Q & A    Archive
Page 139

Name: Jeff Economy
E-mail: airstreamdriver@yahoo.com

Hi Josh -

You probably don't remember this, but we met after a screening of ""Running Time" at the Chicago Underground Film Festival, and you mentioned something about being in the audience of the theater scenes of John Cassavetes' "Opening Night." I've always regretted not asking you more about that experience, what you observed about Cassavetes' working methods, etc. I fully understand if this is too off-topic or you to answer, but I'd be interested in any memories you'd care to share.

Thanks,
Jeff

Dear Jeff:

The endless topic here is movies, so you're right on. Yes, you're right, I don't remember meeting you. Regarding "Opening Night," I did four day's work on it as an extra. I'm in the audience during the play, I'm in front of the theater, and I'm outside the window of the restaurant where Gena Rowlands and Ben Gazzara meet. I didn't really get much of a chance to see John Cassavetes at work as a director because I was stuck in crowds of extras away from the stars. I did watch he and Gena Rowlands perform that fake scene from the play for a whole day, and clapped until my hands were bright red and useless. I said hello to him and Joan Blondell and Paul Stewart (who is in "Citizen Kane"), and they all said hello back, and I actually spoke with Gena Rowlands for few minutes and I told her how good I thought she was in "A Woman Under the Influence."

Josh

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

Hey Josh

Thanks for the 'Spring Forward' heads up. I've read some reviews on-line; I'm ordering a DVD. (It's not out here in the UK - only region 1, but that's cool).

"Something causes something else." I like that; the structure of it. It works for melodrama and it works for a more interior story. It reminded me of Hitchcock talking about a visual sequence; how every image has to be imagined cut with the next image.

I've gotta take the plunge and use my 16mm camera to shoot this film. I can't get ANYONE to look at my 16mm shorts, so maybe it will be different if I have a feature on 16mm to schlep around.

I'm trying to get someone at our local film lottery set up to look at my films but it's impossible. They won't look at my stuff. They seem to have their film making buddies and everyone else is on the periphery. Frustrating.

Like you said - if you wanna make movies don't wait around for any other fucker - get some dough, get a camera and go for it.

Fuck I wish I could ditch the day job - life would be SO much simpler!!!!

Lata


Lee

Dear Lee:

Unless it's really cheap, I don't think I'd bother to own "Spring Forward." Cinematically, there's nothing terribly special about it, it's mainly two guys talking.

Josh

Name: Jeremy Milks
E-mail: admin@homecomingcreations.com

Dear Josh:

As long as we're cool, then I'm happy. I figure if I ever make it anywhere in movies that there will be other people in my line of work who'll dislike me, but I'd rather not have directors who I look up to (yes, I look up to you) disliking me.

You called yourself a C-list director to Mo (that can't be his real name), and I do disagree with you on that. While undoubtedly you're not A-list, you are in teh B-list. With the ammount of people coming to this site, you're famous enough to call yourself B-list and the sad thing is you're talented enough to be A-list. Lunatics: A Love Story is one of the better films I've seen in a long time. I don't have a specific list of favorites after the first six spots, but it's in there somewhere. Running Time just sounds like a good movie and I really need to buy that. Guess I'll wait for the rerelease.

I watched Alien Apocalypse for two reasons. 1. Bruce Campbell was the star, and 2. Josh Becker was the director.

I look forward to catching up on the work you've done that I haven't seen yet, and I look forward to seeing your future work.

Jeremy Milks

Dear Jeremy:

The A, B & C List of directors is not a mythical, conceptual thing, it's a real list compiled by the talent agencies that gets updated every year. I assure you that I'm not on it, under any letter, and never have been.

Josh

Name: Darryl Mesaros
E-mail: simonferrer@sbcglobal.net

Dear Josh,

Did you receive my last post (re: origin of Church/state clause, and the use of the army in Louisiana and Mississippi)?

Darryl

Dear Darryl:

I did, but it was so long I didn't post it, or finish reading it, either. Brevity is the soul of wit. Look, nobody's blaming the national guard for the slow response to Katrina, this was strictly a bureaucratic fuck-up. But there certainly was one.

Josh

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

Hey Josh

You mentioned Lajos Egri's books on writing a few days ago. I know what you mean about the content - it is a bit rambling. But two of the concepts in there are very strong and I apply them to my writing. They are:

The importance of being important. Egri is saying that everyone is motivated by the need to have importance; so even a seemingly altruistic act is governed by a selfish need.

The other concept is unity of opposites; find two characters who are opposite, find a reason why they cannot separate, although that is what they each desperately want to do, and you have conflict. I think of numerous classic films that use this: The African Queen, Treasure of the Sierre Madre... And as William Goldman says, even if you have two characters aiming for the same goal, they can differ in their plans on how to get there.

I also like Egri's shorthand way of creating a history for a character (Physiology/Psychology/Social Standing).

I've been thinking a lot about what you've been suggesting: that a film-maker makes three half hour shorts that are linked in someway; after three shorts, voila, you have a feature. Coupled with the conversation we had about very short films being limiting (insofar as you can't get under a character's skin) I think this is the way I'm going to go, using one of my feature screenplays.

It's a less daunting prospect, too, when it's broken down like this. I may go digital, rather than film, so that I can shoot on the go and do some improv' work.

All right, Josh.

Lata


Lee

Dear Lee:

I think it's a great idea and I'm glad someone is following up on it. I would just bet this good indie feature I just saw, "Spring Forward," was made in somewhat the same fashion. The whole film is about ten scenes, some of which are in different seasons, so it couldn't have been shot continguously. I have a feeling it was ten weekend shoots, and the whole point each weekend was to completely shoot one long scene. What this filmmaker, Tom Gilroy, did that was so smart, aside from possibly breaking the shoot up into pieces, was A. he wrote a good, solid, simple script that's mainly two people talking, and B. he got two terrific actors, Ned Beatty and Liev Schrieber, who really sink their teeth into the material. Meanwhile, Lajos Egri gave a definition of "story" that I've always liked, although I changed it. He says, "Something leads to something else." I changed it to, "Something *causes* something else." It's amazing how many films get made that do not live up to this simple definition of a story, and alway suck because of it. If your script does not have a clear cause and effect aspect to it, it's not a good story. Good luck with the film. I still recommend shooting on film, if you want to sell the film when you're done, that is.

Josh

Name: Duffy
E-mail: g_duffy@bellsouth.net

Dear Josh:

Re: Mike's comments,

I live in a town that was hit dead on by both Francis and Jean and while yes we were not devestated by floods we were not spared destruction. It is a year later and people still are living in damaged homes. I work with a woman who chose to stay in her home and the roof was ripped off , mere moments later the large tree from their yard crashed into the the interior destroying everything and very nearly costing their lives. She had to basically rebuild her home and do you know what she got from FEMA to do this? A paltry 9000.00 Yeah they really were on the ball here in Florida. If Mike is trying to say the response was quicker because this is a majority white, affluent community he is sadly mistaken. My day job i.e the bill paying one is in pharmacy and the majority of my patients are hispanic and people of color. And without coming across as racist or bitter most are on welfare. Because it is his brother's state? Perhaps but it definitely wasn't race or wealth based trust me on that. And trust me on this FEMA wasn't that fast at least from a personal perspective. Just a side note the same Florida coast that was pounded last year is now being threatened by Ophelia. So no matter where you live, natural disasters can get you. The whole entire east coast of USA is in danger of hurricanes as well as the gulf states. California has earthquakes, midwest tornados, northern states get blizzards. Where are we safe? The best we can do is be prepared for any contingency and if it means relying on ourselves instead of governmental relief then maybe that's what we need to do. We choose where we live and have to be aware and do our best to be prepared and stay safe.

Dear Duffy:

There was no money for FEMA a year ago because it had all gone to the war in Iraq. That's where most of our national guardsmen are, too. Having just reread the consititution (I may have already mentioned this), it states the terms for why we need a militia, or national guard, and it's to repel invasions, stop insurrections, and basically help out within the country, but it's *never* be sent anywhere outside this country, and certainly not to be an occupying force in another country. Not only is the war in Iraq wrong on every other count, but it's against the constitution, too.

Josh

Name: Bob
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

How are you doing with the Star Trek DVDs for Season One. I have been watching some of the First Season Eps on DVD as well. I still think it is an entertaining show and generally well done. As science fiction, some of the episodes are a little weak, such as in 'Miri', a planet identical to Earth in every way, but there was never any speculation of why it was identical and that fact really never became part of the story. As if it were edited out of the script or something. But no matter, the show is still fun to watch, and not bad music either.

Dear Bob:

I haven't even opened the box yet. It's still wrapped in cellophane. But I'll get to it.

Josh

Name: Jim K
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

On a lighter note, Anchor Bay has put up the specifics on your flick, which is coming out in October...

http://www.anchorbayentertainment.com/index.asp?p=CatalogDetail&SKU=DV13285&PriCatID=3

Dear Jim:

That's my first look at the DVD cover. It's all right. Apparently, both AA and "Brain" already have pre-orders for about 125,000 copies.

Josh

Name: Raoul
E-mail: ra0ul01@yahoo.com

Joshua~

I was in Minneapolis over the weekend, and noticed in their free weekly entertainment guide, (which is 'The Onion', the lucky bastards,) that a theatre was having a Mid-nite Campbell-O-Thon, and Sept. 2nd's movie was "Lunatics: A Love Story." When theatres show that now, do you think they rent prints from Blackhawk or some secondary market distributor like we used to in High School, or do they just throw a DVD on their digital projector? I was sorry I had to miss the screening, ( mandatory bachelor party; I love you, Leilani!)
I've seen 'Lunatics' with an audience about 4 times, and it's always enjoyable. It's great to have films available for home viewing, but nothing beats a crowded screening for a comedy.

Dear Raoul:

I work with a small theatrical distributor out of Chicago, and he's the one that booked the films. RT was also showing there, and they were both shown in 35mm.

Josh

Name: Angel
E-mail: aesparz2@depaul.edu

Dear Josh:

I saw your post about 'Manhattan' being the first film presented in letterbox on video. It drove me to read up on it and man, Woody Allen got a very interesting clause in his contract with that film. It's to never be cropped or distorted out of it's original aspect ratio when broadcast on television or transferred to video. I'm sure Anchor Bay with it's history for "special editions" would release a "Bootleg" Cropped Version if it could. Are you familiar with any other "interesting" clauses in the folklore of Hollywood contracts?

Also, I recently watched 'Goobye, Columbus' for the first time recently. I think I might have somewhat enjoyed it but Richard Benjamin's self-righteous characther just completly ruined it for me. He's just so damn whinny and unable to take any action on his own. The thing that really drives me up the wall is that the whole conflict could be resolved and he and Ali McGraw would be happy if he just wore a condom. But for a reason never explained he doesn't, hell, the word condom is never mentioned once. Instead the burden on birth control is placed squarely on Ali McGraw and thus the film ends in the manner it does. Did you care at all about this movie?

Dear Angel:

Ali MacGraw looked better in that film than she ever did in anything else. Richard Benjamin is a stick-in-the-mud, and the direction and photography are very flat. I thought Jack Klugman was funny. Meanwhile, it was Woody Allen's loud insistance that "Manhattan" never be cropped that reminded me that it was the first letterboxed video tape, at least five years before "The Color Purple." A lot of the charm of that movie lies in the way the widescreen is being used.

Josh

Name: Beth Zurkowski
E-mail: Bxerk@yahoo.com

Hi,

Why was the decision made to use American slang in Xena and Herc? That's the one reason I didn't tune in for so long. The closeness of the women didn't bother me as much because you could tell they were straight.
How can a writer like myself get New Zealand slang?
The library has a slang book but it's a reference book that can't be checked out. Also the time required is terrible. When going through the book the slang word is first then the American definition is after that. I think I would have to read the whole darn book. I can't I have a kid to care for.
Do you know of an address I could write to? You must have lived in NZ for a while and have some sort of feel for what I'm looking for. I hope.
Thank you for your time.
Beth

Dear Beth:

The American vernacular and slang in Herc and Xena was one of the very early decisions, and it came from above, which I always assumed was Rob Tapert. Why? Because it made it more accessible to Americans, who were the main audience. Meanwhile, the easiest way to pick up on certain dialect is to hear it spoken. So I recommend watching every NZ film you can get your hands on: "Once Were Warriors," "Whale Rider," "The Piano," etc. Also, anything you can get on Australia, which is pretty similar. I don't think that most people in the world can tell the difference between a New Zealand and an Australian accent. One thing that they both do is to abbreviate and add a Y to the end of as many words as possible, like a costume becomes a "cozzy," and umbrella a "brolly," a position a "pozzy," and the lead singer for Black Sabbath was Ozzie. Good luck.

Josh

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

Josh,

Quoting from "Fundamentals of American Law," NYSU School of Law Press, 1996, pg. 88 (NYU's first-year text book);

"If the free exercise clause (of the First Amendment) is designed to protect freedom of religion (italics), the establishment clause is an effort to guarantee freedom from (italics) religion. Not surprisingly, the establishment clause has always been viewed as barring government from singling out a favored religious denomination for preferential treatment... In recent years, the Supreme Court has held that the clause bars government efforts to advance religion generally, even when all religions are treated alike."

