent. Sales agents are ostensibly trying to sell your film to distributors and broadcasters; a talent agent is ostensibly trying to get you a job. But basically agents of any sort are very difficult to deal with.

Josh

Name: Bob
E-mail:

Hi Josh,

Is it true that if you want to hire SAG actors you must become a SAG signatory and must abide by the union rules? Do you think an independent director should go through the hassle?

Thanks!

Dear Bob:

Yes, that's true. Is it worth it? Only if you want to work with experienced, possibly name actors. I went SAG on two of my four films, and those are the two that sold the best. Coincidence? I don't think so.

Josh

Name: Bob
E-mail:

Josh,

I am not sure that the fact that the US does not nationally have civil union legislation, in itself makes America a backwards country because it creates inequality. The civil union concept is a relatively new one, and it shouldn't be surprising that is it still going through a debate phase. Many countries that are much more socially progressive than the US do not, as far as I know, do not have civil union legislation. This would include most of Europe, with the exception of the Netherlands, Belgium, and Denmark and maybe a couple of others. On the other hand most of the developed countries are able to provide guaranteed health coverage, which, despite the beliefs of many in the US, I think given the population and demographic differences between the US and other developed countries, may have become an impossibility now in the US. It may have been possible in 1960, but I suspect that America's decline may have made such a benefit an economic impossibility.

So what does America stand for? I think part of the problem is that the politicians and political parties, especially currently George Bush, still profess this American myth, that the US is the freest, richest, and most prosperous country on Earth. None of these things are true and politicians should just tell us that none of these things ever will be true. America is not the freest country on Earth. On the right most people are under the control of their employers and corporations. Not much freedom to think there. On the left we have political correctness ready to pounce on every thought and opinion. Add to that Homeland Security, which is here to stay, and where is the freedom or dignity. As far as being the richest and most prosperous, maybe in an aggregate sense, but on a per capita basis, even Canada is ahead of the US, and most of Europe as well. Opportunity does not really exist to any great extent, as compared to some of these other countries where education and training do make a difference.

So what do I think America is? It's a place for the lowest of the world to try to get to and make a new start. For the people who are born here, it's better off than places like Rwanda, but there is no point in people deluding themselves into believing you hit the jackpot by being born here and that your part of the freest, richest place going. That's all America ever was. It was never about providing the most equality, or the most opportunity, or any of that. It is what it is, and it's about time that the politicians level with the people about it.

However, replacing George Bush in Nov. would be an improvement regardless of the circumstances.

Dear Bob:

Yes, replacing Bush will be an excellent start. This idea that the economy is in good shape is complete nonsense. The truth is that it seems to have hit bottom and is coming back up for a moment. The USA is an example of capitalism and free trade gone crazy. We demand products as cheap as humanly possible, but we are aghast that jobs are leaving. You can't have Wal-Mart and Costco selling rock-bottom, cheap-shit products from China and Malaysia and also wonder why there are no manufacturing jobs. The only other choice is to impose cultural and political restrictions on trade, like we don't do business with fascist dictatorships that use slave labor, like, say, China. But all this crap about retraining for higher-tech jobs isn't going to mean anything for ten or twenty years, which means we here right now are going keep losing jobs steadily, unless we reexamine just what the bottom-line actually is. Is it our way of life, or is strictly cheap products?

Josh

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

Hey Josh, I have a question about structure.
According to your first essay on structure, unless I'm misinterpreting it, you're saying that all of the main characters in the film have to be introduced in Act 1. Fair enough, but what constitutes an introduction? Does that mean that the character actually has to appear on screen and deliver lines within the first act? Or does one of the other characters mentioning the character count as an introduction? In other words, does it count as an introduction if a character says something like: "Hey, stay away from Elias Pinchley because he's evil." or does the character have to show up and say something like: "Hi! I'm Elias Pinchley and I'm evil!"? Thanks for your time.

Dear Ben:

I think making reference to a character counts as an introduction, along the lines of say, "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance," where we don't actually meet Liberty Valance until the end of Act I, but we've certainly heard about him before that. In the last script I wrote, "Head Shot," about the JFK assassination, you don't meet Lee Harvey Oswald until Act II, which could be a mistake. Ultimately, I think it's a better idea to actually meet all of the lead characters in person in Act I.

