Q & A    Archive
Page 116

Name: Paul
E-mail: chepogg@hotmail.com

Hey Josh,

I noticed you mentioned the popular cliche in believing making yourself unnatractive is good acting. What was your opinnion on that? Did you really believe Charlize deserved all of those awards? (I personally hate it when that happens, I believe her performance was hugely overrated and also believed Naomi Watts was the one who should have gotten all that recognition, but then again, I never agree with the academy anyway).

Also, I recenlty heard (and agreed) that a film is harmed when it casts celebrities (wether they are talented or not) because you know them so well. You can never see them as the character they are playing, but as the person they are in real life, which makes it harder to get inside the story. (This happens more with celebrities that have been praised too much, For example: I've noticed how everytime someone comments on a Sean Penn movie, they always note on how good or bad his acting was, but rarely comment on how good or bad the story was, mainly because they never got it....and why? because they were paying too much attention to his performance rather than the story itself. Do you agree to that statement? (I'm not saying this happens EVERYTIME, but often enough,)

Dear Paul:

I haven't seen "Monster" yet so I can't comment, but Nicole Kidman's unattractive performance in "The Hours" was a big nothing. It was a top-rate nose appliance, though. And other than "Fast Times at Ridgemost High," I don't think Sean Penn has ever made a good movie, and I've never thought we has all that great of an actor. For "Mystic River" he should have been given the Wallace Beery Over-acting Award. Sean Penn's performance in that film was the biggest condemnation of Clint Eastwood's one-take style ever. After each one of those takes a good director would have whispered to Penn, "Could you please bring it down a bit?"

Josh

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

Dear Josh:

Geez, 18 days for a 90 minute film? That seems difficult, to say the least. Your AD has a hell of a job on this movie. By the way, how much do you oversee on a cable movie? I would think that on a something you are independently producing, you would be involved in all departments. But on Alien Apocalypse, for example, would you be overseeing production design, having meetings with everyone in the art department, with sound, DP, etc. in order to get everyone on the same page? Or does the producer handle that?

Jim

Dear Jim:

No, that's the director's job. It's my responsibility to get every department making the same film as me, so I have to convey my vision of the story to everyone. That's why I've decided to entirely storyboard this film, since I've never worked with these people before and I'm not sure what they're capable of, I want them all to plainly see what I'm envisioning. And getting this film shot in 18-days has a lot more to do with my preparations, then with the 1st AD's schedule.

Josh

Name: Nick
E-mail: nichlas03@sbcglobal.net

Hey Josh, it's great to hear there'll be another movie of yours coming out - and with built-in distribution too! Do you plan on some more exclusive Becker rants and behind-the-scenes stuff like you did for Running Time in the articles section? I like reading that stuff.

Also, what do you think is the most successful novel adaptation film? I really like the original "All Quiet on the Western Front", and think it really captured the mood and feel of the book. It still stands up as one of my all-time favorite war movies.

Oh and one more thing: what books do you recommend to learn more about Dan Daly, from your screenplay "Battle at Belleau Wood"?

- Nick

Dear Nick:

I'd suppose the most successful adaptation of a novel to film was "Gone With the Wind," on a purely monetary level. I do like "All Quiet," but it's kind of a stilted, early talkie, and all of the performances, particularly the teacher, are completely over-the-top. Lewis Milestone was a top-notch director, though, and seemed most at home with war films. I also like "A Walk in the Sun" and "Pork Chop Hill."

Regarding a behind-the-scenes essay on "Alien Apocalypse," let's just see what happens first. But I probably will, once the smoke has cleared.

I was only able to find one book specifically about the battle at Belleau Wood, called "At Belleau Wood," by a writer, I believe, named Asprey. There's very little written about that battle or Sgt. Dan Daly. The most information I got, which still wasn't all that much, was from an article in the old Marine Corps magazine, Leatheneck. Most every history of WWI makes a reference to the battle, but most give precious few details.

Josh

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

Josh,

Two things: You're saying that you try to shoot it all-in-one if you can, which I think is great as far as the actors goes. But I would think that visually, particularly as far as lighting goes, you are limiting yourself by trying to do it all in one shoot. You're pretty much stuck with the actors and the camera in a limited number of positions without a new lighting setup. I'm not a big fan of covering a scene from tons of angles, I think that's stupid. But I can rarely think of a scene that would work best done all in one take. That seems very theatrical to me. And secondly, on the same topic, what do you think about using steadicams? Do you find that they allow you to get more accomplished on the set in less time? I'm not a huge fan of the steadicam look, but I do think that it is great if you're trying to accomplish alot in a very few number of shots. I'm not a big fan of dolly setups or using lots of jibs and stuff like that. For a big shot, they're fine. But I know alot of people that love using them for shooting an entire scene, but for me, locking the camera down and spending hours setting dolly tracks and perfectly blocking everything ends up killing the energy more than anything else.

Jim

Dear Jim:

I assure you that I won't have hours to shoot any shot. Shooting this script in 18-days is going to be a feat, and there will be no dawdling. I use different equipment for different purposes, although I'd say I shoot off the dolly at least 50% of the time, although the camera isn't always moving, but the dolly is just a handy, mobile place to keep the camera. A good crew, and I don't know if that's what I'll have, can lay as much dolly track as you could ever want in no time. The crew down in NZ could quickly lay track anywhere, including from the beach right out into the water, keeping the track at water level. Let's face it, laying dolly track is not nuclear physics. I prefer doing camera moves on the dolly because they're smooth and locked off. But there are many instances when a Steadi-Cam will achieve the camera move much quicker and easier, particularly when you're shooting back on someone or something moving toward you where you would eventually reveal the dolly track. Also, Steadi-Cam is very handy for doing camera moves over severely uneven ground where laying track would be difficult or impossible. A jib-arm on a dolly will give you a good-looking up and down move without having to hassle with a crane, which is a royal pain in the ass and horrible time-sucker. I use zoom lenses, too. These are all the tools of the trade. The one thing I don't do much of is hand-held, which has a purpose, but for the most part just looks sloppy to me, and you can never achieve beautiful montage from hand-held shots.

Josh

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

Josh,

To follow up on the story board question; after you've drawn everything out, is that when you start adding up people? I mean, if you have a scene where "..the aliens bomb the square, the crowds go running." At what point do you decide how many people you will need to fill all of that type of scene and when you will schedule those scenes?

I also wondered about equipment. Do you use the cameras and equipment they (Sci/Fi) provide, do you give a list of what you need or is it less defined? Do you request a particular lighting rig, a model of boom mike, do you leave that to your department heads? I would think that, particularly in an overseas shoot, you would want to bring with you everything you might possibly need. A lot of what I have read on the subject is by independent guys on smaller scales who use what they can get their hands on, so I don't know how it works when you have more options.