Personally, I've always considered the establishment clause as fundamental to an enlightened (in the classic sense) republic. I'm deathly afraid that Bush and company, meaning the Evangelical movement in general, are going to sufficiently undermine the establishement clause to a degree which will make secular life in this country impossible. Personally, I'm moving to Wales if it comes down to that, and I'm Catholic.

To the morons; get a dictionary and look up "ad hominem". After you find out what it means, stop doing it.

Thanks, Josh,

John

Dear John:

There's also a much clearer phrasing of the church/state concept in the Virginia Constitution, which was the basis for the U.S. consititution in many respects. Yes, the ad hominem attacks still bother me after 8 years, although I'm not sure why.

Josh

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

Dear Josh:

Is it deeply cynical or simply realistic at this point to say that the US government no longer has our best interests in mind? The comments made in the last week by various members of the administration and the Bush family clearly show how out of touch they are with the general public. If any good comes out of this disaster, perhaps it's that some voters will finally wake up to the nightmare of the last 5 years. I'm optimistic after seeing many journalists finally telling it as it is. I was particularly impressed with what Olbermann said on MSNBC:

http://onegoodmove.org/1gm/1gmarchive/002353.html

The government's response in the last week makes me truly scared about how much of a bluff this war on terrorism is. Are they really prepared for bio and nuclear weapons on our soil?? Or are they simply hoping that by simply saying "We are prepared" the terrorists won't bother? It's starting to feel like all the bravado of the last 4 years has been nothing but a big load of BS.

Dear Jim:

Just getting that, are you? It's interesting to me that so many folks just seem to be waking up to the fact that our government is utterly inept, and completely corrupt. George Bush is total failure not only as a leader, but as a human being. Every single thing he's done in 5 years has been a mistake. The only thing this government is interested in is the Haliburton contract in New Orleans and the Haliburton contract in Iraq. They've now moved beyond mere war profiteering to disaster profiteering. As our national deficit spirals out of control, and millions of jobs are lost, Haliburton has literally made hundreds and hundreds of billions of dollars off the war in Iraq, and will now make hundreds of billions more off the hurricane here in the U.S. Anyone who thinks this isn't true undoubtedly still believes we went to war with Iraq over WMDs and their involvement in the 9/11 attacks.

Josh

Name: Jeremy Milks
E-mail: admin@homecomingcreations.com

Dear Josh:

Hey, I just read one of your replies in which you said "You, like many other unintelligent, small-minded people, think it's appropriate to attack me or my work because I disagree with you about some other movie or TV show." then I thought back to the time I posted that TSNK...E and Alien Apocalypse weren't the best films ever made, and I realized that you may have though the same thing about me, so I figured I'd elaborate.

When I said that to you, I wasn't attacking you because I disagreed with you opinion on some of the movies/shows I like, and actually I wasn't attacking you at all, at the time I was just saying that to call so many other movies bad and to have a few bad movies under your own belt was kinda weird. But since reading that your pre production schedule on TSNK..E was short and that there weren't a whole lot of English speakers actors on AA, I retract my earlier statement. Now that I understand some of the limitations you had to deal with, I think that you actually did extremely well with what you have. I'd bow to you right now if you could see me (which you can't see me, right?).

In fact, after kinda-sorta getting to know you better, I retract most of my negative comments about you or your opinions. I think you and I both sometimes come off as more of a hardass than we actually are, which is sometimes helpful and sometimes hurtful.

Are we cool?

Jeremy Milks

Dear Jeremy:

Sure, we're cool. Look, anyone can say anything they want, stupid or smart, but I'll respond the way I respond. But if the topic is "Weeds," which I felt was a very poorly-written show, then the next thing I hear is that all of my movies suck because I didn't agree with some yo-yo's unexplained opinion, it might just set me off. And somebody tell me about a filmmaker who doesn't have at least a few bad films under their belts. William Wyler made a few stinkers, Hitchcock made quite a few stinkers, as did John Ford, John Huston, and everybody else. Does that mean that they couldn't comment about the movies they saw? Only non-filmmakers are allowed to comment on what they see? It's a ridiculous point of view. I have every bit as much right to comment on the movies and TV shows that I see as everybody else does, only I generally know why I liked or disliked what I saw. This idea that I ought to just be nice to everybody I find absurd, and I also think is part of the big problem going on in the arts. If you don't have taste, meaning a reasonably clear set of criteria for what you consider good or bad, then you'll never do anything that's any good yourself. Just being nice to everybody and all movies is a big cop-out.

Josh

Name: Mo
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

Sorry, I guess I asked the question wrong. What if Sony asked you to direct Spider-man 4 because, like, they wanted somebody who they knew could direct a film who maybe hadn't had the break they deserved?

Would you dirct it then?

Dear Mo:

It would never happen, so why think about it? Sony doesn't give a shit about anyone getting "the break they deserve." You're talking about a major corporation trusting someone with a $125 million investment, and it ain't going to a nobody like me. If they can't get an A-list director, then they'd get a B-list director, and I'm undoubtedly not even on the C-list. So, what are you really asking? Would I sell out all of my convictions for a million dollars? Possibly.

Josh

Name: Question
E-mail: ernstyanning@hotmail.com

<<British anti-aircraft gunners were shooting down German plans with some regularity. Also, German and Allied planes were battling all over the skies of England and the rest of Europe. There's nothing unbelievable about a German pilot coming down over England.>>

"I wanted to see how a bunch of empty-headed nitwits conducted themselves." "Nitwits, what are they?" -My Man Godfrey

I keep wording these wrong. When I said the actor I spotted in CITIZEN KANE was in ALICE ADAMS, I didn't mean it was the guy from CASABLANCA. And on this, I'm not saying planes didn't crash in London with German Officers, I'm asking where the hell was the plane? In the water? Did he crawl out of the water? Did he crash somewhere in the city and manage to run into Greer Garson's neighborhood without being seen? Shouldn't somebody of seen him or were they all hiding in the cellars during the bombing and he got lucky? Or am I just asking stupid questions, it was 4am when I watched it so everything came off as incredibly funny. The whole thing's just meant to be propaganda anyways. But the difference between this and Schindler's List is that Wyler wanted America to help out in the war, so he needed that one Evil Kraut, if there was more than one there would've been a sympathetic german. Schindler's List was made when there was no need for propaganda, just understanding.

Hey why don't you ask a film question? I won't know the answer but what the hell...

Dear Q:

If you bail out of a plane over Dover, England, which is right on the coast of the English Channel, there's a very good chance your plane is going to go down in the Channel. There are times in movies and stories, and I must say that I appreciate them, where absolutely everything doesn't need to be explained. My favroite example is in "Raging Bull," where Jake is very unhappily married, he meets cute Kathy Moriarity, they see each other several times over some unspecified amount of time, then they get married. Obviously, he must have gotten divorced, although we don't hear one word about it. If he's getting married again, then he must have gotten divorced. If the German pilot parachuted into a small British coastal town, and his plane isn't visible, then it probably went down in the Channel. Here's a movie question: Sony Studios in Culver City used to be MGM Studios. What was it before that?

Josh

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

Josh,

It's hard to believe that 4 years have passed since my dad's death and 9/11. My dad died 9 days before the attacks. This Sunday, September 11, I'll be down at Ground Zero, as I was at every other 9/11 anniversary. Since I'm not able to go to my Dad's gravesite, I use 9/11 to reflect on my dad and the 3,000 folks who died that sunny September day.

I've traveled through Ground Zero many, many times now. The oddest thing about it is that it looks like your typical construction site. You have to remind yourself that it's a mass grave, since many of the victims' remains were never found. Once again, all the names of the dead will be read off, as in the past. I'll be there, early Sunday monring. It's something I plan to do every year.

Four years...wow...

Dear Saul:

Yeah, four years later, we haven't caught Osama bin Laden, nor are we even really looking for him. We're stuck in the quagmire of a war in Iraq that nothing to do with it, that does not avenge the 9/11 attacks, and pointlessly attacking Iraq was the greatest gift we could have given bin Laden which has made al Quaeda ten times stronger. Our government's doing great regarding 9/11.

Josh

Name: Ron
E-mail:

Whoa Josh, I never attacked you personally, but you call me "dumb as rocks" what does that say about you? What I was saying is that you do have to suspend disbelief a bit when watching TV and film. Seriously, take any of your films or the TV shows you've worked on...Lunatics, Thou Shall not Kill Except, Running Time, If I Had a Hammer, Xena, Hercules, Jack of all Trades. If those aren't some of the most unrealistic pieces of crap I don't know what is. So, you keep on watching and making your unrealistic (less than B) masterpieces. I'll take Weeds any day over anything you've done. It surprises me that you think you have such refined taste but yet when you write screenplays your work doesn't even come close to measuring up to anything you admire.

Dear Ron:

Whoa, Ron, yes you did attack me personally because I didn't agree with you about a silly TV show. And if you think you didn't, then you're dumber than I previously suspected. What does it say about me when I label that sort of behavior as "dumb as a box of rocks?" It says I can spot dumb behavior when I see it. You think "Weeds" is good, that's terrific, but I don't agree with you. But as it's occurred many, many times over the years, I then give my reasons why I don't like something, and whoever it is comes back with "Your movies suck" or "You're a bitter asshole," as opposed to here are my reasons why I like it. This concept of the "suspension of disbelief" is so overused as to be nearly meaningless now. If you're telling a realistic, present-day story about people living in an American suburb, and the lead character is a human being selling pot to other human beings, why should I have to suspend my disbelief? There's no Munchkins or super-villians or super-heroes or monsters. The only reason for me to suspend my disbelief is in regard to the unbelievable writing, and that I won't do.

Josh

Name: George Pilalidis
E-mail: agamemmnon@msn.com

Dear Josh.

You are welkome,I think josh that this is the evolution of hard rock, thank you for my picture on you q+a,i can't write more becouse i have to go again to Barcelona, George

Dear George:

You're undoubtedly right, and I just didn't go with the flow. My taste in rock music derailed somewhere in the '70s. Bruce Springsteen carried me through the '80s, and I've just been nostalgic ever since. Have fun in Barcelona.

Josh

Name: Mike
E-mail:

Heya Josh,

Something that nobody seems to be giving much thought to is this - remember when Florida was hit by the succession of hurricanes in 2004? The harm done there was far less than the $100,000,000+ in damage and hundreds or thousands of deaths which Katrina caused, yet Bush and his people hit the ground running, with Bush making visits in, what, less than 48 hrs? FEMA's response was pretty tight then - tight enough that the now (and justly) maligned FEMA head Michael Brown was apparently considered as a candidate to take over the Department of Homeland Security.

Why do you suppose this was? Could it have been because Florida was a swing state in a very tight election year? Not to mention the fact that his brother is governor. I think this makes the pathetic reaction of Bush and his cronies all the more reprehensible and criminal. Sorry Mississippi, Alabama, and Lousiana - no political importance = no timely action by Il Presidente. Hope ya'll stocked up on water wings and canteens.

Also I love how his mom claims that the hurricane is "working out rather well" for the evacuees of New Orleans. Why don't you spend 5 days neck deep in sewage and dead bodies after watching your friends and family die before your very eyes and then tell us things are "working out rather well", you useless, withered twat. If this cold-hearted bitch's idea of "doing well" is exchanging all your worldly posessions and possibly the lives of those closest to you for some bottled water and a cot in the Houston fucking Astrodome, then Gawd help us all. Says a lot about their plans for the non-filthy-rich citizenry of this country, doesn't it?

Anyway, let's end this rant before it gets out of control. As always keep up the good work, and let us know when the book is on sale - I have it on the Christmas list for a number of people.

Aus!

Mike

Dear Mike:

I'm with you. I personally think that Bush and Cheney didn't attend to New Orleans until they had the Haliburton contract in place and were clear about how they would be making a profit from the whole thing.

Josh

Name: Beth
E-mail: oddlief@gmail.com

Dear Josh,

I noticed that you have seen "Arsenic and Old Lace". I have seen this play presented twice by two different casts in two different theatres. I would be interested to know if the movie is worth seeing. Did all the action still center around the Living/Dining room? I was also going to suggest a movie that you might want to see. "The Secret of Roan Inish" is a very good movie. Initially it may seem like it is a children's fairytale, which to some degree an Irish folktale does play a part, but develops nicely into a story about family life.

Cheers,
Beth

Dear Beth:

I have actually started watching "Roan Inish" twice, and bailed on both occasions. I must say, I find John Sayles to be a dreadful bore. I bailed on his "Los Babies" thing, too. I did sort of enjoy "Sunshine State," although it's ultimately pointless. Meanwhile, "Arsenic and Old Lace" is all right, but certainly lesser Frank Capra, and yes, it mostly takes place on the one set. Cary Grant is good as always, but it's a sad shame they couldn't get Boris Karloff, and Raymond Massey doesn't cut it. It's also a bit too long, as well.