Josh

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

Dear Josh,

Thanks for your response. I'm sorry you had a hard time working on the Hercules films, I didn't know about that. On the bright side, they all turned out great in my opinion.

I'm glad to hear you and Lucy hit it off on "Amazon Women" and that she helped you to work on Xena, that's very nice and she is totally fantastic and awesome. I read that part on your site where you mention that you did a Ricky Ricardo impression for her from Lucille Ball's show, that was funny. I'm also glad that you advocated her for the Xena part, she's so stunningly beautiful and gorgeous and talented, I can't imagine that anyone else would have been so successful in the part. I would ask though that I heard that she was originally supposed to play Hippolyta in "Amazon Women", what happened to that? Do you remember about that and if she had filmed any scenes as Hippolyta?

I thought she was totally great as Lysia anyway!

Thanks,

John

Dear John:

They might have considered Lucy for another part, but she was never cast in it. She was great as Lysia, though.

Josh

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

Josh,

I suspect that history will eventually show that the Bush' evaluation of pre-war intelligence was fairly accurate but did not fit the administration's objectives. I think that goes beyond "sexing up" and into "ignoring the obvious".

I, too, admire TR but I personally doubt that he or his methods would work well today. He operated a bit too much from the noblesse oblige for the internet age. LBJ had much in common with TR, I've always thought, but lacked TR's ability to adapt to changing situations, and TR's dynamic personality. Still, both worked behind the scenes better than in front, and both had strong social agenda.

Going back to an old subject, the development of digital films, I just read that Renee O'Connor either is now or has just finished filming a digital film down in Texas. My gut reaction was, "Great, but no one'll ever see it." Still, I was happy to hear that she's still involved.

It is a laugh about SciFi and the term "Alien". I think about how they would rename clsasic science fiction films; "Invasion of the Alien Body Snatchers" (No Alien is Safe!) or "The Alien Thing". It makes you want to go up and, good-naturedly of course, slap some junior executives silly.

You should post both script versions of "Humans In Chains" after the film gets completed; maybe with a link to your "Monsterization" essay (if appropriate).
Thanks as always,

John

Dear John:

Knock on wood, I'm not getting monsterized on this one. Sci-Fi just wanted some more aliens and more FX, which does make sense because there's a 30-page stretch without them, and on a basic, narrative level, you can't lose the other side of your drama for for a half hour. Bruce wants a few changes on a character set-up level, which I completely agree with, too. I'll end up cutting a few scenes due to time and budget restrictions, but really, I'm not fighting the monsterization battle this time. And you can't blame Sci-Fi for the title change, even if it's a title they like, because it was my sales agent that changed it, and quite frankly, I think it helped the deal.

Meanwhile, regarding TR, I'm not sure I understand what you mean about "He operated a bit too much from the noblesse oblige for the internet age." He was certainly of the upper-class, and he absolutely felt that he had responsibilities to the common folk. But he was very forceful and effective both behind and in front of the scenes. TR was very much the JFK of his day (except younger), and really galvanized the country into believing they were moving into a new, modern age. He was the very first president to make any move regarding civil rights, and had Booker T. Washington to the White House for dinner, the first black man to ever dine there, a few weeks after he became president. He did a highly amusing thing, regarding civil rights, to a little town I believe was in Indiana. They had a black woman as their postmaster, who had been doing the job for 20 years, then the white populace got a bug up their asses and ran her out of town. TR heard about it, and said, fine, you don't have to have a black woman as your postmaster, you just won't have a post office, and shut it down. They then had to go about 25 miles to the next town to mail a letter. TR was the first president to bring up and enact enviornmental and conservation laws, and were it not for him the entire national park system would be about 75% smaller. But more than anything else, he attacked the trusts, the giant conglomerates, and effectively broke them up. And that lasted more than 80 years, until now. TR got into office the same way as LBJ, as Vice-president when the president was killed, but TR had his own agenda, which LBJ didn't. Everything TR did was of his own device, he wasn't just pushing McKinnley's programs through, as LBJ was was with JFK's programs. TR didn't get us into a war, negotiated a important peace treaty between two major powers, forced the Panama Canal Treaty through, which greatly improved shipping for the entire world, as well as causing Panama to becaome a country. TR basically took on his own party, the Republicans, and almost everything he did they were against. He was loaded with anomolies, like he was a great conservationist, but loved killing animals. He was very pro-war, but avoided getting the U.S. into a war. He was the most active president ever, constantly going on hunting, fishing, and camping trips, but was also the most prolific president ever, having written 28 books. He was also the youngest president ever. He deserves to be on Mt. Rushmore.