Thanks,

John

Dear John:

All of the camera equipment will come from Rome, and has been ordered by the DP. I asked him about some specific pieces of equipment, like a zoom lens and a jib-arm, and he had already ordered them. One of the first things I did with the line producer a few weeks ago was to give him a list of how many extras I thought were needed per scene. How many I get will be a different story. The joke on Herc and Xena was, for the most part, you could ask for as many extras as you wanted, but you were still only getting ten. On "Lunatics," the 1st AD, John Cameron (Joel and Ethan Cohn's line producer, who just fully produced "Bad Santa"), would ask how many extras I saw in each scene, and no matter what I said, like, "I see 20 in this scene," he'd reply, "Uh-huh, five. How about the next scene?" "Well, I see 30 extras." John would nod and say, "Uh-huh, five." Anyhow, the 1st AD, who lives in Bulgaria, is doing the schedule right now.

Josh

Name: TJ
E-mail: dripper25@hotmail.com

Dear Josh:

Deer, Geese and Priests?
I thought this site was about film making and art?
Thought I'd say hey. And pass on a personal voucher for you having a low stress set. Which is, especially, uncommon on lower budgeted films.
Anyhoo, for nostalgic sake: What is your fondest or most memorable memory of LA?
T

Dear TJ:

I don't think of LA fondly. I feel like I pissed away 20 years of my life there. The highlight was probably the riots, when it seemed like the whole city might burn down, which seemed like a really good thing, except that I was sitting right in the middle of it. There's nothing like stepping out your front door and seeing squads of armed marines in Bradley troop transports going by.

Josh

Name: Paul
E-mail: chepogg@hotmail.com

Hey josh, I'm sure youv'e touched this subject before, but what did you think of Lost in Translation?? I honestly don't know what all those critics saw, sure, its a nice little small story about to lonely hearts.....but that certainly wasn't enough to keep me interested for an hour and forty minutes. And I am positive, that if it haldn't been directed by Francis Ford Coppola's daughter, no one would have noticed it. It was nice....a bit boring at times, and certainly not worth all that praise.

Dear Paul:

I haven't seen it yet, but it's coming soon to a TV near me (I ordered it from Netflix). I have absolutely no doubt that you're right. My friend Paul, who tries to be nice to most films (unlike, say, me), as we watched the Oscars when Sofia Coppola accepted her screenwriting award and she said that she wanted to thank those that helped her get past page twelve where she got stuck, Paul quipped, "That's all the script she had, twelve pages, everything else is filler." I'll let you know what I think when I see it. My hopes aren't high, however, since I saw "The Virgin Suicides," which was about nothing.

Josh

Name: Mike Marquardt
E-mail: radfahrer76@hotmail.com

Dear Josh:

That's quite a bit of overgeneralization you made in your comments about religion. You preach that people who do not subscribe to any religion are the "chosen people" and that religion breeds contempt. It's pretty ironic coming from this article that uses such angry and insulting language. You are lumping people who faithfully follow Christ's teachings to love one another together with those who say they follow his teachings and do another. If you know Christ's teachings you know he would condemn any violence and hate (including the hate you harbor for people you mention in your aticle). Yes, religion is exactly separation...separation from things that hurt people by thoughts, words, and actions. What's wrong with that? "Peace and goodwill toward others" comes straight from Luke, chapter 2. You'd make a great Christian. You would do well to learn a little more about that which you criticize. Be careful in making such sweeping generalizations.

Dear Mike:

Yeah? Fuck you and the prophet you rode in on. If you honestly think that Jesus Christ was the literal son of God, his progeny, then you are a moron.

Josh

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

Josh,

Before you direct a film like Alien Apocalypse, is there a particular process that you go through in order to properly visualize it? I know that you wrote the original script, but I was wondering if you try to find similar movies when you're doing storyboards, shot lists, and production design details. I've found that watching movies similar to my script is actually a bad thing, as I end up ripping off ideas. I mean, are you going through a variety of sci-fi/end of the world movies now? Or do you just feel confident in your visual ideas that you can work everything out in your head? Another thing I've done is gone through tons of magazines and websites to "find" pictures similar to the ones that are in my head. I find that this is more helpful than actually watching other films. I can work better off a still image than a moving one.

Jim

Dear Jim:

I'm very busily storyboarding the entire film right now. I've already boarded all of the FX scenes. So far I've drawn over 350 drawings, and I've probably got another 300 to go. But I don't look at anything except the script. I honestly don't care how anyone else shoots things. I read the scene several times, then think, "What would be the easiest way to shoot this?" Meaning, can this scene be covered in one shot? If not, then what other shots do I need to convey the sense of the scene? With most higher-budget feature films, where you have between 45-100 days of shooting, you can literally cover the piss out of a scene, shooting it from a hundred different angles (like Spielberg does now), but I think that's far from the best way to shoot a scene. In TV, where a big part of the director's job is to be the expediter, it's very important to have figured out the simplest way to shoot the scene, which frequently gives the actors the most freedom, and gives you the most freshness and spontaneity. If you keep shooting a scene over and over from different angles, you will assuredly kill the energy of the scene. So, shooting simply is actually a very good thing, I think. Whatever directorial influences are already in my head, and there are many, I don't need to look for any more now.

Josh

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

Josh, in my film class, we recently had the pleasure of watching Hitchcock's Rear Window. I hadn't seen any Hitchcock films, and pretty much the only exposure I'd had to him was watching Alfred Hitchcock Presents on Nick At Nite. I definitely need to see more of his work, though. Anyway, our teacher compared and contrasted Rear Window with Brian De Palma's film Body Double. After watching a scene from Body Double, it's clear Rear Window is far superior. Where Rear Window is subtle, Body Double is obvious. Where the acting in Rear Window is crisp and, for lack of a better word, good, the acting in Body Double is ridiculous. (Although, I did find Grace Kelly's acting in Rear Window to be a little wooden. But not everyone must agree with that, she did win Best Actress, after all.) Anyway, I'm glad I saw the Hitchcock version and not the version with Christopher Reeve. Your thoughts on Rear Window? Your thoughts on Grace Kelly's acting in Rear Window?

Dear Ben:

Yeah, but Grace Kelly didn't win Best Actress for "Rear Window," she won for "The Country Girl," where she made herself very frumpy and unattractive, just like Charlize Theron this year, and Nicole Kidman last year. The Academy members are always bowled over when an attractive girl makes herself unattractive. Anyway, Grace Kelly wasn't a great actress, she was a model. But "Rear Window" is indeed a great movie. Brian DePalma only wishes he was Hitchcock on his worst day. They shouldn't be spoken of in the same breath.

Josh

Name: Blue Pilot
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

After living in Hollywood for several years, what do you think of most actors out there? Are they depraved? Did you ever attend any rowdy parties? Any great stories, gossip?