Josh

Name: Question
E-mail: ernstyanning@hotmail.com

Dear Josh:

In MRS. MINIVER, there's a scene where Mrs. M. finds a downed german in her bushes... um... okay, where's the plane supposed to be... in the water? What is this supposed to be THE SEVENTH CROSS in reverse or something, the nazi's going to try and make a run for it out of Britain? Lovely cinematography though.

P.S. HARE HUNTER FIELD!

Dear Q:

British anti-aircraft gunners were shooting down German plans with some regularity. Also, German and Allied planes were battling all over the skies of England and the rest of Europe. There's nothing unbelievable about a German pilot coming down over England.

Josh

Name: Darin
E-mail: none

Dear Josh:

As far as I know, seperation of church and state comes from the first amendment of the Bill of Rights:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

I don't know if it's anywhere else in the founding documents, but that first line is what comes to mind anytime I hear seperation of church and state mentioned. No question, no need to post this if twenty other people post the same thing.

Darin

Dear Darin:

But that doesn't say a word about the separation of church and state, nor does it even imply it. There is nothing in the Consistution or the Bill of Rights stating that there's a separation of church and state. It's kind of shocking, actually.

Josh

Name: Ron
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

Are you serious about not liking Weeds because you don't think it is realistic enough? All of the characters are intentionally overboard, that's why it's so damn funny. Your complaint is like saying you can't like "Xena" because women couldn't possibly kick that many guys' asses like that, or not liking "I Shall Not Kill Except" becuase c'mon marines taking on a group of fucked up Charles Manson group? Or like not liking "Running Time" because of the cheesy yearbook (yeah look I signed your yearbook twenty years ago) so man like your becoming a prostitute was such a waste of time because I really did like you. Weeds is majorly funny...you are missing out Josh.

Dear Ron:

Different strokes for different folks. I didn't find any of it funny, and the premise seemed stupid. You, like many other unintelligent, small-minded people, think it's appropriate to attack me or my work because I disagree with you about some other movie or TV show. This shows you have little to no capacity to debate a subject, and are probably just as dumb as box of rocks, which is undoubtedly why you enjoy stupid TV shows.

Josh

Name: Mo
E-mail:

Hey man, what's up? I got two questions for ya.

1. Say, when Spider-man 4 comes along, Sam Raimi thinks about directing it, then says "You know what, I love the character, but I've done all I can do with this series." and then the executives say "Who would be a good replacement?" and Raimi were to reply "You know, Josh Becker would be perfect for this gig." Would you do Spider-man 4. I know you don't like comic book movies and you think sequels are evil, but would you take the job if nothing else than for the money?

2. What do you think of high definition? Do you prefer it over film, or film over it? Have you had any experience with HD?

Dear Mo:

I haven't shot HD yet, but no, I don't like it more than film. It certainly doesn't look as good, nor does it have the latitude. Also, if you'd like to sell your movie once it's done, your chances are about 90% better of making a sale if it's on film. Meanwhile, Sam Raimi doesn't choose who directs Spider-Man movies if he doesn't, he's just a director-for-hire, they're not his films. And why on earth would Sam, who actually knows me and understands that I don't like comic books, ever consider me for such a gig? He wouldn't. It's a ridiculous scenario.

Josh

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

Josh,

Does CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer have issues with black people??

Find out for yourself:

http://newsbusters.org/node/841

I haven't laughed that hard in ages. What a moron. What-he hasn't seen black people before??

Don't you just LOVE that cutting-edge reporting on Katrina?? :)

Dear Saul:

Amusing. Bruce, BTW, does an excellent Wolf Blitzer imitation and has his weird breathing down perfectly.

Josh

Name: andrew patchett
E-mail: andrewpatchett_4@hotmail.com

Dear Josh:

me and my friend was wondering how long xena was on for

Dear andrew:

Xena was on for 6 seasons. 1996-2001.

Josh

Name: Kaya
E-mail: kaylar029@sympatico.ca

Josh,

The federal government's slow reponse to this catastrophe has been OUTRAGEOUS. I'm happy to see CNN harp on this point over and over. Finally they're growing a spine. There had better be a Katrina Commission over this.

What I don't understand is that FEMA was bracing for a Category 5 hurricane to directly hit New Orleans as late as Sunday morning. Shouldn't they have had thousands of troops and personnel at the ready by then? This hurricane did not come as a "surprise". They were bracing for the worst!

Besides the federal government's slow response, a large responsibility has to go to them because of decisions Bush made earlier. Like practically dismantling FEMA and focusing on "terrorism". Like sending half the Louisiana and Mississippi National Guard troops to protect oil in Iraq. That's one thing they not talking about much. The troops and equipment weren't there because they were missing in Iraq. Upgrading the levee system project was halted because Bush slashed millions of dollars from it.

I read this quote on another site but it is very appropos, especially in this situation.

"If we talk of accountability too soon, it's called finger-pointing. If we talk about accountability too late, we're told to 'Get over it.' Tell me, Mr. President, when exactly is the moment for accountability?"
- Brad Miller (D - North Carolina)

Dear Kaya:

Damn right! This government has made "Lack of Accountability" their motto. Their coat of arms should be a frightened shaking little guy hiding behind a bush. Or is that a Bush? Meanwhile, I was just reading the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, and when decsribing the duties of the militia, or national guard, it doesn't say a thing about leaving the confines of this nation. That's what the marines, the army and the navy do, not the national guard. Also, does anyone out there have any idea where we get the idea that there's actually a "separation of church and state" in this country? There is nothing in the Constitution or the Bill of Rights that says anything about a separation of church and state. The only reference my sister and I could find was "The Danbury Letter," a letter written by Thomas Jefferson in 1802 to a Baptist church in Danbury, CT, where he says there ought to be "a wall separating church and state," but that certainly doesn't make it any kind of a law.

Josh

Name: tom
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

a few months ago i wrote my first script and copywrote it. now i have been thinking of rewriting some things and adding a few new sceens. i also think i have found a better title. if i changed the title would i have to copywrite it again?

thanks

Dear tom:

No. If the story is reasonably the same, and the characters have the same names, there's no need. Once you've got a copyright on a script, you don't have to keep doing it for successive drafts.

Josh

Name: DS
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

What do you think of Woody Allen's "Manhattan" (besides it being the last Allen film you like other than "Husbands and Wives")?

Also, you said you liked "Blow-Up" and "The Passenger," but they aren't on your favorites list (yet, on your viewing list it lists that you saw each three times in a theater). Do you now like them enough? Take care.

Dear DS:

I like "Manhattan," and it looks great, but Woody's in mid-air jumping the shark at that point, as far as I'm concerned. This was his first film without editor Ralph Rosenblum, and it's his first movie that just seems flabby and not tightly edited. The montages at the beginning and at the end to the Gershwin music are just flat-out poorly edited. Diane Keaton is wonderful, but Micheal Murphy seems like a true second choice instead of Tony Roberts. Regarding Antonioni's "Blow-Up" and "The Passenger," which are the two films of his I can bear, I certainly don't love either one, but I enjoyed both of them for what they were. That list is of movies that I actively like, and I'm reasonably apathetic about Antonioni at his very best.

Josh

Name: Holly Bramwell
E-mail: hobnobho@hotmail.com

Dear Josh:

Hey im 16 and i live in england, well first this is an honour as im a big fan of your work, im learning editing with final cut pro at the moment and as i am mad about film i am TRYING to get into as many good film collages as i can so maybe if i make it i could work with ya, lol just kiding, i dowt il ever get that chance, but anyway, i was just wondering if HOPEFULLY when rob tapert gets the rights from universal studios he will make a xena movie, (which should be amazing) will you have any part in the movie? If its rude asking that then i apologise Anyway thankyou for allowing us to write to you and good luck in the future.
holly x

Dear Holly:

Rob getting the rights from Universal to make a Xena doesn't seem like it's going to happen, although you never know. I think that the only way Universal will go for it is if they cast younger actors as Xena and Gabrielle, which Rob won't do. Yes, he and I have discussed it a couple of times, but in the vaguest possible terms.

Josh

Name: chris
E-mail: shenaniganz@hotmail.com

Hey Josh,

I just ordered a copy of "hammer" and was wondering if you could sign it before you send it, it would be great if you did :) Unfortunately, since it is part of my birthday present, i can't watch "hammer" til my birthday which is the 11th of october. I just wanted to order it now incase you run out of copies (you keep saying you're down to your last box!).

how many do you have left anyway?

thanks.

Dear chris:

Thanks for buying one, and I'd be happy to sign it. I'm down to 15 tapes left, and I'll probably keep the last five. I hope you like it.

Josh

Name: Duffy
E-mail: g_duffy@bellsouth.net

Josh- living on the Space Coast, we were subjected to Frances and Jean last year. We were fortunate to have been spared the horror that is going on now in New Orleans and in Mississippi and for that are very thankful. As you know Jeb is governer here and wanted to see what you thought of him. I had wondered if he had presidential ambitions but after what his brother's reign has brought I doubt it. What do you think? I know he stepped up to the plate last year when we were the state with emergencies, but as to his political style I'm admittedly clueless.
Thanks, Duffy

Dear Duffy:

Jeb was in the middle of that whole election fiasco in Florida in 2000, so I don't trust him, either.

Josh

Name: Joe M.
E-mail: joe@kickassmysticninjas.com

Hey, Josh.

Thought I'd chime in with a few things.

1. The blow job scene in Brown Bunny, and the sex scenes in 9 songs are, in fact, real and filmed pornographically explicit (minus the histrionics). After Brown Bunny came out, Chloë Sevigny, who performed the scene , had a lot of deals she was working on fall through.

2. In answer to a previews poster's question as to why there aren't very many good movies about sex, I think the answer goes beyond the fact they are filmed poorly. I think sex tends to distract from the plot, not help it. I think the consequences of sex can be terrific fuel for a story... someone has an affair and is caught, someone has an affair and isn't caught, but the guilt is driving him mad, someone has sex and finds out she's pregnant, and on and on. But how often are the details of the sex act itself important to the story? Sex scenes always seem gratuitous to me. Plus, they're often filmed badly.

3. I'm trying to figure out how the writing in Hollywood can be so god-awful, when the writing on some televison has been steller, and wonderful new novels are being written all the time. Could it be because in television, the showrunner is usually the head writer, and in novels, of course, every word is penned by a single person? In movies, the writer is on the lowest rung on the ladder, unless he is also the director or producer. I've read dozens of interviews with book authors and screenwriters who handed over a perfectly good story, only to watch it butchered in front of their eyes, and there was nothing they could do about it. Do you think movies would be better if the screenwriter had more power in the decision making process?

Dear Joe:

Absolutely! Which isn't to say that scripts don't need rewrites, but writers should not be compelled to have to take notes from every jerk who works at the studio. I just read a bio of Sam Goldwyn, who had more respect for writers than most producers. He often made deals with big writers which included the provision that their scripts would not be altered, and thus Goldwyn made a lot of very good movies. Not one word of Robert Sherwood's script for "The Best Years of Our Lives" was changed during shooting (director William Wyler added one scene, which he had to get Sherwood's permission to shoot, the scene in the dismantled airplane), and it stands as one of the great movies ever. Goldwyn also frequently hired Lillian Hellman to write his scripts, then just let her do it. That's my theory with any creative person on my productions -- hiring them is my creative move, now let them do their best work without interference. But putting a script through a committee process will NEVER make it better, and Hollywood pretty much demands it. Interestingly, since the turnaround on TV is so quick there simply isn't enough time to mess with the writers as much.

Josh

Name: Cajun Jack
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

You obviously didn't watch during Hurricane Andrew with Homestead. It took the government FOUR days before help got to them and the area was far far less than 90,000 square miles. We have all been so focused on New Orleans that we forget that the entire state of Mississippi as well as Louisana and Alabama were involved in this storm... Not to mention that Katrina had already hit Florida who was also going through this process....

Andrew and Homestead was made up of white people!!!!!! It took the government the same amount of time to help them as it did to help the folks from Katrina. What has happened is a tradegy.... and the largest that has ever hit our country. New Orleans was not the only place hit and not the only survivors... I personally am tired of everyone moaning and groaning when we should be coming together and do what we can to help...

There were plenty of whites, cajuns, rich and poor.. this was a tremendous tradegy that happened to AMERICANS. This has nothing to do with what color they are.

Should there be a better way to get to people in a tradegy ...yes... but to place blame is a greater tradegy....

Dear CJ:

Yes, but there was a bureaucratic tangle that did cause a few day delay.

Josh

Name: Donna Rondeau
E-mail: dlrondeau@npgcable.com

Dear Josh: Question in regards to Xena (Lucy Lawless song). I would like to know what language "Xena" sang her Burial song in. And if you know what the words are. Where perhaps, I can find this information.
Thank you.

Dear Donna:

Check around on the Xena sites.