Josh

Name: mike kalweit
E-mail: mikekalweit@hotmail.com

Dear Josh:

My mom told me hwen I was a boy that my grandfather, who was a New York City Police Captain was part of the team that captured two gun crowley. I never heard of him an dismissed it as being A Fairy tail.

I remember my mom telling me my grand father Flannery was chasing two guy crowley and he began to shoot at my grandfather's police car. the bulletes smashed the windshield and narrowly missed killing him and his other police officers. my grandfather was a lieutenant on the vice squad. I glade to see two gun was a real man and the story my mom told me was true.

Dear Mike:

It's terrible to doubt one's own mother, so I'm glad I could help bring trust back into your relationship.

Josh

Name: Blake Eckard
E-mail:

Josh,

Yeah, I must say I really like "Lifeforce." I always found it to be a really fun scifi invasion saga in the vein of all those wacky "mars attacks" sort of films from the 50's.

On the "Poltergeist," directorial conspiracy (one of my favorite Hollywood dark stories)...It's well known that Spielberg was dead set from the beginning in securing a PG rating. Acording to some, Hooper's handling of the material was far darker and and more graphic than Spielberg wanted. Ultimately, Spielberg took his powers as Producer into the situation and restrained Hooper. Perhaps not being able to do things the way he wanted was reason certain crew members began speaking, in not so hushed voices, that Spielberg was running the show. But, the biggest factor was when visitors from the press came to visit the shoot early in production...Spielberg shot 2nd unit and was in front with a small dolly and several technicians filming the remote controll cars that open the film. Hooper was in back with the main crew shooting the scene with the mom and two kids burying "tweedy" the bird. The press, who never interviewed anyone but Spielberg, saw him with the camera, with nobody else around and boom, the story had started... As months went by, the story swelled and then the week of the premiere, Variety ran a front page story which read "Tobe or not Tobe." The allegations of Spielberg overriding Hooper grew to such a degree that ultimately an investigation was ushered in by the DGA. So it does seem that there certainly was some sort of conflict, although Hooper later directed episodes of both "Amazing Stories," and "Taken," for creator and executive producor Spielberg.

It's interesting to note that during this time the entire cast stood behind Hooper and not Spielberg and Marshall who at this point had taken center stage with the media and really brough the matter much more publicity than Hooper needed. Interestingly enough, Frank Marshall has since said that "Poltergeist was Tobe Hooper's film all the way." He also sighted that Spielberg wasn't even on set the entire time, he had left to go shoot "E.T." durring the end of "Poltergeist's" production.

At any rate, it's definately an interesting story...And of course you're right. Tobe Hooper hasn't made a good film since 1985, but I really admire most of his films up to that point.

Have a good one.

Blake

Dear Blake:

That's why I asked Matt Leonetti when I worked with him on a commercial here in Detroit, not too terribly long after "Poltergeist" came out. Meanwhile, Bruce Campbell and I saw "Poltergeist" and "E.T." within one day of each other, and we both predicted very professionally that "Poltergeist," the far superior film, would do way more business than "E.T.," which was just okay.

Josh

Name: Blake Eckard
E-mail:

Josh,

It's really great to hear you'll be shooting "Alien Apocalypse," in 2.35:1 aspect ratio. That's just terrific. My two most favorite widescreen scifi/horror films of all time...Ridley Scott's "Alien," and Tobe Hooper's "Lifeforce." Just terrific scifi in both pictures, and great photography...Even though Scott and Hooper haven't made any good films of late, I really admire their early works...Scott as a strange visualist and Hooper as an intense sort of contemporary Hitchcock.

Anyway, should you have any updates on your film, please let us all know.

Have a good one.