Dear Blue Pilot:

I lived in LA for about 20 years, with a few years off for good behavior, between 1976 and 2001. As God is my witness I'll never live there again, although I'll certainly visit now and then. But I was never part of a star-studded Hollywood scene. Besides, everyone is way too paranoid out there to actually throw a good party. Nevertheless, there were a few good parties over that many years. Sam Raimi and his then girlfriend, Lisa Henson, who lived directly across the street from him, threw a great New Year's party, maybe 1989 or '90, that ended up encompassing the whole end of the street. I kept passing Lisa's dad, the late Jim Henson, as we crossed back and forth from house to house getting progessively drunker. Jim Henson was a funny guy, and had Kermit the Frog's voice which just seemed funnier and funnier as the night went on. I spent a great deal of that evening talking with Ed Neumier, who wrote "Robocop." On another occasion I ended up at a soiree at Chasen's, now defunct, that oddly had me and Bruce and Sam and the rest of us Shemps, as well as Lew Wasserman, Sid Shienberg, Michael Eisner, and a number of the other very big-hitters, as well as Lawton Chiles, the then Governor of Florida. But the Shemps and the big-shots didn't much intermingle.

Josh

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

Howdy, Josh.

What do you think about the space program? Waste of money or is space truly the "final frontier"?

I'd like to know what you think of spending money on the space program in general, as opposed to just GW Bush's NASA spending. Perhaps I'm a nerd, but the exploration of space has always been something that's fascinated me.

Do you think it's realistic to find answers to our overcrowding questions in space? I know that sounds like bad scifi, but you never know what we humans might be capable of. Moon colonies? Terra forming? Do you think these will ever be possibilities?

I find it disturbing that space isn't a priority unless there's a "space race" with another country like Russia or China. It seems there is more interest in weaponizing space than exploring it. Had we steadily progressed at the same rate we did in the '60s, we'd have a man on Mars by now.

As always, thanks.


You friend,
Bird

Dear Bird:

What do we need a man on Mars for? There's nothing there. Besides, the rovers are doing a fine job. And we've already been to the moon, and there's nothing there, either. I resent the space program as a waste of money at this time when we have big issues on our own planet, like jobs and health care. Also, until we revamped the space program back to where it was going before Kennedy and the space race, meaning completely reusable spacecraft, not multi-stage, disposable rockets, it's an extra waste of money.

Josh

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

Josh,

Mike has mentioned some valid things about why the overpopulation of Deer is occuring, however, the most important thing to remember is that cause and effect in nature is never clear cut.

With my knowledge of extinction of animals, I can say that some extinctions or near extinctions have been a direct cause of humans, however, some extinctions have no clear cut cause and there are many cases of animals running their course without any real idea as to why.

The Dodo extinction was a direct result of human interference and lack of adaptability by the bird itself. It had no fear of humans and it could not fly, however, it had few predators before the Portuguese arrived on the island of Mauritius. They hunted it for food and destroyed its habitat.

As for the overpopulation issue I think it is how you look at the situation as a whole.

To say the world is being overpopulated is a misleading, since it has more to do with population density or overcrowding in big cities, mostly in undeveloped countries, but ours as well.

Here are some facts to chew on:

Population density varies widely. Much of the world's land surface is empty, and many countries with dense populations have a higher standard of living than less crowded countries.

In 1992, the population of Hong Kong City was approximately 247,501 per square mile, while in New York City it was 11,480 per square mile, and in Houston 7,512.

If the entire population of the world were put into the land area of Texas, each person would have an area equal to the floor space of a typical U.S. home and the population density of Texas would be about the same as Paris, France.

In 1988, China had a population of 409 people per square mile and gross domestic product per capita of $320, while Hong Kong, with a population density more than 450 times greater, had a per capita GDP of $8,260.

One reason people are crowded together in cities is because it makes possible many more exchanges and greater specialization of labor, thus increasing living standards.

Even in sheer numbers, though, there is growing evidence that the world's population is heading toward stability.:

The growth rate of the world's population appears to have peaked around 1970, when the annual rate of growth was 2.09 percent.

By 1980, annual population growth was down to 1.73 percent, and by 1990 to 1.7 percent.

By 1995, the annual increase had slowed even more to 1.5 percent

So, I guess it has much do with whether you are a glass half empty person or a glass half full person when it comes to our world population.

I don't feel that population is a problem if we create solutions for the problems we make, however, we are not very good at that.

I feel that the more pressing problem is distribution of wealth and economic stability as well as resources for those who need them.

I believe the earth has the abilitly to sustain us and then some. It has been here far longer than the human race and I suspect it will be here far after we are gone if that happens.

Scott

Dear Scott:

I have no doubt that the Earth will be around much longer than us. The issue is how long will it be habitable for humans? We're quickly depleting the oil and coal, we've fished-out a great deal of the oceans, we've done a pretty good job of polluting the air and water, and we've also screwed up the food chain by feeding domesticated animals back to themselves, as well as feeding them their own waste products. And just because the percentage of population growth has come down a couple of .01s, it's still a geometric increase, that in less than 50 years will double from 6 billion to 12 billion.

Josh

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

Josh,

I'd hate to get too far into this but there is an important public policy principle involved. The situation with deer, geese, rabbits and all other animals is one that requires considered management. It is akin to the western forests, such as in Oregon. For years we allowed the forests to grow by suppressing fire. As a result, fires are far too intense for the forests to survive. The forests require management and that means controlled removal of small brush and deadwood.

In the case of animal populations there are two concerns. One is economic. A herd of deer in a wheat field can eat a tremendous amount of grain, they get caught up by combines (gruesome) and they are involved with traffic. The other consideration is disease, primarily for the animal population itself. Is it any more humane to allow whole populations to starve? Anthrax is a disease of deer, remember. Lyme disease is another disease which crosses species. Deer and other populations are artificially enlarged by the removal of predators. What effect does that have on surrounding species? The deer have helped to push pronghorn antelope, who adapt less well to human encroachment than do deer, out of most midwestern states.

In addition to keeping populations at managed levels, hunters also provide the vast majority of set-aside land in the US. Not national parks, per se, but places like Cheyenne Bottoms, a large wetland reserve in central Kansas. You might argue that we could support these areas by other means but the political will isn't there. Hunters are willing, even avid, to support these areas. Remember Duck Stamps? There isn't a wetland in America which hasn't been impacted by proceeds from that source. Pronghorn antelope are being reintroduced into their former range. The project is exclusively funded by hunting licenses.

Of the hundreds of hunters I have known, I have never known one who hasn't eaten his or her kill. Deer jerkey recipes probably outnumber the deer in Kansas.

I studied population biology in college. Going into that class I was adamantly opposed to hunting. The sobering truth is that these animals have always been hunted, but now their natural predators have been removed. For the good of the populations, some culling of individuals is a necessity. Hunting provides the resources to not only keep populations in check, but to insure their future survival as well.

Who was it that used to do those National Geographic voice-overs. He should read this thing out loud. It reads a bit hokey, but I think it's important.

John

Dear John:

Yeah, and hunters have almost entirely decimated many species of ducks, almost all the "varmints" ('cause, hey, they're varmints, right? Varmints have no right to live), and fishermen, both commercial and sport, have destroyed the populations of many, many different species of fish, like Grouper, which are now nearly extinct. I'm not trying to ban hunting or fishing, I'm only saying that killing living creatures should not be done for amusement, no matter whether you eat the creature afterward or not. That's what I think, and it doesn't have to rational, either.