Josh

Name: Greene
E-mail: greene_chs@hotmail.com

Josh

I had told a friend about a great little short I'd seen called "Iota" which uses almost no dialogue, but makes up for it by having these subperb actors use only their facial features to communicate. It's about a father mourning the loss of one of his daughters, while his other can only speak through sign language. I was told that high concepts like 'no dialogue' was arty, but I truly think that it's better to trim as much fat from a film as possible rather than have idiotic verbiage. Check out Iota here:
http://www.tiscali.co.uk/entertainment/film/shortfilms/raindance.html

Dear Brett:

The film was okay. It's nicely made, and I admire a filmmaker taking on a story that's mainly silent, but I wasn't moved as I was clearly supposed to be. I've brought it up before, but there was a Hallmark commercial from years ago that was less than half the length of "Iota," and it did move me. It's Christmas time, and it's a family of a young mother, father, and a four- or five-year-old girl. The parents are clearly having marital troubles and are snipping at each other. Meanwhile, they are preparing for Christmas, putting up the tree, hanging stockings, putting a wreath on the door, and the little girl keeps trying to help her dad and he keeps ignoring her. While he's putting up the wreath, she shows up with a wrench, and he says, "I don't need that." Finally, as he's going up the stairs that night, he hears the little girl in her bedroom praying, and her final prayer is that she hopes her dad will pay some attention to her. He looks utterly stricken, goes into her room, hugs her and says he loves her. The end. The problem for me with "Iota" is that I never got the sense of loss, nor a clear understanding of why she stopped talking. I think they needed more of a set-up before saying, "One year later." Even in an 11-minute movie you need a clear Act I set-up.

Josh

Name:
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

I happened upon your review of Almost Famous. Have you watched Annie Hall lately? You might do well to watch the scene with 'the man in line' pontificating about Marshall McLuhan's work. You might learn something.

Dear Too Gutless to Give a Name:

And what do you suppose I'd learn? How to discuss Federico Fellini in a movie line? Or do you think that movie reviews should just avoid opinions? If you think "Almost Famous" is worth defending, then defend it. Just like Woody Allen says in that scene, for folks like you I wish I had a sock filled with horse manure.

Josh

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

Josh,

I hate to defend Bush on anything, but the only thing I think the Federal government might have done was stage relief efforts earlier, perhaps in Texas. Mobilizing at the Federal level, particularly if you're talking National Guard, just takes a while. Guard members have other lives, have to be called in, etc. And, honestly, if something like this had occurred in a more generally affluent area, White or Black, more people would have evacuated. Poverty in the area is a complicating factor, irrespective of race.

I know a lot of pwople have been throwing out race as a factor in the response, but I don't think that Bush, for all of his many flaws, is a tremendous racist. He is too jingoistic for that. I think he has simplistic views of much of the world, but I don't think "White-Black" is one of them.

I agree with you about the leadership issue, however. Clinton, for all of his problems, would have moved into the Superdome the second night, as soon as it was clear he wasn't going to get hit by rising water. Bush also, two years ago, stopped funding for an upgrade to the levee system which may well have prevented much of the damage. The truth is, though, that New Orleans has been sinking relative to the lake and the Gulf because it is a flood plain which no longer gets floods. The situation is untenable.

Finally, in addition to Oklahoma, which Beth mentioned, Kansas offered assistance the day following the storm and has about fifteen hundred Guardsmen down there currently. We're also taking about five-thousand refugees; my wife is part of the triage team here in Wichita. Katrina has demonstrated again that Americans are lousy at planning for things but great at reacting to them.

John

PS I've since read other reviews of "Thunder" and have come to the conclusion that reviewers are jumping on a bandwagon, much as they did with "Gigli". After all, it isn't as though "Stealth" is likely better than "Thunder" but reviews for it have been favorable. I don't buy it.

Dear John:

You should have seen New Orleans' mayor on "60 Minutes" last night becaue he was furious. And I'm sorry, I don't buy that explanation. That's like saying the fire department didn't show up at a house fire for five days because fire fighters have other lives and were busy. The issue, as explained by New Orleans' mayor, was a federal law imposed by Homeland Security saying that federal troops can't be used until the president agrees that the local authorities can't handle the job. Bush didn't do that for five days. The delay was strictly based on bureaucratic red-tape which could have easily been cut through by Bush, had he been paying attention.

Josh

Name: Evan
E-mail: Evancathcart@aol.com

Dear Josh:

So you didn't like War of the Worlds? hahahaha. but dude, you made Alien Apocolypse. Just shut up.

P.S. Running Time will always rock ;)

Dear Evan:

What has one film got to do with the other? No, you shut up.

Josh

Name: Question
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

A few questions about some films I ran across. Which is the better version ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT the 1930s version that Junior made or the 1970s tv movie with Ernest Borgnine? Are Sahara (old version) or Blockhouse with Peter Sellers any good? Ironically, in reference to Hurricane Katrina, GONE WITH THE WIND is playing at the local theater. What the hell is up with that scene when Scarlett walks out into the town and everyone is going crazy riding their carriages off, she stops to talk to the big black guy and in the middle of all this crisis, he and his buddies have got a big grin on their face. Stereotyping is one thing, but goddamn, to do it to the point where it goes against the present mood?!!

Dear Q:

I've never seen the reamke of "All Quiet," with Richard Thomas in the Lew Ayres part. It's not one of my favrote films, but it was a very realistic, adult story for Hollywood in 1930, and well-made that early into sound. Meanwhile, that is a particularly weird scene GWTW, then Big George comes back and saves her. I would expect that it's in the book, which I have never finished reading (Pulitzer Prize-winner 1936). "Sahara" with Bogart is a good film, but I'd never even heard of "The Blockhouse" until you just brought it up, and Maltin gives it one and half stars, which, oddly is one step above BOMB.

Josh

Name: Beth
E-mail: oddlief@gmail.com

Dear Josh,

You would think that one could get cable where I live, but unfortunately I don't live in Oklahoma City proper. I don't even live in Edmond, OK, proper, which is the closest town to where I live. The house is less than a mile shy of where the cable company has stopped its line. And as to getting some sort of dish network, one is pretty SOL there because most of the companies are unable to give you the basic television networks. I will rent Vanity fair and be happy or not see it all. What did you do while you were in Oklahoma City?

Cheers,
Beth

Dear Beth:

Just traveling through. Were it me, I'd still get a satellite TV system, even without local channels, which I never watch, anyway.

Josh

Name: Trey Smith
E-mail: cobra_commander_of_cobra@yahoo.com

Dear Josh:

Since so many people have been asking when "Alien Apocalypse" is going to be released on DVD I thought I might as well write in so you can tell them. Maybe even put up a link on your website to preorder it?

"Alien Apocalypse" is going on sale October 4th and is being offered on Amazon for Pre-Order at the low price of $11.23.

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B000AQ69P4/ref=pd_sim_dv_1/102-8631171-5408101?v=glance&s=dvd

Also, a quick question since this is a Q&A. When you are shooting a scene and wanted to make the camera seem to "pass through a closed door" while pulling back, what would be a good way to create a "hidden cut"?

I have the shot planned out as such: One character is being attacked in the bathroom while his friend sits across the hall from the closed door not doing anything. The camera pulls away from the man in the bathroom and "goes through" the door, it then pans around to his friend in the oposite room.

Since I'm working towards learning how to figure such things out myself, a push in the right direction would be more than enough. However, if you feel it's too difficult for someone with my limited experience to figure it out and make it look good, a full answer will be mucho appreciated.

Thanks in advance!

Dear Trey:

I don't know if you're envisioning something more difficult, but the way I did that in "Hammer" (which is moving forward "though" a door), was to pushin on the door as tight as we could go, then open the door, back the camera up a little and start the push again inside the room. When the two shots were dissolved together in post, it pushes twoard the door, then as the door is filling the frame, but still moving forward, it dissolves "through" the door into the shot pushing into the room. So, for your shot you'd do the reverse, pull back to the doorway, cut, reset outside the closed door, start in tight on the door and pull back, then put the dissolve in while both shots are still moving. Try to make both camera moves the same speed. Thanks for the link.

Josh

Name: Beth
E-mail: oddlief@gmail.com

Dear Josh,

In my last note I stated that I wanted to see Vanity Fair when it comes to Oklahoma City. Well, call me the fool if you will, I glazed right over the release date when I went to investigate the movie. It may have come and gone here, though I doubt it as we have such a limited amount of movies that ever make it here. I use to regularly watch previews on the the apple website, but then found myself disappointed because most of the films I would like to see would never come to Oklahoma. I think I will go and rent Vanity Fair, thanks again for the suggestion.

Beth

Dear Beth:

I saw it on cable. You can get cable and satellite TV in Oklahoma City, don't kid me, I've been there.

Josh

Name: Beth
E-mail: oddlief@gmail.com

Dear Josh,

Thanks for the suggestion on seeing Vanity Fair. If it makes it to Oklahoma City, I do most certainly want to see it. Moondance is by far my favorite Van Morrison album too. Something that I love about his music is that you can hear it again and again and never tire of it. To me, the same can not be said about popular music of my generation, for instance rap. And one last thing, though it isn't really being reported on a global scale, the citizens and non-profit groups of surrounding states like Oklahoma and Texas, are reaching out to help the people who have been displaced by the hurricane. I thought it important that it be noted as such because it seems as if you might think nothing is being done for these poor people.

Cheers,
Beth

Dear Beth:

Texas reached out right away. People were getting bussed to Houston within 24 hours. The Mayor of Houston understood the magnitude of what was happening, but the federal government, as usual, did not.

Josh

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

Josh,

I hope you've got room for another of my rants, because I'm so pissed off about the screw-ups over Katrina that I want to just S-C-R-E-A-M.

First, let me start off by saying-

I DON'T TRUST **ANY** POLITICAL PARTY.

There is PLENTY of blame to go all around. There are folks who are blaming Bush and his administration for the screw-up regarding Katrina. But it goes F-A-R beyond that.

When the hell was Hurricane Camille?? 1969?? Camille had winds of 200 mph. It was the most powerful hurricane to strike the U.S. The levee system, as I understand it, was built when I was born (I'm 40 years old). It was designed for a Catergory 3 hurricane-and Camille was a Catergory FIVE. After Camille, you think someone would have gotten off their asses and done SOMETHING about the levee system to improve it, right?? RIGHT??

Oh nooooooooo.

Foot-dragging, red tape, lack of proper education, indifference, self-interest...I could go on and on AND ON. WE'VE HAD FORTY FUCKING YEARS TO DEAL WITH THIS FUCKING PROBLEM. NO ONE is blameless here. New Orleans is a fantastically poor city. Plus, many of the other areas hit by Camille weren't that well off either. Education in schools and PSAs would have helped so much, as well as finding ways to help poor folks evacuate and reorganize in case of such a disaster.

Any criticism overseas about why we weren't ready is spot on. My goodness, we've seen stories of hurricanes, tropical cyclones and typhoons that have caused massive loss of life all over the world throughout these past 40 years. The most recent one I remember was a hurricane a few years ago that hit somewhere in Central America. It was similar to Katrina in strength. 10,000 people died.

But who gives a shit, right? It's just a bunch of poor, wet-back Spics, right? Who gives a flying fuck? It didn't happen to US. It WON'T happen to US.

But it DID happen to us. We didn't think the bullet would strike us. After all-40 years, right?

You know, many folks overseas have criticized the U.S. for being arrogant and short-sighted. How right they were. And we are paying for it. Sure-preparation doesn't guarantee anything. But the fact is, WE DIDN'T MAKE AN EFFORT TO TRY. Not even after all those storms that struck throughout the world which killed tens of thousands.

The Bush Administration does share blame, but to lay it just at their feet is not looking at the big picture. A bunch of people fucked up to get us into this current mess-this includes BOTH Democrats and Republicans.

And countless thousands of innocent people are now paying the price. I'm amazed Lucy Lawless got away with her life.

Saul

Dear Saul:

She's lucky. If you'll recall some pretty big hurricanes struck Florida last year, with at least one coming ashore near New Orleans, and all of this was brought up as a distinct possibility then. But lack of preparedness on the part of public works and infrastructure is one thing, having enough national guard around when need them, plus having the leadership capability to employ them when necessary, in a timely fashion, is yet another thing. You begin to seriously evacuate a disaster area ASAP, not five days later when Geraldo Rivera pitches a fit on TV. Just like the seven minutes Bush sat there after being told his country was under attack, this is yet another example of Bush's inability to make a command decision when it's needed. His brother Jeb was out there with the Florida hurricane victims the next day directing relief efforts, for chissakes! Showing up five days later is just to see the carnage.