Blake

Dear Blake:

"Lifeforce," eh? That still stands as one of the most miserable movie-going experiences of my life. It really seemed totally and utterly awful. And we see where Mr. Hooper's career went after it. I think he shot his wad completely with "Texas Chainsaw Massacre." I worked with the DP Matthew Leonetti, who shot "Poltergeist," and I asked him who actually directed the film, since it certainly doesn't look or feel like a Tobe Hooper movie. He replied, "Spielberg did." Apparently, Hooper freaked-out and wouldn't make any decisions, so Spielberg came in and did it himself, which is what it looks like to me.

Josh

Name: Bird Jenkins
E-mail: bird@jjandbird.com

Howdy, Josh.

Ignorant about history, eh? Everything I've ever read says that TR was more proactive than just about anyone in getting support to go to war with Spain. I assume you think he's free and clear because he didn't become president until a few short years later, but to say he "had nothing to do with it" is ridiculous. He was a top dog in the Navy, and it was the sinking of the Maine that started the war! He was from a hugely wealthy and influential family (like Bush) and he was a war monger if ever there was one. According to TR, McKinley had "a backbone like an eclair" for not wanting war, and it wasn't until outside pressures forced him that the president supported war with Spain. An excerpt from militaryhistoryonline:

"News of the sinking of the Maine rapidly spread throughout the United States. An official Navy inquiry came to the controversial conclusion that a submarine mine must have caused the explosion that doomed the now-famous ship, ignoring or discounting other evidence that suggested less sinister reasons for the loss of the battleship. The American press soon pinpointed the blame for the mine directly on Spain. Public outrage began to increase as the phrase, 'Remember the Maine!,' became a popular rallying cry for all those demanding immediate action.

At the time of the sinking of the Maine, Theodore Roosevelt was the assistant Secretary of the Navy in Washington. Already an advocate of war with Spain, Roosevelt began a public campaign to promote war efforts, and to rally the American people to his political views. While personally promoting these war efforts, Roosevelt began to prepare the Navy for an upcoming war with Spain. Influenced by the growing public outrage and by other pro-war politicians, U. S. President William McKinley on April 24, 1898 declared war on Spain. Believing so strongly in the intervention cause, Roosevelt resigned from his political post and joined the military to advance his personal views."

End of excerpt.

As for Al Sharpton for president, I think the inherent problem with democracy is that most people are stupid, so in a true democracy, dumb decisions are constantly being made. A candidate isn't elected for any number of lame and arbitrary reasons: too short, too bald, seems crazy when he makes concession speeches, and yes, because of race. There's only been one non-protestant president for pete's sake. Black make up, what, 12% of the population? Why is it so hard to understand why we haven't had one as president yet? Out of that 12%, half of those don't vote. There's never been a hispanic president, and they're a bigger minority. There's never been an Asian president, and they are by far the wealthiest and most educated of any other minority group in America. Hell, a Greek couldn't even get elected. The simple fact is, I can't think of too many Blacks who are positioned for the job, with the exception of Colin Powell, who I'm sure you think is an asshole (I think Powell would be elected if he were to run, but apparently he never will because his wife has mental problems). No matter how you slice it, Al Sharpton is not the man for the job. I don't think being "forward thinking" has much to do with it. Of course there are people who would or would not vote for someone solely because of his race. But most people simply don't feel Al Sharpton represents them or their interests, and that is why they won't vote for him. In the final analysis, Bush's National Security Advisor, Condoleezza Rice, is a Black woman. The Secretary of the State is Black. The race card is lame and it doesn't have a place in this country if we're ever to move on from such pettiness.


Sorry for the length. Although we disagree, I remain

Your friend,
Bird

Dear Bird:

You're absolutely correct that TR was totally for war, but he didn't cause it, and at that point in his career, no one really knew who he was. TR didn't really become known until after the Spanish-American War. Even though he was very eager to get into a war with Spain in 1898, he didn't get America into any wars during his two terms as president. As a matter of fact, he negotiated the peace between Japan and Russia and won the Nobel Peace Prize. The great irony of his life, I think, was that he wasn't president during WWI, but was so pro-war that his sons went off to fight, one of them was killed, and he never got over it. Nevertheless, he wa still one of our greatest presidents.