Josh

Name: craig mcintyre
E-mail: macenstien@hotmail.com

Dear Josh:

hi there, well not looking for a job or for you to read a script, but i do have my short film, iwould like to send if you have a p.o. box or office address, im currently producing and directing my own films, im working on a full feature now and intend to go back and try to do a full feature out of this particular story, and since i own a couple of your films , one being intruder, i figured you could watch my 13 minute short!.....no hassels about getting it made, just curious what you think?...thanks....craig

Dear Craig:

I had nothing to do with "Intruder." I haven't even seen it.

Josh

Name: Linn Cross Dog
E-mail: crossdogl7@hotmail.com

Dear Josh:

IM looking for anthony Quinn acting as an UTE INDIAN
his movie name was flapping eagle some time in the sixtys

Dear Linn Cross Dog:

The film you're referring to is called "Flap," which came out in 1970, was directed by the great British director, Carol Reed, and was a huge bomb and critically roasted. "Flap" flopped.

Josh

Name: kdn
E-mail: jericho_legends@yahoo.com

Dear Josh:

One of your complaints on CATCH ME IF YOU CAN was that they opened the movie with DiCaprio already caught. ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND supposedly gives away the ending too. I read some of the script and saw the scene in the trailer. It opens with Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet meeting for the "first time" then it cuts to ten days earlier showing them just breaking up. Think it could possibly ruin the rest of the movie? Maybe the rest of it will be trippy enough to work. That and Charlie Kaufman films seem to have a habit of a really cool trailer with the perfect song which happens to be located nowhere IN the actual movie. damn, I forgot where I was going with this. okay new subject, What's the difference between Spike Lee's BAMBOOZLED and Ralph Bakshi's COONSKIN (both about stereotyping... oh yeah, there's also Robert Townsend's HOLLYWOOD SHUFFLE)? I mean you'd think Spike Lee would've mentioned Ralph Bakshi's movie at least somewhere in his film. I heard it caused a riot at the museum of fine arts, but I can't really find any articles on it anywhere.

Dear kdn:

The real connection is that they are two of the worst films ever produced in the history of filmmaking. Ralph Bakshi is the worst animated feature director of all time. Sitting through his films was the single biggest waste of time in my whole life. I truly HATE his movies, and it pleased me greatly to find out that Robert Crumb hated them, too. And Spike Lee just sucks.

Josh

Name: Mike
E-mail:

Hi Josh,

Regarding hunting and the overpopulation argument - the reason there are so many freakin' deer is that we humans have killed off most of the predators of the deer. The wolf and coyote population has been devestated. There are so few that they won't make a dent in the population of the deer, who are now free to breed like lice. As for avain flu - that disease (and SARS, apparently) are the direct result of humans keeping millions of animals penned up in close proximity to each other and to humans for the sake of food. In short, the reason we have 40 hojillion dear in Kansas, SARS in S.E. Asia, and Avian Flu all over the world is because of a vast abundance of humans who are filthing up the planet with irresponsible growth. Anyone who is so worried about any of these issues should be airlifting condoms to India and Africa, paying for family planning and abortions, and campaigning for financial incentives to have 2 or fewer children. Dressing up in orange camo and taking pot shots at deer won't solve a thing.
On a filmic note on this, check out Never Cry Wolf, either the movie with Charles Martin Smith (which I felt was pretty good), or the book of the same name by Farely Mowat. To sum up the relevance of both - Herds of carribu are dying. The Canadian government suspects that wolves are to blame. Turns out that the wolves were actually keeping the herd strong by killing off the weak. Kill off the wolves and you get weaker, sicker, more prolific herds of caribou who die at the drop of a hat. Obviously that's a drastically simplified overview...
End of rant. As always, thanks for your time, and carry on!

Mike

Dear Mike:

I enjoyed "Never Cry Wolf," which was very well-made. There's a wonderfully funny scene, as I recall, where the character of Farley Mowat is trying to find out if the wolves could possibly live on eating nothing but mice, so he begins eating nothing but mice. He cooks them in every possible way and eats them for months. Two Eskimoes show up one day and offer him some freshly caught salmon, but he refuses because he only eats mice, which the two Eskimoes are amazed by, but take in stride, the look on their faces saying, "These crazy white guys."

Back to your point, which I completely agree with -- the world is over-populating at an insane rate, but it's not even an thought or an issue these days. We humans infringe on every animal's habitat, then decide that the only possible, "humane" answer is to kill the animals. It took the entire history of civilization, from 10,000 years ago until 1900 for the human population to reach one billion people. When I was a kid there weren't quite 4 billion people on this planet; now there are over 6 billion. It took 10,000 years to get to one billion, then it took just 100 years to go from 1 billion to over 6 billion. Anyone getting the geometry of this? We'll probably be up to 12 billion by the end of my life, and the planet may very well not be able to sustain that many people. However, in a world where people think it's rational to sue McDonald's because they're fat, no one will take any responsibilities for their own actions.

Josh

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

Josh,

The deer and animal population problems are more complicated than just that and I don't have the space to go into detail.

I have worked a great deal with animals most of my life and even living in NYC, I still volunteer at the zoo amongst other things.

I hate hunting too, but the biggest problem I have with people complaining about the deer and geese population in the Suburbs (New Jersey has one too!) is that builders and people decide to live and encroach on areas were animals have been living for years and then they complain because there are too many of them.

Well, shit, I say, you have invaded their home, so what the hell are they supposed to do? people are strange sometimes. It's like Everyone wants to have that nice home in the suburbs or the country, but they forget the reality of living amongst other creatures like deer, geese, raccoons, possums etc. is all part of the deal.

If you are bothered by this then move to a city where it is designed for people and not for destroying natural habitats.

Either that or take Josh's advice and just enjoy the wonderful creatures you are blessed with in your backyard.

Scott

Dear Scott:

When there are a lot of deer around, ya know what? You have to drive more carefully. They're pretty big, and unless you're not paying attention, like talking on a cell phone, you won't hit them if you actually see them and give them the right of way. If they get out on the freeway, then they're fucked, but that's life. And what are the geese doing, honking and shitting on things? I saw some big honking geese yesterday flying overhead and felt honored. Whenever the herd of deer or the wild turkeys showed up at my place I felt honored. But we humans enjoy killing things, and cutting down trees, and strip mining, and drilling for oil in Alaska.

Josh

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

Josh,

You're against hunting? I live in Kansas which, quite literally, has more deer than people(also more cows; 3:1). You can't drive between towns here at dawn or dusk and not run the risk of plowing into a deer. We also have more Geese than you could shake a stick at. If we don't control these populations with hunting we're going to have serious problems. We now have more deer in North America than at anytime in the history of deer. We already have a deer-wasting disease akin to BSE which is spreading. Between Avian Flu and West Nile Virus, not to mention the danger to aircraft, something needs to be done to control all these birds. I don't care for hunting myself, and I certainly think there are guidelines which should be followed, and generally are. I also agree that many hunters fit the stereotype to a "T", but I don't really know what we would do without them. We've eliminated all of the predators and it is really impractical to try to reintroduce them.