Josh

Name: Darryl Mesaros
E-mail: simonferrer@sbcglobal.net

Dear Josh,

In response to the talk about the situation in New Orleans and Mississippi, I thought the issue with looting would be obvious: you can't help anyone when some yahoo is shooting at you. As for the looting itself, taking food, water and medicine when there is no other way to obtain it is entirely understandable, and would be better classified as scrounging. Taking jewelry, TVs, DVD players and other non-essentials, especially in an area where there is no electricity to work the electrical items, is looting, plain and simple. Taking guns out of the Walmart and robbing people of food and water at gunpoint, as well as shooting at relief workers, is brigandage. Relief supplies can only be mobilized so quickly, and the states are taking up the slack of the local administration in that area, but widespread lawlessness and looting can only make the problem worse.
I can't speak for FEMA (except to say that in any emergency, FEMA is not the immediate response agency), and the performance of the local authorities in this crisis seems deplorable, but the civilian and military departments of the other states have more than answered the call. I just spent the last two days loading pallets of bottled water onto trucks, and helped mobilize a military police company to deploy down south to help the situation. In the last few days, the office of the governor, and the Connecticut Army and Air National Guard have moved tons of relief material (water, rations, clothing, tents, blankets, medicine, etc.) south, either by truck or heavy-lift cargo plane to airfields and staging points in Louisiana and Mississippi. 90% of this material was donated by businesses and private citizens, the other 10% coming from various state agencies and military mobilization stockpiles. As we speak, the donations are continuing to pour in to the armories in Hartford, New Haven, Waterbury, and New London, as well as at the airports and police stations.
As for the President, what else could he say in this situation? "We're totally fucked?" "This is deplorable, and it's so-and-so's fault?" As the nation's leader, he has to try his best to maintain morale in a dire situation; to act in any other manner would be irresponsible. Too much name-calling and finger-pointing has been done already down south, halting relief efforts while the bodies continue to pile up.
This whole crisis has reaffirmed my belief in American generosity (I've seen firsthand how much people are willing to give to help fellow Americans), but has started to collapse my belief in American ingenuity, self-reliance, and self-responsibility. Granted, there isn't much the hurricane victims can do to improve their situation, but what little they can do remains largely undone. Out of the crowds of people screaming "When's the government gonna help us?" "When's the government gonna help us?" maybe one in a thousand has had the wherewithall to string up a blanket to keep the sun off their head or try to get survivors organized and assets pooled; the others are helpless as babies. The frightening trend here is not to rely on helping yourself at all, but to give up more and more responsibility for your own life to the government. This was the worst storm to hit the Gulf Coast in over a hundred years, and no government could've been adequately prepared to respond to a crisis of this scope. To a certain extent, the people of these regions, prone to flooding and violent hurricanes as they are, had the responsibility to be more personally prepared, even to the simple extent of having a flashlight, blanket, some food and water in a bag if they had to evacuate. Ultimately, no one is responsible for your life and survival but yourself. Our people are largely generous and willing to help by nature, but you have to meet them halfway.

Darryl

Dear Darryl:

Five days was a long time without any relief; long enough so that possibly thousands more are dead than actually needed to be had the federal government gotten on this right away, and they must own up to that. New Orleans is a major city in the most advanced, powerful nation in the world, and the federal government didn't actually start doing anything until it became a poltical issue because people were screaming on TV. I repeat, had this occurred in a rich white area, there would have been a serious evacuation happening within 24 hours. Those rich white cocksuckers in Washington would not allow other rich white cocksuckers to drown, but they won't make a serious attempt to save poor black people until they feel their approval ratings slipping.

Josh

Name: stacey
E-mail: staci_3088@hotmail.com

Hey josh, just a quick question, what would be the lowest job or position on a film set? The stuff that any stupid person could do?
stacey

Dear stacey:

I'm sorry, but no job can be done well by stupid people. The lowest job on a film set is a production assistant (or PA). It is said that a crew is only as good as it's PAs, just like an army is only as good as the enlisted soldiers. To be a good PA (and I was a good PA), you have to be paying attention all the time. Check out my essay, "Being a PA."

Josh

Name: Nick el Ass
E-mail: therealnickelass@gmail.com

"I'd say the neo-cons have their heads up their asses. They seriously believe that stopping looting, when people are starving, is more important than helping people. To Republicans business is always more important than people. Hell, look at Iraq. 125,000 people are dead, but Haliburton and Kellogg, Brown & Root are doing great. Right after the 9/11 bombings, what was Bush's message to his country? Keep shopping."

Josh,

Its kind of a funny thing you brought up Haliburton in your comments to uh, Lee i think it was. I just heard that they will be in charge the debris clean up and power resteration Mississippi, New Orleans. Now i wonder why every time something happens they are the ones making money off of it, hmmmmm.

I also wanted to get your opinion on this article and a few other things. http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2005/09/01/photo_controversy/index_np.html. It is about the major discrepancy when it comes to the way the Associated Press has been covering footage of people taking things like food and other much needed supplies. It seems that everytime they have a picture of an african american doing it they are "looters" and when its a white person they are "finding" it. What the fuck is wrong with people? And why does it make any fucking difference these people have nothing left and they need supplies to survive. And how long is it going to take for people to get off there ass's and really help these poor people in New Orleans and elsewhere out?


you opinion will be greatly appreciated.

Dear Nick:

I have no doubt that if it had been Matha's Vineyard or Kennebunkport that had been hit with a hurricane, Bush and the federal government would have had military seaplanes and CH-46 cargo helicopters there that day to evacuate the rich white people and drop supplies. Because it was poor black people Bush arrived five days later to praise FEMA, hug negroes, and say perhaps his most idiotic line yet, "We will succeed," this is as bodies are floating by and rotting in front of the convention center. Succeed? You already failed. So you're just getting the idea that the media in this country is utterly biased, does not report the full story on almost anything, and is entirely controlled by huge conglomerates that are so busy kissing the government's ass that they can't risk telling the truth and pissing them off? Until this corrupt government is out of power, you can expect to not hear the full or honest story of anything. Meanwhile, am I supposed to be impressed that a couple of reporters in New Orleans got upset enough by the death and devastation to actually speak their minds? That's what reporters are supposed to do, not twist the facts to fit their employer's political agendas. Did you hear any TV news channel (or newspaper) dispute the government's completely false findings on WMDs, when Colin Powell got up in front of the UN security council and lied through his teeth, to his eternal dishonor? Did any news show dispute the ten thousand times the government has connected Iraq and 9/11? Until this horrid government is eradicated, don't expect to hear any truth about anything.

Josh

Name: Beth
E-mail: oddlief@gmail.com

Dear Josh,

First, someone has previously recommended that you go and see the movie "The 40-year old Virgin". I just went and saw it myself and would have to most definitely recommend you don't go and waste your time or money with this movie. It had that faint sense of being another Saturday Night Live skit taken, expanded, and ruined. It was really boring. There are a few okay jokes. That is the most I can positive about it. When it comes to "Delovely", I would recommend you borrow it from someone (that way you don't feel cheated out of any money in case you don't like it) and watch it. The story line is fairly interesting with a lot of good interaction between the characters. Yes, the director does break in with a few look at me moments, but it is far less than is in "Frida". And I being a continual optimist (yes I know how sick), can't necessarily agree that your life is so boring that they wouldn't make a movie out of it. Especially if some part of it has already made it into one. I really like Indian Summer, it is a good movie that makes me think of my own good experiences at camp. Well, I hope good luck befalls you.

Cheers,
Beth

Dear Beth:

I'd rather watch anything directed by Julie Taymor than anything directed by producer Irwin Winkler. Taymor knows how film goes together and has a sense of the visual (even if she has yet to prove she can tell a decent story), Winkler is a producer with no visual sense at all. Meanwhile, there was no chance I was going to see "The 40-Year Old Virgin" anyway. I did just see "Vanity Fair," and I thought Reese Witherspoon did a pretty good job, although the British accent was a bit beyond her, and Mira Nair did a nice job directing. Although those 17th and 18th century dramas have a tendency to be a bit sticky, they frequently have a lot of interesting characters, as does "Vanity Fair." It is, BTW, a remake of the 1935 film, "Becky Sharp" (as well as a silent 1923 version, and an early sound, 1932 version), and it's a great improvement on "Becky Sharp" (which was the first full-color movie). Now there's the best reason for a remake, when they didn't realize the potential of the material the first time around.

Josh

Name: Darryl Mesaros
E-mail: simonferrer@sbcglobal.net

Dear Josh,

Regarding your last post, what is it with Anthony Zerbe? Didn't he EVER get to be in a movie where he wasn't the villain? Yet he and Clu Gulagher were apparently in every movie made in the seventies. Strange.
I guess that it's true that I enjoyed "Dog Soldiers" more because of the military aspect. Our experiences temper our tastes; for example, I enjoyed "Gunner Palace" even though it sucked cinematically (with the reporter/director making obvious ham-handed references to "MASH" and "Apocalypse Now" all the time). This was simply because I recognized places in the film that I had been to, and the soldiers' humor is familar. This is common; I know people from Connecticut who went to see "War of the Worlds" because part of it was filmed in an old mill in Naugatuck, CT. Your enjoyment of a film, Josh, is based on your background in filmaking. Being a mechanic yourself, if the grinding of the machinery is too obvious, you notice it. Have I stumbled onto an interesting facet of the human condition here, or am I just talking out of my ass?

Darryl

Dear Darryl:

Not at all. Our experiences and our knowledge combine to create our tastes. Although I was never in the military, most things military interest me. Perhaps this is because I like history so much, and history is loaded with wars, so I'm always reading about them. As an odd example, about 20 years ago my sister was at NYU and had to write a paper on "a hero." She immediately chose Bruce Springsteen, then had great difficulty writing the paper. She called me and asked what I thought, and I said that Bruce Springsteen does not qualify as any kind of legitimate hero. He even has a line in "Thunder Road" that says, "I ain't no hero, that's understood/ All the redemption I can offer girl is beneath this dirty hood." So, I suggested to her that she do her paper on a real hero like Audie Murphy, the most decorated enlisted soldier of WWII. She'd never heard of Audie Murphy (which I find sad), but did the paper on him and got an A. And I'm sure part of the reason for that is because everyone else in the class chose musicians, actors, and sports stars as their heroes. But the real heroes come from war, that's where you find out what people are really made of. Anyway, my issues with movies are almost always with the writing, and as you say, that's undoubtedly because I'm a writer. So, our experiences make up our taste.

Josh

Name: Beth
E-mail: oddlief@gmail.com

Dear Josh:

I was reading your essay on Xena and noticed that you are a Van Morrison fan. I was just wondering, what is your favorite Morrison song? I myself am partial to "Into the Mystic"

Beth

Dear Beth:

I love "Into the Mystic." I love that whole album, "Moondance," and I think it's Van Morrison's best. I made my own Best of Van Morrison tape since the actual Best of Van Morrison album sucks. I remade this tape three times to get the order right. Here's the line up:

1. Brown-Eyed Girl
2. Jackie Wilson Said
3. And It Stoned Me
4. Domino
5. Wild Night
6. Blue Money
7. Tupelo Honey
8. Caravan
9. Into the Mystic
10. These Dreams of You
11. St. Dominic's Preview
12. Moondance

Josh

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

Josh,

I read an excellent film review on CNN: http://www.cnn.com/2005/SHOWBIZ/Movies/09/02/review.thunder/index.html Considering that he had to keep it clean, I thought he was quite candid.

John

Dear John:

Maybe this hurricane has woken up the press corps. They finally seem to be saying some strong things, which they haven't in years. It doesn't even bother to mention that Peter Hyams also directed the abysmal "Time Cop," which is pretty similar, and also horrible. But Hyams is just a hack and always has been.

Regarding someone's comment that "The Color Purple" was the first letterboxed videotape, it was actually Woody Allen's "Manhattan" in 1981.

Josh

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

Dear Josh:

Apparently the erect penis is legit, and clearly seen by the camera. Haven't seen it myself to confirm though. I figure if a director has to stoop to having his lead actress suck his cock on film, he's pretty much run out of ideas. Are there any particularly great sex-themed movies that you can think of? Off the top of my head, I can't really think of any. Many good sex scenes, but not really a movie about fucking. I guess films like Carnal Knowledge, which aren't really about sex per se but about the male sexual psyche handle it best.

There's a movie out now called 9 Songs that consists of 9 different sex scenes cut to music from a rock concert. Sounds sort of interesting but my guess is after the first 2 or 3 it becomes pretty repetitive.

For some reason the Jlo/Clooney scene in Out of Sight seemed well done to me at the time, handled with just the right amount of visuals and structured differently from usual. I think the inevitability of sex scenes is often why they're so dull. Which is why movies like Basic Instinct worked on a certain level, they added the element of surprise/thrill to these scenes.

Dear Jim:

Maybe that's the only way that guy can get head. Most sex scenes in movies annoy me, and most of them are shot exactly the same way, with all these tight close-ups of flesh on flesh, although you don't know if it's a leg against an arm or a cheek against a breast. The perfunctory sex scene replaced the perfunctory musical number, and in both cases I can hear Groucho say, "Look, I'm stuck here. You can go out and get some more popcorn." There were a couple of sort of sexy sex scenes in "Rome," but they were probably the least historically accurate scenes in the show. There's one scene of Polly Walker humping her boyfriend with a half dozen servants in the room, which I really doubt. The people of Imperial Rome were extremely uptight about sex and lewd behavior, in response to the Greeks who were very open and loose about sex, and Greek culture is where most of Roman customs and religion came from. There was a general disdain in Rome for the Greeks for being so sexual, and allowing homosexuality, which the Romans were also against. But, I felt like the scenes were in the show strictly because it's an HBO cable show and the sex was one of it's selling point, just like the excessive, meaningless, unrealistic swearing in "Deadwood."

Josh

Name: Jeremy Milks
E-mail: admin@homecomingcreations.com

Dear Josh:

" think I have a pretty good sex scene in "Running Time" and they're not really fucking. Since the scene took 4 or 5 takes to get right, it's probably a far better thing that they weren't really doing it."