As for Al Sharpton, I think you're correct in saying he doesn't represent most American's mindset, nor does Dennis Kucinich, but I like both of them the best because they're both looking for the most changes, and I think change is good. I think we're stuck in a cultural and sociological rut and we need to be shaken out of it. Always happy to hear your opinions and comments.

Josh

Name: Reggie
E-mail:

Hey Josh,

It's been a while. That's great that you're doing "Alien Apocalypse" (what a piss awful title, compared to "Humans In Chains").

Anyway, I was wondering what the difference is between regular movie lights and HMI's.

Thanks,
Reggie

Dear Reggie:

Regular, incandescent movie lights are 3200 Kelvin, meaning they're very orange. HMIs give off daylight, or 5600 Kelvin, which is much more blue. HMIs are also much more powerful. When you see those beams of light coming through windows, those are HMIs, with a little fog in the air.

Josh

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

Dear Josh,

How's it going? It's great to drop by again, it's been a while. Anyway, I was wondering, what was it like to direct Hercules in the Maze of the Minotaur? And what are your thoughts or reflections on the Hercules telefilms in general? I personally thought they were awesome.

Thanks,

John

Dear John:

Working on those Hercules films was one of the worst experiences of my life. Directing "Minotaur" was probably the single worst experience of my life. I worked on three of the five films, two as 2nd unit director, "Amazon Women" and "Underworld," and then I directed "Minotaur." The director of "Amazon Women" and "Underworld" had absolutely no idea how to use a 2nd unit, and since "Amazon Women" was the very first film shot, I got boned by the idiot and had to wait until he fucked up and didn't get things before I was allowed to work. Also, they foolishly had hired the 2nd unit DP as the main unit Steadi-Cam operator, so anytime he had to run the Steadi-Cam on main unit, which was often, the 2nd unit had to stop working. I literally spent months sitting around with nothing to do, but was still expected to be on the main unit set all of the time. I began reading very long books, but I got called on the carpet for that and had to stop reading, too. So I just sat there smoking. When I finally did get some sequences to shoot, the director would then pull me aside and ream me out saying he hated every single shot I'd gotten. Finally, on "Underworld," the director completely wigged-out and left the country before the film was completed, so I got to finish it, which was great. But worst of all, I knew that I was slated to direct the fifth of the five films, but no one had informed the crew that there were five films, so they all thought there were only four. There was a big blackboard on the wall of the office that had the first four films listed, but no fifth film. Anytime I mentioned that I was the main unit director on the fifth film, everyone thought I was insane -- literally. Halfway through the fourth film everyone was finally informed that there actually was a fifth film, which would then cause them all to have to work an extra month, thus ruining their vacation plans, and who was the scapegoat? Me, of course. The crew on "Minotaur" was the crabbiest most prickily crew I've ever worked with. Everybody was snotty to everybody else, and the very sweet script supervisor ended up bursting into tears and running off the set a few times. The only folks that had their shit together on that shoot were the cast, particularly Kevin Sorbo and Michael Hurst, who were professional, upbeat, and a joy to work with. Were it up to me I would have taken a crowbar to the knees of the shit-head DP, camera operator (still ranking as the biggest prick I've ever worked with), the 1st AC (the 2nd biggest prick I've ever worked with), and the boom operator. If that shoot had been in the USA and I was the producer, I would have fired those assholes so fast their heads would've spun. And since all of this rancor and bitterness was all blamed on me, I never got to work on the Hercules TV series. Luckily for me, Lucy Lawless and I hit it off on "Amazon Women," and since I was one of the biggest advocates for giving Lucy the part of Xena, she requested that I work on Xena, and I found a home for six seasons. Thank you Lucy.

Josh

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

Dear Josh:

in response to the "goose", you can join triggerstreet.com and submit a feature length script to be reviewed for free after reviewing 2 other peoples. there is alot of crap and petty reviews but i posted a few of my short films on there and so far 200 people have seen them in total and thats 200 that would have never seen them otherwise.

josh, hope all is going well with "humans in chains" or whatever they are calling it over at sci fi. keep us updated!

dustin

Dear Dustin:

It's now called "Alien Apocalypse," since Sci-Fi loves having the word alien in their titles (last week two of their original films were: "Alien Fury" and "Alien Lockout"). Thanks for answering The Goose seriously since I was just being a creep.