That said, you are dead-on about handguns. Their proliferation is based upon cultural myths. The violence some people say handguns prevent is handgun violence to begin with. Any objective psychiatrist would describe the American relationship with handguns as insane. Thanks,

John

Dear John:

Look, I'm not a vegetarian and I have no issue with killing animals for food. I'm proud of my place on the food chain. But I think killing anything for amusement is awful. Killing is not a game. I'll just bet there are even more deer in Oregon, where I lived last year, than in Kansas, and what's the problem with there being a lot of deer? That we might run into them in our cars? So, instead of us having to pay more attention to driving, let's just kill the deer. I had a herd of deer come by my house there almost daily, and they are the calmest, sweetest creatures on earth. They knew that both Bruce and I wouldn't harm them, so during deer season they'd rarely leave, and I really liked having them around. It made me feel calmer to just see the deer just hanging around, lying down and snoozing, licking their babies; they're really just the sweetest creatures, and incredibly trusting. Quite frankly, I'd like it better if there were more deer and less people. Bruce's and my running joke was that because deer season with a rifle is 4 or 6 weeks long, but bow-hunting season was a month longer, we felt that baseball bat season should be a month longer than that, and hand-to-hand combat season should be longer still.

Josh

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

Josh,

With regards to your comments about how you see the world and Bird's comments, I just wanted to add that what I believe is that many people would rather be lied to in certain circumstances than know the truth and I think that the "truth" is subjective to a certain extent.

We all see the world the way we see it and if we are fortunate, we can keep an open mind about life and death while still using our minds to question the mysteries of life.

As sad as it seems, I believe Bird brought up a good point about the end of his marriage, and I just wanted to say that I applaud him for his courage to carry on despite his circumstances. You have a lot of courage buddy!

I read the article on handguns too and I did not find any further justification for having one either.

I studied Martial Arts for a few years, and I found that the discipline of self-defense in the realm of Martial Arts outweighs that of any justification for using a handgun for defense.

It is truly a cultural thing in many respects. Tokyo has more people than NYC and death by handguns is almost non-existent.

I also agree that your pride and ego can heal, but once you are shot and dead that's it.

Getting back to movies, I just watched Samuel Fuller's "Shock Corridor".

It was disturbing I really enjoyed. I don't think all his films are good, but I liked this one and I know he was adamantly against racism in any form and this film really show that.

I have "The Naked Kiss" coming next from Nextflix and I am looking forward to that one too!

Great discussions here this week.

Take Care,
Scott

Dear Scott:

Sam Fuller made some of the oddest films, and "The Naked Kiss" is one them. An absolutely terrific opening, then it takes some of the stranger plot turns one could imagine. I saw Constance Towers at the Sam Fuller memorial at the DGA and she looks great! Robert Stack told a funny story there: he said he had trouble with one of his lines, so he went to Fuller and told him. Fuller replied, "Tell it to the director." Stack said, "But you're the director." "Then tell it to the producer." Robert Stack said, "But Sam, you're the producer, too." Sam Fuller grinned and said, "Then I guess you're fucked."

Josh

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

Josh,

I hope you don't mind me chiming in on this whole celebacy issue, but I did have some thoughts.

As it happens, I did attend a Catholic (main-line, not Traditionalist) high school seminary. During my four years there I met more priests than most people ever do in a lifetime. In my experience about one-third of those priests had serious issues with their sexuality. I do recall, and this was in the early eighties, one of the college seminaries having something of a purge of an effete culture. In my time I knew one priest who was a serial molester of children. He was transferred and placed 'in parentis locum' over forty or so ninth-grade boys in a dormitory setting.

I should also mention that one-third of the priests I met were extraordinarily devout men who lived lives dedicated to serving others. Deluded or not, these men were genuine in their compassion towards others and their desire help people irrespective of race, color or creed.

It is a curious thing that not all Roman Catholic priests take vows of celibacy. In the Eastern Rite priests are allowed to marry and, under some circumstances, Anglican priests who are married are allowed to become Roman Catholic priests. It would be interesting to compare abuse rates among married clergy with those among the celibate. It would also be interesting to rate the performance of married priests with the celibate since both groups exist.

The other point I find interesting is that the original motivation behind the celibate clergy was to prevent Church offices from becoming hereditary. Appointments to Church positions was a means of generating revenue and of controlling the gentry which required such positions for their second sons. The current arguments put forth by Rome in favor of a celibate clergy don't ever seem to address the origins issue.

On a related note, When you take Cynthia's advice and run for office you should take the word "Marriage" out of the legal lexicon and give everyone the right to name a Standard-Recipient who would recieve all of those rights currently conferred to spouses, including those involving insurance and transfer payments(Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security). "Marriage" is a religious term (without real meaning, I might add) and we need to seperate it from the state.

Thanks as always,
John

Dear John:

I agree. The government should only be in the business of giving out civil unions, straight, gay or whatever. If you then want to get married you should then go to your local church, mosque, temple, or synagogue, and get your holy man or woman to "sanctify" it for you. But marriage is a religious issue and should have nothing to do with our government. I'm also not saying that there aren't any good people who have ever gone into the clergy of the all the various religions, I'm just saying that all of those religions are, for the most part, crap, and are a bastion of the sexually repressed and sexually fucked-up people.

Josh

Name: Darin
E-mail: none

Josh,

I just read "America: Land of the Stupid Cowboys." First of all, you claim to be Libertarian, but I saw in a recent post that you want "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". This seems to be against the Libertarian view of the government's role. Have your views changed since then?

Anyway, regarding handguns, I used to be adamantly against handguns, and I still sort of am. It wasn't until I came across the following essay, "http://www.tcht.net/coward.html", that I saw that there was some sort of justification for concealed and carried handguns. It still creeps me out that certain people could be packing heat, but truthfully, if I was going to be robbed, raped, attacked, etc., I would much rather have a gun on me than be defenseless.

But I have to laugh at the mental image of Charleton Heston sitting at home with muskets and pretending he's actually Moses.

The essay is four years old. Are your views still the same?

Darin

Dear Darin:

Well, I'm a registered Democrat, but I was four years ago as well. I've never accepted the full Libertarian agenda, but I'm for a lot of it. Yet I still don't think handguns are good idea, and the article you sent didn't convince me otherwise. Am I seriously supposed to accept that if a robber pulls a gun on me I ought to pull a gun on them? Then you've got the shootout at the O.K. corral. And the basis of that article is that our dignity is worth as much as our lives. I say, bullshit! Someone pulls a gun on you and says to give them your money, you give them your money -- your dignity has nothing to do with it, and should your dignity be damaged from this, it will repair. I repeat from my essay, handguns are just a plain-old bad idea and ought to be banned. Handguns have nothing, zero, zip to do with the Bill of Rights, and have a major amount to do with all of the rampant shootings in this country -- more than any other country in the world, by far. And, once again, I've spent a lot of time in a society without handguns, New Zealand, and nobody gets shot there, even though you can still have rifles. Rifles fulfill the Bill of Rights, allows you to go hunting should you care to (I'm against hunting, too), and no one can sneak them into a bar.