Probably was a good idea they weren't really doing it, especially what with spouses at home waiting for the actors to return. :D

Dear Jeremy:

In the case of "Running Time," Bruce's wife, Ida, was the associate producer and was right there. She had no problem with the scene because it was clearly two good actors doing their jobs, and doing it well. It was fascinating to watch, actually. Anita is so good, and she really did a wonderful job making Bruce feel comfortable, saying, "You grab me wherever you want, you do whatever you want. Let's make this believable." Meanwhiule, there was some French film from 15 or 20 years ago where they said the girl was really going down on the guy, too. So what? I'd be a lot more surprised if someone actually wrote a decent script.

Josh

Name: Jeremy Milks
E-mail: admin@homecomingcreations.com

Dear Josh:

Hey. I was reading a review for the DVD release of Brown Bunny the other day and I remembered that there is a scene in the movie where one of the actresses (I know her name but I can't spell it) really give Vincent Gallow a BJ and I was just wondering what your take on the whole thing is.

On one hand, there's the argument of "Film is art, and artists should be allowed to express what ever they want."

Then there's the other argument of "Couldn't the scene have been faked? Couldn't they haven angled it so she just bobbed her head up and down for awhile."

I haven't seen the movie yet, so I won't judge that scene until I've seen it. I'm a big supporter of realism, and I'm not against porn being integrated into movies if it's appropriate.

But yeah, I was just wondering what your take is on the subject.

Dear Jeremy:

You'd have to shoot it like a porno movie before you'd know if it was really happening or not, meaning seeing an erect cock which would get them X-rating and no release. I'll just bet you can't tell what's going on and it's just the back of her head bobbing up and down, just like those silly soft-core porn films on Cinemax. There's the old story of Dustin Hoffman and Laurence Olivier on the set of "Marathon Man," and before every take Hoffman would run around the block. The third time he ran around the block, Olivier said, "My dear boy, have you tried acting?" I think I have a pretty good sex scene in "Running Time" and they're not really fucking. Since the scene took 4 or 5 takes to get right, it's probably a far better thing that they weren't really doing it.

Josh

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

Hi Josh

Watched the other Nicholson-Penn collaboration last night: The Pledge. It's much better than The Crossing Guard. It really invites viewer participation. And you're right about Jack Nicholson - I could watch him all day. There's a scene in The Pledge where he asks a waitress where he can buy some cheap furniture. She starts to give him complicated directions and you could see the thought processes on Nicholson's face; first he loses interest cos he doesn't know the backroads, then he gets the devil in him - a glint in his eye- when he decides to ask the waitress to go shopping with him. When you can see the thought processes on an actor's face - that's great acting!

Watched Instinct also, starring Hopkins and Gooding Jnr. It's a hokey story but I enjoyed the somewhat muddy central message - give up your illusions of control; it's a real let's get RIGHT back to living like the apes.

Talking of control, I'm appalled at the administrations response to Katrina. I know it's a huge natural catastrophe, but when you see reporters on the TV saying they've seen aid administered in Africa quicker than there in the south... well, just when you thought Bush couldn't sink any lower.

I'd love someone to ask him why God did this. I'm sure his answer would be something like, "Well, the thing you have to understand is, erm... that God... He moves in mysterious ways."

And what's all this about the police monitoring looting and forgetting about search and rescue. Is that cos the 72 hour golden period is up, or that if there's anarchy the emergency services can;t do their job, or is it that the neo conservatives have their priorities up their ass?

Gotta go.

Lata


Lee :-)

Dear Lee:

I'd say the neo-cons have their heads up their asses. They seriously believe that stopping looting, when people are starving, is more important than helping people. To Republicans business is always more important than people. Hell, look at Iraq. 125,000 people are dead, but Haliburton and Kellogg, Brown & Root are doing great. Right after the 9/11 bombings, what was Bush's message to his country? Keep shopping.

Josh

Name: Duffy
E-mail: g_duffy@bellsouth.net

Josh- just for kicks and experience I'm filming a short horror "thing" for lack of a better word. One of the problems I am running into is I think my ideas aren't doable (physically) and I have cut most of the ones where I would need stuntmen, CGI and Merlin for but there is one thing I really want to do and you tell me if it's possible. I have a shot where a reporter is bludgeoned to death by the camera man only in this case the camera man is MY camera man (yeah it's a POV) if you get what I mean so the shot would get dizzy and close up of hair etc... then what I want is for "blood" to trickle/drip down the lens obscuring the shot. Question is there a special effect to do this or any way to do this with out killing my camera? Thanks. Duffy

Dear Duffy:

Just put a sheet of glass in front of the lens, at a slight angle, then pour fake blood down it. We did that shot in "Evil Dead," but it got cut out.

Josh

Name: CD
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

What do you think is the absolute minimum needed to shoot a 35mm movie and 16mm movie (assuming few locations, actors, small crew). I know many factors dictate budgets, but in general, what do you think?

What was the smallest budget you worked with (in terms of films of yours that got some sort of distribution).

Just curious.

Dear CD:

My cheapest film was "Running Time," which cost $130,000 and was shot in 16mm. As I say in my book, I don't think you can rationally expect to spend less than 100 grand, and you shouldn't spend more than 250 grand. But everything depends on what script you're shooting, and how? Is it SAG? Is it 35mm? How long is the schedule? Etc.

Josh

Name: Tim Roessler
E-mail: tim@timroessler.com

Dear Josh:

Thanks for answering my questions! By now, I have, in fact, read your essay about working with Mr. Quinn; sorry to pepper you with a question prematurely. But, geez Mr. Becker, your site is truly dense - in a good way! --and a procrastinator's paradise as it is, so . . . Sorry.
The script for If I Had a Hammer's particularly close to my heart - an idea that was staring me in the face. My parents were big folkies, booking (pre-electric) Bob Dylan, Joan Baez and Judy Collins into a place called the Green Tarantula in Denver, and I grew up listening to the songs in your movie. It was great to see the era treated with inventiveness and respect and with the right amount of irony. And I couldn't put Cycles or Devil Dogs down once I started them, damn you anyway.
Thanks also for recommending Josef von Sternberg's autobiography, a really erudite, idiosyncratic, and brilliant book I'd never have read had it not been on your list.
And it was cool to read that your characters reveal themselves as you write - structure's essential, I'm with you, but it's useful and inspiring to see an organic kind of growth along with, or around, the structure you set up. You've given me and my script a little breathing space.
Okay, before getting on with reading a few more of the scripts you've posted, here's another question. I know you've answered this in part, but - when you're writing a script you're pretty sure you'll film yourself - such as, If I had a Hammer - you still keep the script free of anything but the action and dialog - no notes about angles, inserts, etc. In that particular case, did you go in afterwards, and, as if it'd been written by someone else, map out your directorial stuff, or did you keep a series of notes, sketches, to yourself on the side as you wrote and thought about it?

Dear Tim:

None of that. When I write I'm a writer, not a director. I don't think about any filmmaking stuff when I'm writing, just the story and the characters. Once I know I'm going to shoot something, meaning I've got the money and am seriously planning the production, then I work out how I will shoot it. But I never go back and put that information in the script since it doesn't belong there. I then either storyboard or I make a shot list. But writing and directing are completely separate jobs and shouldn't be mushed together. BTW, your tape went out yesterday and I hope you enjoy it. Write back and give us your review.

Josh

Name: Tom
E-mail: bellyoptopus@yahoo.com

Hi Josh,

On "Sorrow" - Bowie's voice sounds beautiful; it's got a nice round tone to it. The sentiment of the song doesn't mean much to me though, relationships gone sour just don't appeal to me song-wise. I much prefer the exuberance of "Rosalyn". Bowie's voice is in stellar shape on "Pinups", likewise on the "Young Americans" album, and then his voice sounds pretty terrible on "Scary Monsters" which was the last album I bought of his other than the best of 2 CD set that came out a few years ago. The mix on that album is surprisingly horrible, since he's known for really tidy productions on his records.

Iggy's had some excellent solo records; I still listen to "New Values" and "Soldier". "Soldier" is way underrated; it's a great album. The first two Stooges albums have been re-mastered with a whole extra disc of bonus tracks each, but I haven't checked them out yet.

I'm actually going to go see The Stones next weekend in Chicago. My Sister paid some ridiculous price for tickets and we're in like 5th row or something.

Tom

Dear Tom:

The Stones played here in Detroit last weekend, although I didn't see them. I'm going through my own little Rolling Stones revival, having just bought four of their albums from the 1970s I didn't have: "Exile on Main St." (I have this on vinyl), "Goat's Head Soup," "Black & Blue," and "Some Girls." "Some Girls" is a terrific album. Have a good time at the concert.

Josh

Name: Beth
E-mail: oddlief@gmail.com

Dear Josh,

So in about about hundred years from now when they make the movie about your life what will the things or people that inspired you? What part of your life would you most hope would be in the movie?

Cheers,
Beth

Dear Beth:

I really doubt anyone would make a movie about my life, although part of it sort of already made it into "Indian Summer." But I mean, what a bore. A guy who sits in his house all the time writing and smoking cigarettes, and only gets to emerge every couple of years for two or three weeks to go shoot something, then quickly flees back into his hole. There could be a movie of my teens, in the early '70s, perhaps.

Josh

Name: Dale Richardson
E-mail: dsrichardson@firstam.com

Josh,

"You forgot to mention that both Cascade and Ada have Panavision outlets, film laboratories, video-transfer facilities, international airports, and a wide selection of actors to choose from, too."

Yes, I see all of this as I drive through both of these tiny communities on my way to and from work every day...

Outside of Detroit what kind of film industry is there in Michigan? I am guessing not much, but I have never moved in those circles so have no idea.

Have you seen "Burnt By The Sun"? "The Whale Rider"?

I hope to retrieve my copy of "If I Had A Hammer" this weekend, after 1 year of being in the hands of my Beatle's-fan buddies. Hopefully they haven't watched it to destruction.

Thanks,

Dale

Dear Dale:

Another copy of "Hammer" sold yesterday, so we're clicking down to the very end here. When they're gone they're gone. Meanwhile, Detroit in its heyday had three film labs, a Victor-Duncan camera rental outlet, a couple lighting rental houses, several big sound stages, and quite a few post facilities. Now there's only one lab left, FilmCraft, Victor-Duncan split, but the stages are still there, and there's still a lot of post facilities. My point, of course, was just because someone has a pretty piece of land doesn't necessarily make it a good place to shoot.

I saw "Whale Rider" and it was okay. Good whale effects at the end.

Josh

Name: Question
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

I just thought about it, I ran into a copy of SOMEWHERE I'll FIND YOU at the mall (with Clark Gable and Lana Turner), being a fan of THE BAD AND THE BEAUTIFUL, THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE, and GONE WITH THE WIND, RUN SILENT RUN DEEP, the first thing that ran into my mind was: $20 for a vhs copy of a 1940s movie?!! Are these people fucking insane?!! Anyways, is it worth the money? Is the movie good or does it kinda suck like GRAND HOTEL? I mean, I like CASABLANCA, that doesn't mean I'm eager to track down the other Greenstreet/Lorre/Bogart War flicks.

Dear Q:

It's just a run-of-the-mill MGM picture, although Lana Turner looks great at that point. I wouldn't pay $20 for it. Yes, "Grand Hotel" did kind of suck. It's the first all-star film, BTW.

Josh

Name: Jeff Alede
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

Oops, I forgot to ask in my previous message, who is the publisher of you're filmmaking book?

Dear Jeff:

They're called Point Blank Press. They mainly publish crime fiction, although, apparently they've already published one film book.

Josh

Name: Jeff Alede
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

How much are the maitenance costs for running this website? Do you do any advertising?

You're fan,
Jeff

P.S. I must echo some other commentors' sentiments and mention that "The 40 Year Old Virgin" is very funny and worth seeing.

Dear Jeff:

All right. The actual space on the server isn't all that much, like $25 a month. It's more of an issue of can you maintain the site yourself, or do you need a webmaster? If you do need a webmaster, then you must work out a deal with them, and everybody makes their own deals. No, there's no advertising on this site, other than that message exchange thing on the bottom, which is free.

Josh

Name: Rocko
E-mail: rocko@aol.com

Josh,

Is there lots of downtime for actors in between setups on a tv series? What do they do? What is a typical work week like? Is 14 hours a day/6 days a week normal?

Congrats on your book!

Dear Rocko:

I'm used to 12 hours a day, 6 days a week. On TV shows it's usually 5 days a week. Yes, there is a lot of downtime for actors between set-ups, on both movies and TV shows. What do they do? Talk, read, sleep, there's not much you can do. And when you do start talking, some AD will usually tell you to shut up. What's particularly difficult for actors, which they don't teach in school, is how to go from 0 to 100 in a few minutes. The actor may well have been dozing there for hours, then suddenly they're in the scene and now you need them to give you everything, right now. Movie acting isn't easy.

Josh

Name: Zimmer
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

Great to hear that Lucy is okay...thanks for the update, Josh.