Josh

Name: Bird Jenkins
E-mail: bird@jjandbird.com

Howdy, Josh.

Been awhile. I know we're in an election year and you have strong political views, but your statements about Bush just expose you as the left wing ideologue that you are.

Yeah, we know that we were misled about WMD's in Iraq. Did the president himself know that the intelligence was faulty? Who knows. Some will give him the benefit of the doubt, while some will assume the worst, that he lied "for oil" or to exonerate his father's presidency. The bottom line is that it comes down to who you trust. Clearly, you do not trust our president. This is within your rights to have such an opinion, and I encourage the dissention, but I do find it a little suspect that you chose Teddy Roosevelt of all people to juxtapose with GW Bush. It is a known fact that he misled the American people, with the help of William Randolph Hearst, to pressure America into a war with Spain. A war that was neither neccessary nor noble. An opportunistic war that was sought for publicity and because it could be won easily, with only a few American casualties. How curious that your favorite American president is guilty of the same charges you make against GW Bush, in your words "the worst president" in recent memory. The only good republican is a dead one, I reckon.

Your side of the argument is also weakened when you start quoting the likes of Al Sharpton. That guy is perhaps the biggest son of a bitch under the sun, and his lousy, muckraking, divisive nature does nothing to help the conditions for Black folks. He doesn't give a shit either, because if racism disappeared tomorrow, that bastard wouldn't have a job or even a personality. To say someone lied "because he's a liar" is like saying someone killed "because he's a killer," it doesn't hold up. It sounds great to the people who have already made up their mind about the situation and fans some flames, but it does nothing to further our understanding of the situation. That guy just panders to the pissed and then basks in their applause.

The first time I wrote to you, I mentioned that I would be "lensing" a remake of the YOUNG GUNS story, and you replied that I should not use words like "lensing" because it makes me sound silly. This was honest, invaluable advice. I appreciate it. Now allow me to give you a piece of advice. When talking about politics, stop using these hot sound byte phrases like "sexing up" because it makes you sound like a parrot.

I remain

Your friend,
Bird

Dear Bird:

First of all, you need to read more history before getting on a public forum and displaying your ignorance. Teddy Roosevelt had nothing to do with the U.S. going to war with Spain. He was the Assistant Secretary of the Navy at the time, and immediately quit and formed the Rough Riders, of which he was second-in-command. TR was the most-decorated soldier in the Spanish-American War, but he had nothing to do with starting the war, he was just a soldier. That can be attributed a lot more accurately to William Randolph Hearst and his yellow journalism, and blaming the Spanish for the sinking of the battleship Maine, which they may have sunk, we still don't know. I'm not sure what the bug up your ass is about Al Sharpton, but I like the guy. He's very opinionated, passionate, well-spoken, and I agree with almost everyone of his stances. I think he's the most well-spoken of all the Democratic presidential candidates (which puts him miles ahead of the Republicans), and he's certainly the funniest. I just wish we lived in a country that was forward thinking enough to have a black man or woman as president. As it is, the U.S.A. still fumbling around like it's 1804 trying to decide who should have equality and who shouldn't, as though there's any rationality to that concept. Equality is for everyone: straight, gay, married, single, black, white, brown, or yellow. As long as we have politically powerful groups like the asshole Christian right, who think that "God's way" is deny part of our population its rights, we're still stuck in the dark ages. And me using the term "sexing up," is just quoting the British press, and so far it's the most accurate term for what Bush and co. did with the intelligence, which was not flawed, it was their assessment of it that was flawed.

Josh


BACK TO Main Archive Page

BACK TO Current Q&A




Click Here To Submit Your Questions or Comments



BECKERFILMS SITE MENU

[ Main ]  [ Film & TV Work ]  [ Screenplays ]  [ Old Stuff ]
[
Reviews ]  [ Articles, Essays & Stories ]  [ Ask the Director ] 
[
Favorite Films ]  [ Scrapbook ]  [ Links (& Afterword) ]  [ Web Team ]

This site is the property of Josh Becker Copyright © 2004 Panoramic Pictures, All Rights Reserved.
Panoramic Pictures Logo