Josh

Name: Jem
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

You agreed with Gavin's post that "you rub people in the biz the wrong way, and that maybe you aren't the best person to try to get people to buy your film?"

If you gave this any serious consideration, I would think that you would try to examine your attitude and learn why you think that way.

You reply to his post with, "I got my co-producer, Jane, who has a very pleasant, intelligent, phone demeanor, to make all the calls, and still we can't get anyone to watch it, or even call back."

It doesn't matter how great Jane is. The point is that they want to work with someone they are comfortable with. You can say the right things and go through all the motions of what is considered polite, but people can still sense negativity from you.

"Mrs Raimi looked at me very seriously and said, "It's worse than that, Josh, you're insulting." Well, we all have our crosses to bear."

I hope you were kidding with that remark because if you think that your poor attitude is just a natural part of you, then nothing will ever change.

Being a good director is not just about making a movie that looks good, it's about knowing how to create a good relationship with your cast and crew. Do you really think an A-list actor is going to work with someone who is unpleasant? You need to provide a comfortable working environment for those around you, otherwise you will just be creating more tension and disrupting the production. Making a movie is a team effort and if you're not a team player, then all you're just in the way.

Developing a good relationship with the studios is not about schmoozing, but having the right attitude. They're not going to waste their time dealing with someone unpleasant when there are so many people out there just as talented with a good personality. There are a lot of introverted directors. Do you think Ang Lee or David Lynch are great socializers? There is something to be said for networking, getting your name known and making contacts. You don't have to be a phony to know how to do this well.

Dear Jem:

Seriously, how do you know? I actually run one of the most pleasant, tension-free film sets I've ever seen. I never get upset and I never yell, which most directors would have great difficulty saying. I get along brilliantly with actors, and I would surmise that there isn't a single actor I've ever worked with who wouldn't work with me again. The fact that I'm not good at schmoozing is yet a whole other can of worms. Schmoozing, whether you'd like to own up to it or not, is significantly based in lying, and I'm just not interested in lying. If I must become a liar to get my films made, then I just won't get them made. Kissing people's asses holds no interest for me, and that's what the Hollywood system is based on, and if you think it's not, then you've never been a part of it.

Josh

Name: mortimer
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

if i had a hammer, and you were in sight, i would throw it at you, for making such a pointless movie. the quality is terrible becuase you cant afford a good camera, and i pray to god your didn't write the script. when i watched it, i was embarrased for you. you should probably get Sam R. to buy you a good camera, becuase he can afford it after directing such a good movie like spiderman. so dont make fun of school of rock, just becuase your mad they had the funding to advertise the movie, while no one knows about yours becuase they suck.

Dear mortimer:

"If I Had a Hammer" is pointless, but "Spider-Man" isn't? Wow! I guess I wasn't paying enough attention to "Spider-Man." And that crappy camera I used was a 35mm Panavision Gold, which many folks in the film business might well consider to be a decent camera. And why do I get the distinct feeling you didn't even see "Hammer"?

Josh

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

Howdy, Josh.

Regarding Scott's post...

I guess I should reiterate that I myself am not a religious person. As stated before, I'm a lapsed Catholic and now I'm seriously flirting with Atheism. I guess I feel the need to announce this because you seem to have lumped me and Ben in the same category. Ben's a religious man, I am not. Scott's post did me plenty of good, just like any open and honest discussion would. The reason I took offense to many of your posts to Ben is because I think one can be critical of a religion without besmirching those who follow the faith. After reading all the Anti-Catholic comments, I couldn't help but imagine my poor Irish mother lighting a candle every Sunday her whole life, never hurting anyone and praying for us all. She did plenty of good things: she believed in civil rights for all before it was fashionable to do so, she gave money that she probably couldn't afford to charities, plus she was a social worker, so she actually saw that abortion was not a completely evil act, contrary to most Catholics' belief. She was not what you would classify as "religious right", but she was very religious. I guess I imagined those attacks targeted at her, and I was offended.

I lost my faith when I was disabled in a car accident in 1990. I'm paralyzed from the waist down, and I wasn't even driving the car. My wife divorced me two years after the accident, she says it was because I changed as a person, but I blamed my handicap and I still do. I have serious questions about the existence of God. I'm not a "blind devotee". I just think that people's beliefs are personal, and what may work for one may not work for another. I do not like to see someone berated because of their beliefs, especially in the name of tolerance.

That being said, I clearly don't agree with Ben's take on divorce. Although if it were up to me, I would still be married, I now realize that since my wife was unhappy our separation was for the better. It's not always a lack of trying.

Anyways, all the best to Scott, Ben, and you too, Josh. If there is a God, I hope he smiles on all of you.


Your friend,
Bird

Dear Bird:

Guess what? My beliefs mean as much to me as Ben's do to him. But I see the world and my place in it from my own POV, not from a multi-thousand year old philosophy that was undoubtedly fine for ancient humans, but has no place in the modern world. I take responsibility for my own actions, my good deeds are my own, as well as my sins. I'll do what I can with this life because it's the only one you can be sure of; pinning your hopes on a supposed next life is an abnegation of one's reponsibilities right now.

Josh

Name: bill
E-mail: jhuber@mstar2.net

Dear Josh:

well what about the Mormon religion. What do you think
about that.

Dear bill:

What about it? If I think all the major religions are nonsense, why wouldn't I think a Johnny-come-lately sect the Mormons aren't even more ridiculous? God spoke to Joseph Smith in Upstate New York? And gave him a golden shield with the Book of Mormon written on it? Oh, please!

Josh

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

Josh,

Your response to Ben was close to what I would have to say, but I just wanted to add a few things.

First, I never said that any person being Celibate leads to child molestation, I was talking only of priests. Sex can be abused like anything and if you have a leaning towards this then it will become a problem when it is taken away.

Of course I mentioned Gandhi was celibate from his mid-thirties until his death and he did not molest kids, however, Catholic Priests are not Gandhi, although, many of them could have learned what tolerance is from him.

Second, I absolutely agree with Josh about Marriage. Marriage fails for many reasons and it is unjustifiable to say that it only ends because people are selfish. Let me tell you that I have seen first hand someone stay married to her Alcoholic husband for over forty years until his inevitable death.

They never slept in the same room for years during the marriage and the only reason she did not leave him was that she was devotedly religious and this was a time when divorce was frowned upon greatly by the church. In my opinion, that is horseshit!

I also agree with Josh that you can't say with certainty that you will never contract AIDS because you are married and Monogamous. That is like saying you are certain you will never contract lung cancer because you don't smoke. Odds are you won't, but everything in life is a risk.