BTW, have you checked out the new series Weeds? It's funny as hell. I think you would really like it. The message board at the official site is pretty cool too -- full of stoners and "just say no" crusaders.

Here is the official site: http://www.sho.com/site/weeds/home.do

Best wishes,
Zimmer

Dear Simmer:

I thought "Weeds" was stupid and entirely unbelievable. I won't watch anymore episodes. She's selling pot to the parents at a little league game? She buys her stuff from a severely cliched black family who bag it all for her? And this painfully ridiculous sub-plot of her blackmailing the other pot dealer into not selling to kids made want to retch. It's like she can be a pot dealer, but it must be done in a PC fashion so she's really doing good for the neighborhood. Yuk!

Josh

Name: Question
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

I just recently finished THE PETRIFIED FOREST... again. And I always loved the speech that Bette Davis and Leslie Howard both give that the intellectuals thought they had had nature beaten, but now nature is fighting back.

I also watched EAST OF EDEN a week ago. I like it a lot more than REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE (in fact, I'm not so sure I even like REBEL). EDEN had this great twisting dutch angle shot of James Dean on the swing telling his father Raymond Massey off. That and the story of the two brothers fighting for their fathers affection is more interesting than REBEL. It's also the first widescreen film in my collection that I have in near Chronological order (not perfectly).

About yesterday, I spotted William Wyler playing the violin in DODSWORTH. It's in the scene right after Ruth Chatterton refuses to call her daughter about her new baby because it would make her feel old to her new European friends (don't you just love that scene when her fiance's mother tells her off?)

Finally, the real reason I wrote in, perhaps you can clear this up for me, on Paul Simon's MOTHER AND CHILD REUNION, is he refering to knocking somebody up when he says the mother and child is only a motion away?

Dear Q:

I don't know what Paul Simon means exactly. I don't know that lyrics have to mean anything exactly. I never noticed Mr. Wyler in "Dodsworth," I'll have to watch it again just for that. To get that film a bit more in perspective, it's really one of the very first truly adult pictures made in Hollywood. The real breakthrough came the year before, in 1935, with John Ford's "The Informer," which is a seriously downbeat story that's clearly not for kids. "Dodsworth" was Sam Goldwyn's follow-up on that. "The Petrified Forest" is also 1935. I too like "East of Eden" more than "Rebel," but I like that, too. It gives you a pretty good feel for the time. Of James Dean's three films, I care for "Giant" the least, which just seems silly and overdone to me, and the make-up is ridiculous.

Josh

Name: Reggie
E-mail:

Hey Josh,

Can you give me some advice on pursuing investors for films? I've been calling and/or e-mailing any rich person I can find, and I can't seem to get my foot in the door. I can't even get anyone to look at a presentation. I keep my calls and e-mails as short and simple as possible. Normally a secretary will answer, take down my message (that I'm looking for investors for an independent film), and predictably I never hear from them again.

Are there any tricks to this? Is it kosher to call an investor at his place of business? It seems to me that it would be even more offensive to call them (uninvited) at their home, but what the hell do I know. Is that how I should do it?

By the way, I DID read that particular chapter of your filmmaking book, but again, I can't even get my foot in the door so that I can eat the investor's shit. :)

Thanks,
Reggie

Dear Reggie:

As I wrote in the book, your best chance is with relatives because you can try to make them feel bad for not helping you. But cold calling is pretty much useless, I think. You must have some kind of in before you call. So you need to get to everyone through someone else so you can use their name as an intro. This is an awful and grueling process. I spent over a year trying to raise money for one movie, and failed; then spent two more years trying to raise money for another movie, and failed, too. That was three years up the spout. Then I went back to the first script, lowered my sights by 75%, somehow managed to put together far less than I actually needed, then went ahead and made the film anyway. I feel for you, and I wish you all the best.

Josh

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

Hey Josh,

Now we are talking "Bowie the Actor" and "The Hunger" was mentioned. What about "Merry Christmas Mister Lawrence?"

I kind of liked that one too, but I haven't seen it since it came out.

I also liked his Andy Warhol in "Basquiat", although the film was not very good, his performance was convincing.

Scott

Dear Scott:

I think that David Bowie is a fine actor. I thought "Mr. Lawrence" was just a bore, and Bowie was severely miscast as Andy Warhol, although he did the best he could.

Josh

Name: Raoul
E-mail: ra0ul01@yahoo.com

Josh~

Just a brief comment on a recent post from Alice Schultz, who asked your opinion of John Wyndham. Wyndham is (was?) a british sci-fi author, who's most well known works (because they were adapted to movies,) are: "The Day of the Triffids" and "The Midwich Cuckoos", which was made and remade as "The Village of the Damned". Wyndham is a great writer with a fantastic imagination, highly recommended. Did you ever see John Carpenter's remake of "Village"? Another example of why remakes are a bad idea, it's probably Carpenter's most lifeless film. There's a B&W '50's version of "Triffids", but there was also an excellent (more faithful) BBC TV series from the early eighties. The recent zombie flick "28 Days Later" is practically a remake as well, with zombies instead of killer plants. Have you seen the 60's "Village of the Damned" or the 50's "Day of the Triffids"? Although they're condensed from the novels (especially 'Triffids',) they're both decent sci-fi films.

Dear Raoul:

I've seen both "Village of the Damned" (as well as the sequel, "Children of the Damned") and "Day of the Triffids." I saw "Village of the Damned" again last year, and it's a snappy, creepy little film. "Triffids" was okay, and it's in color, BTW.

Josh

Name: Tom
E-mail: bellyoptopus@yahoo.com

Hi Josh,

I've been listening to "Pinups" all this week. I've got an hour commute to work each day, so I've listened to it 5 times now. It's an excellent album, I'd forgotten how good his version of "Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere" was, a really good vocal on that one. You don't hear him sing like on any other album. I still tend to be not too thrilled by cover songs, but I think you're right that this may be the best all covers album to date, at least in Rock music. I can't think of many others where a single artist makes an all cover songs album-John Lennon's "Rock-n-Roll" and Metallica's "Garage Day's Revisited" come to mind. John Lennon's is cool, because it's John Lennon. Metallica doesn't do anything for me but I like many of the songs they covered, just not their versions. But I don't think albums like that are really Art and the originals are nearly always better, because they are the Real Art. I'm always looking for music that has great new ideas that I haven't heard expressed before, so these kind of albums usually seem self-indulgent or contractual filler.

I thought about mentioning Bowie's influence in Iggy Pop's career and your "(har-har)" jibe made me laugh. The Stooges we're instrumental in the development of punk (a subject I know you have no interest in), but they are from Ann Arbor.

On book touring, you should look into going around with Bruce next summer as finishes the dates he couldn't get to this year! I don't know how that stuff works, so I may be asking something completely ignorant.

Cheers,

Tom

Dear Tom:

I liked Iggy Pop a lot as a kid, before there was punk and he was just considered a nutty rocker. He used to play around Detroit all the time. I remember coming home from 6th grade and listening to Iggy and Stooges first album (I believe), the one with "I Just Wanna Be Your Dog" and their cover of "I'm Not a Juvenile Delinquint." Getting back to "Pinups," what do you think of "Sorrow"? The first couple of Rolling Stones albums are all covers (before Jagger-Richards learned how to write songs from Lennon-McCartney). Regarding Bruce's book tour, his publisher pays for travel expenses. Like right this moment he's flying from Omaha to Fargo, ND, then he flies on to Anchorage, which is the last stop of his tour. I'm not sure how he could sneak me along.

Josh

Name: Dave
E-mail: daveW@hotmail.com

Dear Josh:

Will you be going on a book signing tour when your book comes out?

Dear Dave:

I'll probably go to a few bookstores that are nearby, but since nobody will be paying for a tour, I probably won't be doing one.

Josh

Name: Rocko
E-mail: rocko@aol.com

Josh, if the Scifi channel offered you a large sum of money right now to write the sequel to Alien A, would you do it?

Dear Rocko:

That would be an interesting and difiicult moral and ethical conundrum for me. I've already solved this issue for myself by placing it in Bruce's hands, meaning if they can convince Bruce to be in a sequel, then I'll do it. But I don't know that Bruce can be convinced of that at this time, so I'm fine. I do have another script over at SciFi, "The Cascade Effect," that I would love to make with Bruce, and hopefully Renee, too. It remains to be seen whether SciFi wants to make it or not.

Josh

Name: Zimmer
E-mail:

Josh,

Did you hear that Lucy Lawless and other crew members of a film she was shooting are currently trapped because of the hurricane and its aftermath? Have you talked to Rob lately?

Wishing the best,
Zimmer

Dear Zimmer:

No, I've heard nothing. I'll call Rob right now.

I just spoke with Rob's office, as well as their nanny, and Lucy got back to L.A. last night and she's fine.

I just spoke with Rob and he says that Lucy will be on Larry King's show tonight discussing the hurricane in New Orleans. **UPDATE -- Rob just emailed and said that Lucy was cancelled on Larry King.**

Josh

Name: Alice Schultz
E-mail:

Heya Josh,

Just curious, do you like John Wyndham? I was reminded lately of how much I enjoyed his stuff in my twenties, and re-read "Out of the Deeps" (same novel as "The Kraken Wakes," apparently), and it's amazing how he doesn't stale. Have you ever seen anything of his made into a movie? How was it?

Alice

Dear Alice:

I've never heard of him, nor either of those titles. I'm presently reading "Devil in the White City" by Eric Larson, about the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago, and the serial killer who was loose during it. Very interesting so far.

Josh

Name: Tim Roessler
E-mail: tim@timroessler.com

Dear Josh,

One more quick question -- Do you write biographies of your characters while your working on a script? (Egri even supplies a questionnaire for writers to use).
thanks

Tim

Dear Tim:

No, I don't. The characters reveal themselves to me over the course of writing the script. What I do have in mind from the beginning are the character's motivations and where I'm going with the story, then the character develops in and around that.

Josh

Name: Tim Roessler
E-mail: tim@timroessler.com

Dear Josh,

I read that Elia Kazan used to exploit the personal, off-stage relationships of the actors in his films to add more realism to their on-camera performances. So, for example, he'd feed Raymond Massey's dislike of James Dean, or he did nothing to calm the rivalry between your man, Anthony Quinn and Marlon Brando on Viva Zapata, since it reflected their characters' relationship in the story.
What do you think about this approach? Have you resorted to any thing similar? If you haven't, would you if you thought it could help?

Thanks,
Tim

Dear Tim:

No, I'd never do that. Nor could I emulate my favorite director, William Wyler, and be perpetually disappointed in all the actors. I like to create a light-hearted atmosphere on my set, if possible, so that the actors feel as free and uninhibited as possible. I don't want them angry at each other, nor feeling like they're failing at their jobs. I don't know if you've read my essay, "Directing Anthony Quinn," but he discussed Elia Kazan with me, and Kazan trying to get he and Brando angry at each other, but he said that neither of them bought into it. In his autobiography, Marlon Brando had only the highest praise for Kazan, and thought he was by far the best director he ever worked with.

Josh

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

Hey Josh

Congratulations on the publication of your book. Do you think it will help your career as a writer-director, BTW?

Have you seen The Crossing Guard, written and directed by Sean Penn? I watched it the other night. My problem with it is that it's as much a polemic as a Death Wish film; the premise being what if a really nice, humanitarian guy (David Morse) ran over the daughter of a shit (Jack Nicholson). I liked the irony of the situation, and as my friend said he'd rather see a liberal story like this come out of Hollywood, as opposed to the right wing crap we usually get, but it didn't want to get into the grey areas - it was too easy.

Still, it kinda worked and I liked Jack Nicholson's description of his dream, and the ending at the graveside.

Maybe I'm just getting too cynical?!?

Lata


Lee

Dear Lee:

I didn't like it. I don't think Sean Penn's a very good director, and he's just a poor writer. I liked "Death Wish" much better. And I really, really hated "The Indian Runner." Jack Nicholson is, for the most part, always watchable, and generally better than the material he's in. Changing subjects, I watched the first episode of "Rome" on HBO and I kind of liked it, although I certainly didn't love it. I find it odd that a high-budget show like that has no name actors in it, other than Polly Walker, and I don't think she's that big of a name. But all the actors are quite capable, the costumes and sets are very good, and Michael Apted's direction is clear and pretty brisk. I've put it into my TiVo.

Josh

Name: Beth
E-mail: oddlief@gmail.com

Dear Josh,

I would like to join the chorus and praise you in your writing. I have knocked about your site and read several of you pieces, both fiction and nonfiction, and must say your a fascinating writer. I look forward to your next project. Have you ever thought of writing a novel or a few novellas? I read you review of "Frida" and it peeked my interest as to what you thought of the recent movie on Cole Porter's life, called "DeLovely"? Though I enjoyed it immensely, I felt that the sidebars with Gabriel and Cole were a little distracting.

Cheers,
Beth

Dear Beth:

I haven't seen it yet. My dad recommended it, which makes me a tad skeptical. Also, it was directed by producer Irwin Winkler, who really isn't much of director, although he was a good producer ("Rocky," "Raging Bull"). Meanwhile, I've not only thought about writing a novel, I wrote one about 22 years ago, but unfortunately, it sucks. I have also put together a collection of my essays for the same publisher (it was his idea), and that will hopefully come out at some point next year. It's called "Rushes: Essays on Film and Filmmaking." As for another novel, I'd love to write one, but my brain keeps spitting out screenplays. I've just finished my 33rd script.