All relationships have cycles just like life. Sometimes it is better to end those cycles that can's mend then it is to carry on. I will even go so far as to say that you can't say for certainty that in 30 years time your marriage won't fall apart and your wife may want a divorce.

Also, there has been a great deal of evidence that children coming from a loving single parent home are no worse off or ill adjusted then kids coming a family having both parents. In fact it is far more damaging to kids for two parents to stay together when the marriage isn't working. I have two good friends here who are single parents and their kids are wonderfully adjusted, intelligent and wonderful.

I have seen it happen to the most devote of Christians.

Religion doesn't give you any more control over anything; it is just a crutch to supply answers where there aren't any, however, that is the trap, since it can't. If everyone realized that they will only have 70 years or so to live, I believe people would live their lives far differently and treat each other a lot better.

It's like John Lennon said, "Life is what happens when you are making plans".

Dear Scott:

I daresay that all this logic won't do Ben or Bird the slightest bit of good. Religion is based on anti-logic, and if you base your life on it you're living in a dream world.

Josh

Name: Scott
E-mail: sspny66@mac.com

Josh,

Believe it or not, the first half of "School of Rock" is actually funny. Of course it goes down hill from there, but it had potential.

I think you would just enjoy it for the Classic rock references which was a lot of fun.

Scott

Dear Scott:

I'll certainly watch it when it pops up on cable, but it certainly didn't seem like anything to go out of one's way for.

Josh

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

Scott,

Sexual urges are something that can be controlled. Celibacy doesn't lead to child molestation.

Most kids today would be better off having a mother and a father, even with some discord. But 24/7 miserable family isn't good either. They shouldn't have been married in the first place. This society is plagued with people giving into their selfishness. They give up on spouses easily, get divorced and get into equally bad relationships. Many people who are getting divorced these days are getting remarried and redivorced. Part of knowing that you have to stay married is knowing that you have to make the best of it. Probably 98% of today's divorces are a result of people not trying. They're selfish. Someone who is married, has a kid or two, and continually fights with his or her spouse could easily reevaluate their priorities and make sacrifices to make things work. I think they are all lazy, selfish and greedy.

I can guarantee a few things, and I credit all of it to Catholicism and the morals and sense of responsibility it has instilled in me: I am not concerned about the AIDS epidemic. I will never get AIDS. I am not worried about the divorce rate because I will never get a divorce. And I will never make my household miserable for my family because I'm unhappy about something. People today are totally screwed up, and no one wil believe the truth. Maybe 20 years from now when I'm still happily married with however many kids my wife and I have, people will say, wow, maybe you did somehting right. But probably not. They'll probably find some other excuse or diversion to allow them to continue their crappy lives.

Lost in Translation wasn't just bad for the infidelity. (What do you mean there was no cheating? Who did Bill Murray wake up with?) And he did kiss the girl at the end. You go to Japan, kiss some girl and see if it doesn't bother your wife.

Ben

Dear Ben:

With all due respect, you are completely full of shit. If just 50 million American couples would just come to their senses and listen to you, since you seem to know what's wrong with everybody's marriage, then this would be a better world. 98% of all marriages fail because they're "not trying"? Do you ever think about what you say, or do you just say it? My mom and dad divorced after 40 years of marriage, and I honestly think they gave it the old college try. And you know for a fact that celibacy doesn't lead to child molestation? Of course you don't, you're just spewing horseshit. Celibacy clearly led to child molestation in the cases of at least 6,500 Catholic priests, and one bishop, so far. Unless, as I suspect, the entire clergy of the Catholic church is filled with repressed homosexuals. Aldous Huxley said that celibacy is the worst sexual perversion of them all, which may well be overstatement, but there's probably some validity there. You're awfully lucky that God gave you a 100% assurance you won't get AIDS, even from a blood transfusion. God gave me a 100% assurance that anyone who thinks they know all the answers is really just an idiot.

Josh

Name: kdn
E-mail: jericho_legends@yahoo.com

Dear Josh:

changing the subject off religion, what did you think of THE SCHOOL OF ROCK?

Dear kdn:

You don't seriously think I'd pay money to see that, do you?

Josh

Name: Mike
E-mail:

Heya Josh,

I have a general film question, and a specific political quesiton.

Film first - are there any novels or short stories you would ever want to adapt as a screenplay? This assumes a best case scenario where you can get the rights with no hassle. What sorts of considerations should one bear in mind when adapting a novel or short story?

Politically, just wondering what you thought of Nader's candidacy. Do you share the growing concern that he might prove to be an upsetter again?

That's it for now. Fight the good fight!

Mike

Dear Mike:

I have to say I'm much more interested in making my own scripts than adapting other people's work; however, there are still a few books over the years that just seemed like movies to me. Kurt Vonnegut's "The Sirens of Titan" and "Cat's Cradle," Isaac Asimov's Foundation trilogy and his novel "The Gods Themselves," Colleen McCullough's Rome books, Alice Hoffman's books "Seventh Heaven" and "Illumination Night," Don Delillo's "White Noise," Phillip Roth's "American Pastoral," Ian Fleming's "Casino Royale" exactly as it's written (set in 1953), "Mefisto in Onyx" by Harlan Ellison, "Franny and Zooey" and "Raise High the Roofbeams, Carpenters, and Seymour, and Introduction" by J. D. Salinger, "Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant," by Anne Tyler. That's it for the moment. As for considerations, I don't know because I've never done it. And as for Ralph Nader, bless his soul, I think he's a good man and he's attempting to show that it doesn't have to be a two-party system. The Democratic party has moved quite far into the center and I don't mind at all that there are far left voices out there.

Josh

Name: Adam Ellis
E-mail: adamcomic@excite.com

Dear Josh:

Hi, I have been reading the screenplays you have posted here on your site, and thoroughly enjoying all of them. The problem is, I got to the last one, and the link is broken. I am a completist, and don't think I will be able to read anything else until after I get ahold of that one (The Winds of Fate). Hope you can help me out on that, by letting me know when the link is working again, or (if you are feeling particularly nice and generous) sending me a copy of said screenplay. Not being the presumptuous sort, I won't bother sending my address unless you ask for it.

Thank you,

Adam Ellis

Dear Adam:

Thanks for pointing that out. We'll do our best to get it fixed ASAP. I'm glad you're enjoying my scripts.

Josh

[all taken care of; here is the link to the "Winds of Fate" screenplay downloadable .zip file. thanks! -webmaster]

 

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

Josh,

No, they didn't elect me spokesman. But neither did every Jew collectively elect Abe Foxman, nor did every gay person elect to be represented by GLAD views. It works for others, so I thought I'd chime in. Having said that, I maintain that most Trad Cats share my views.

But off the subject, you say that you always write a treatment before you write a script. Do you add a lot of scenes and action during the script? Or would you say the story is 99% done when you start the script? If so, do you have a guideline of how prose compares to a script page? If you have twenty pages of treatment, will that easily make 100 pages for a script?

Thanks.

Ben

Dear Ben:

Nothing "easily" makes a 100-120 page script. But by writing a treatment first you can work out most, if not all, of your story problems before starting the script. What I mostly add to the treatment when adapting it into a script is dialog. Also, ideas that can simply be stated in prose need to be shown in a screenplay. But it against all rational storytelling techniques to sit down to write a script and not know where it's going or what the ending is. In a good script everything is leading to the conclusion.

Josh

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

Dear Josh:

I don't understand you, Josh. You claim that all religion is evil and stupid, yet you have the nerve to say that Mel Gibson's movie is "the Devil's work". Your big problem with it is the way it is seemingly disrespectful to Jews, yet you have no problem whatsoever being completely disrespectful to Catholics. When you say that "most" Catholic priests are child molesters or sex offenders, it is not only untrue, but also offensive and hateful. Every priest I have ever known has been kind, pious, and generous(and this is coming from a lapsed Catholic). Your venomous response to my last post was downright mean-spirited. I don't understand why you think it's okay to shit all over other people's beliefs and say damaging things, yet you think any subtle criticism of Judaism is "anti-Semitic". You're showing an obvious bias here, Mr. All-Religion-Sucks. Stereotyping all Catholic priests as child-molesters is just as offensive as any given Jewish stereotype.

When I said the Christians have a beef with the Jewish religion, I meant it in the same way that I meant that Protestant's have a problem with the Catholic religion. Because the Jews are also an ethnic group, does that make them beyond reproach? THE PASSION is not attacking the Jews as a people. Mel Gibson is not like one of these Christian Identity bigots who believe that Jews are the sons of Cain. To be critical of some of the Jews in the story, when almost everyone in the story is Jewish, is not uncalled for. In PINOCCHIO, everyone's Italian. So if the Great Stromboli is an evil character in PINOCCHIO, it's inaccurate to interpret PINOCCHIO as anti-Italian, because the good characters are Italian too.

One can always point to the sorriest examples of a group of people and paint everyone in that group with the same brush. Notice I didn't bring up the jack-booted thugs in Israel who treat the Palestinians no better than the Nazis treated the Jews. I didn't bring it up because I wanted to separate the policies of Israel, which I disagree with, from the Jewish people. To blame Ariel Sharon's Jewishness for his evilness would be uncalled for. I really like your films, Josh. I respect your talent and I want to like you. But you sure make it hard when you make blanket statements like this.


Your friend,
Bird

Dear Bird:

I do believe that religion is evil, and I think that Judaism is every bit as bad as Christianity, Islam, and Hindu (I actually think that Buddhism isn't evil because it doesn't have any biggotry and hatred built into it). I serious believe that being a Catholic priest and taking a vow of celibacy is a sexual perversion, and can only lead to other sexual perversions. Considering there have now been over 11,000 allegations of homosexual child molestation against 6,500 Catholic priests, and now the first American bishop, I don't think my stereotyping is coming out of nowhere. As for the "beef" between Protestants and Catholics, for the past several hundred years that has been entirely theoretical and rhetorical; in regard to the beef between Christians and Jews, Christians have frequently, and recently, gone out and killed Jews because of it. You know of any examples of Jews killing Christians due to religious differences? It's like southern whites and southern blacks, they may both dislike each other in equal amounts, but the blacks never go out and lynch the whites. There is no play or movie that causes Jews to go out and kill Christians. But the passion play has been historically proven to cause Christians to go out and kills Jews. That's a fact. Everything in the world is not equal. Some groups are a lot more intolerant than others, and at the top of the intolerant list goes Muslims and Christians. As I metioned in the last post, the Jews' intolerance of homosexuality is, in my opinion, hateful. I also believe that the Israelis attitude and treatment of the Palestinians is unconscionable, and as long as they treat the Palestinians as second-class citizens they deserve every terrorist attack they get. And when the Israelis retaliate with rockets, tanks, and bulldozers, those are every bit as much terrorist attacks as what the Palestinians do. One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter. But to say that the Israelis are just like Nazis is silly. It's like calling George Bush Hitler, which, as Bill Maher pointed out, is inaccurate because A. Adolf Hitler was a decorated frontline war veteran, and B. Hitler was elected because he got more votes than the other guy.

Josh

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

Josh,

In response to Ben's last post I would like to say something that challenges his beliefs about Priests and chid molestation.

Isn't it still a fact that the traditional Catholic rules and not just the Vatican II rules still have it that Priests must take a vow of celibacy?

If this is fact which I believe it to be then it is the most ridiculous rule any religious organization still has going for it.

Priests are human and the fact is taking this vow goes against all the principles of human nature whether you have a strong will or not.

All it does is promote harboring sexual delinquency amongst Priests, since they can find a safe haven to perform their sexual acts without getting caught.

That is up until now. I know now as an adult what the two Priests in my old Parish were up to and I don't think it had anything to do with the Traditional Catholic values or Vatican II values.

All I know is these men had urges that they could not control and I was fortunate enough as a kid to figure out something wasn't quite right and steered clear of that mess.

It is an extremely difficult urge to curb and abolish your entire life. Gandhi was able to do it, but not until he was older.

I think it is almost impossible for a majority of males including Priests and it has become obvious now, but it is even worse that they turn to sexual deviancy with young boys because of this absolutely ridiculous rule of the church.

As for "Lost in Translation", the film has much more going on than just cheating on ones spouse which actually never occurs in the film. Sexually anyway. It about two very real characters both caught in a similar rut in their lives and they just happen to be generations apart.

I don't think you will like the film Josh, but not for the reasons Ben has outlined. I enjoyed the film, I felt that Bill Murray captured his character really well. Both actors were very good in their roles, but the script did suffer and the film went a little too long.

Does Ben think that religion is the cure for Adultery? I think this is nonsense. All religion has done for poor marriages is kept them together and made two people incredibly unhappy for the rest of their lives when they should have separated from one another.

I don't condone divorce, but in a great majority of cases it is the best thing for a relationship that has failed to mend. Dissolving a bad marriage which can't mend has been proven to be more beneficial when there are children involved as well. Who wants to be with there parents when they are miserable 24/7. Answer: Nobody!

I am thankful that in this day an age people are not forced to stay together with the guilt of religion if they can't mend their relationship.

Scott

Dear Scott:

It seems that most priests, and now a bishop, too, are repressed homosexuals, that's why they went into the church in the first place, in an attempt to overcome this dreaded sin, and, of course, they have generally failed. The fact is, the the entire Christian and Jewish religions are completely fucked up regarding homosexuality. 10-12% of the population is gay and always has been since the beginning of humanity. Being against homosexuals is the same thing as being against left-handed people, or redheads, or blacks, or Indians. You can cloak it in religious dogma all you'd like, but if you're against homosexuals you're bigot. Biggotry is of course evil, and if your religion condones it, then your religion is evil, too.

Josh


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