Josh

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

Josh,

While I don't share your blanket condemnations of organized religion, I absolutely agree with the seperation of church and state. I suppose that if a religiously-based charity operation could meet an objective (i.e. secular) set of standards, I can see where such organizations might be enlisted to distribute aid funds. Religious organizations do have a type of access that public organizations will never enjoy.

At the same time, I also understand why rational people could have serious reservations about possible precedence. You'd hate to leave that door open, even a crack, to the various religious extremists. I live in Kansas and we are crawling with religion-fixated idiots. I'm convinced that most of the current religious "revival" is really a reaction to popular culture rather than a devotional movement; people are choosing a religious culture rather than religion itself.

Changing topics, have you read "Make Love" by BC? I finished it a couple of days ago. I thought the first few chapters were hilarious, but that the story lost some of it's punch down the line. Still, I enjoyed it quite a bit and was sorry to put it down. He went rather harsh on Richard Gere, I thought.

Some cool things about David Bowie I'm sure you already know; He was born David (Davy) Jones but changed to Bowie because of the popularity, at the time, of The Monkees. He "discovered" Stevie Ray Vaughan at a European blues festival and had him play on "Let's Dance" (thereby boosting both artists' careers). Bowie offered Vaughan a spot in his band but Vaughan wanted to pursue his own career.

Finally, I saw "The Hunger" with Bowie, Sarandon, etc, and thought Bowie did a good job in that film, though the aging effects looked over done. When Bowie first confronts Sarandon in her office I thought he portrayed desperation quite well.

The book cover looks cool. Is the text identical to what you had posted? Congrats on that deal, once again.

John

Dear John:

Identitcal, no. I did a another rewrite before sending it in for editing, then there's the changes that occur in editing, which are certainly all for the best. I'd forgotten about Stevie Ray Vaughan on "Let's Dance." Bowie was also instrumental (har-har) in Iggy Pop's career, and their collaboration on "China Girl" was the most successful thing he ever did. And Yes, Bowie made a good vampire, too. Another bit of Bowie minutia, he went to high school with Peter Frampton, although Bowie is a few years older. I was amused by Bruce's book, but then I know what he went through to write it. If someone had given me that title to work with I don't think I'd could've delivered a book. I'd still be scratching my head.

Josh

Name: chris
E-mail: shenaniganz@hotmail.com

Dear Josh:

wow cool book cover :)
It will be available to buy in New Zealand...right?
well i hope so anyway. And do you know if alien apocalypse will be avilable to buy at least in the UK like on amazon? i see that MWYSC and AA are available on october 4th on amazon in America.

Dear chris:

Sorry, I don't know. Nobody confides in me.

Josh

Name: Tom
E-mail: bellyoptopus@yahoo.com

Hi Josh,

I'm in agreement with you over religion. It does create pointless divisions in society, and obviously dangerous ones. Much to my dismay I don't we're going to dispense with religions any time soon. or at all. I think the best we can hope for is to marginalize them. I'm for banning religious text or tearing down churches, I think that's the wrong route. But we need to get to work against keeping irrational beliefs out our laws and governments. Just as importantly, we need to keep prayer and creationism out of our public schools. There's a reason the religious right wing want this and that's because young minds are susceptible their nonsense. That is evil.

Hey, great to see your low budget filmaking book getting published!

Tom

Dear Tom:

Yeah, just like Nazi Youth Movement, you must get to them early, then they'll believe anything -- white supremecy, anti-Semitism, the return of the messiah, 79 virgins awaiting them in heaven, reincarnation -- you name it. Since part of the basis of our democracy is the separation of church and state, any attempt to go back on that is unpatriotic.

Josh.

Name: George Pilalidis
E-mail: agamemmnon@msn.com

Dear Josh.

I´ve see many movies in the past 38 years,and i remember many of them,but you Josh...You not only have see many of them,you remember, and the directors,and the actors, and the year when was making,any of them, MELINA was together with IRENE PAPPAS the best Greek actres ever,and Manolis Hatsidakis a very good componist.Whell if you have time Josh you can come with me in the truck,and in two week you can see more as 20 citys in Europa,and with one good camera you can make, a movie from the life of a truck driver,we truck drivers we see sometimes things,what others only can dream about it.Now when i m write to you, i´ve to go in Pallermo cicilia (I)3000 km. I Wish you happy birth day( some late )I ask apologise for this but i don´t remember the date.GEORGE


George and his truck, somewhere in Spain

Dear George:

I received your package, and I thank you very much. That was very nice of you. I listened to both CDs, and though they're not exactly to my taste, I appreciate you sharing them with me. Nice packaging on both of them. Startovarius is Finnish, and Masterplan is German? They were like Black Sabbath meets the film composer Hans Zimmer, who likes those big choruses. They both seemed like very slick productions. I'll take Led Zeppelin I or II any day of the week, though. Meanwhile, you've got a cool truck, with all the luxuries. The idea of driving all around Europe in a truck seems kind of cool to me. Thanks again.

Josh

Name: John
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

All this talk of David Bowie got me thinking - what do you think of David Bowie as an actor?

Dear John:

Not bad. He convinced me that he was an alien in "The Man Who Fell to Earth," and I thought he made a terrific Pontius Pilate in "The Last Temptation of Christ," and was really the best thing in that film. I thought he made a believable hit man in "Into the Night."

Josh

Name: Stacey
E-mail: staci_3088@hotmail.com

Hey Josh,

i saw on imdb.com that you're credited as a cinematographer for 'Stryker's War', now i haven't heard of the movie but i was wondering what is involved in being a cinematographer? Is that a fancy name for the top lighting guy or does it deal with lenses and filters? I'm always interested in the different looks films have, i'd love to be a Director of Photograhpy, and i was wondering if i should look into cinematography too.
Thanks for always answering my questions!!
Stacey

Dear Stacey:

The title was changed to "Thou Shalt Not Kill . . . Except" 20-odd years ago, but imdb. hasn't picked up on it yet. The director photography, or cinematographer, is the head of the camera and lighting departments, so all the lighting, as well as everything to do with the camera, are their domain. It's a complicated, technical job, but very interesting and highly creative. You would really need to work your way up through the ranks of a camera crew or a lighting crew to see what it's all about.

Josh

Name: Question
E-mail:

<<So, that's how it crumbles, cookie-wise.>>

Well, I figured, since its already paid for... oh wait, that's THE APARTMENT.

Since the singing man in CITIZEN KANE wasn't Dooley Wilson, was he in ALICE ADAMS? I think I spotted him leading a jazz band, he had like one line.

On LITTLE CAESAR, the diner he's in at the beginning, is that the same diner they used in I AM A FUGITIVE FROM A CHAIN GANG?

What is up with The Mirisch Company using cartoonish titles when its not a comedy? It made sense in THE PINK PANTHER series(no, not the panther, the titles), but I also saw cartoonish titles in IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT and THE CHILDREN'S HOUR. And those aren't comedies, although they have some funny things in them.

Dear Q:

No, that wasn't Dooley Wilson, either. He didn't debut in movies until 1942, and "Alice Adams" is 1935. As for the diner set, well, they're both WB films made within two years of each other, it could be the same set. Why the Mirisch brothers liked animated titles I cannot say. They also produced "West Side Story," which has a very cool title scene by the great Saul Bass, which is the first time anyone used graffiti for the titles.

Josh

Name: Debra McMillan
E-mail: lannieland@aol.com

Dear Josh:

WOW, dude! I just got my first PA job and was surfing around to get any info I could to help prepare myself when I found your page here. My gig is this week at the American Idol auditions in Memphis. HOPEFULLY THEY WON'T HAVE ANY HORSES, eh? Good site, though. Thanks for putting it up.

Dear Debra:

Good luck. Look busy.

Josh

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

Dear Josh:

I rented Dog Soldiers based on cool box art and some good reviews on the internet. I thought it was godawful and one of the worst movies I've ever seen. You know things are pretty bad when you're watching a horror/action movie and all you can do is pick apart horrible production values or otherwise fall asleep. Darryl may have enjoyed it more because he brought his military experience to it. And I guess it was moderately original in that way. But as entertainment it completely failed for me. And it certainly didn't make even the slightest attempt towards art.

It was weird watching it then looking through some of the behind the scenes stuff. The young filmmakers are huge fans of late 70s/early 80s stuff like Star Wars and Alien and made it with those films in mind. I think that many filmmakers today are no more than sneaky ripoff artists. They steal enough good ideas to make the 13 yr olds of today think they're making something cool and original. But for those of us that have seen the originals, the new feels half-baked and extremely uninspired. It seems like cool and hip now means polishing the turds of the previous generation. Originality is nerdy, but making alien meets evil dead with werewolves sounds like a good idea to some people. It feels like an accounting procedure.. just add up ideas from a few financially successful movies, throw them in the screenplay blender, and hope for the best.

Dear Jim:

Yeah, it's the "what-do-I-think-people-want-to-see" approach, as opposed to the "What-do-I-honestly-think-is-original-and-cool." It's called "pandering," which is what most of the films we see these days are. Origninality is nerdy because it is MUCH more difficult, and god forbid anyone should actually expend any real effort. Just like figuring out how to shoot a film in advance and come up with interesting montage, it's much easier to just hand-hold the entire film, that way you don't have to bother yourself doing homework. The world of film, from Hollywood to the indies to the foreign films, is going through a huge burst of unmitigated laziness, that's all it is.

Josh

Name: Darryl Mesaros
E-mail: simonferrer@sbcglobal.net

Dear Josh,

Concerning Myanmar, I figured as much after I already posted my message; sorry for being a geek. In regard to "Omega Man," it fills one of those categories you mentioned that we so rarely see nowadays: the intelligent action film. It had an interesting science fiction premise, coupled with Charlton Heston tooling around as a one-man force of the apocalypse, wreckin' shit.
I saw in another post that you saw "Dog Soldiers." Did you see it, or was the contributor mistaken? Personally, I liked it because, as actor Liam Cunningham put, "it's not a werewolf movie with soldiers in it, it's a soldier movie with werewolves in it." Also, the edited television version didn't do the film justice; it was made as an uncut cinematic film, but only got screen distribution in Europe.

Darryl

Dear Darryl:

No, I haven't seen it yet, but it sure doesn't sound like my cup of tea. I read Robert Stone's National Book Award-winning novel, "Dog Soldiers," which was the basis for the film "Who'll Stop the Rain," also an intelligent action movie, and also with Anthony Zerbe as the bad guy. How's that for oblique connections?

Josh

Name: Jennifer Lee
E-mail: asian_invasian@hotmail.com

Dear Josh:

Have you seen the new HBO series Rome? Tonight, well, yesturday actually was the premiere episode. I must say, it was totally awesome. The scale of everything is so beautiful, did you know that the set spands 5 acres? Well, if you didn't, you do now! :)

Enough about Rome, now on to Alien Apocalypse. Before you roll your eyes and mutter, "shit, not again," I've got some complements to dish out.

1. The first eating of the head was awesome. I was eating at the time and dropped my fork and quickly lost my appetite.

2. Good choice on choosing Renee and Bruce

3. Even though the dubbing (was it?) was bad, it was actually a really unique film. I mean, it's not oscar worthy, but shit, man, your a director, you make films, your earn money, you have fans, man!

Before you float away with your newly big head, I've got one nagging question. I forget where I read it, but it was on this site.

1. If you didn't like AA, why did you make it?

Peace Out
Jennifer Lee

Dear Jennifer:

I always liked the script, I love working with both Bruce and Renee, and I hadn't worked in three years. My gripes are all with the production itself, and the post-production, and you can't know those things will be a problem until they occur. I was hoping right up to about a week before production that I would get Mel Tooker, who is really good, to do the beards and make-up effects (she came later to do "Screaming Brain"), but alas, that was not to be. I was also under the impression upon going to Bulgaria that there were English-speaking actors there, but none of them spoke English well enough to use their voices. So, that's how it crumbles, cookie-wise. I have no regrets. I had a great time making that film, then it did terrifically in the ratings. That some folks don't like it means very little to me, since most people's taste is up their ass anyway.

Meanwhile, I've got "Rome" on my TiVo and wiull watch it soon. It got a very poor review from the NY Times.

Josh

Name: Duffy
E-mail: g_duffy@bellsouth.net

Josh- See? We didn't vote him in so we can bitch all we want. Thanks for the clarification on left or right wing conservatives, I guess that proved I wasn't one huh? I've never heard of King Crimson but love Mott the Hoople didn't know Bowie worked with them. They are a group that I found through Queen as well as Bowie. I never knew who he was (exactly) but after Under Pressure I looked into him and was like "oh he sings that?" so they were influential in that way. Just watched Ring Two and it reinforces your belief about sequels (it stunk). But I do like the way the Japanese director filmed it. He did something with the colors that made my eyes hurt but was cool. But the story? Yuck. I agree with you in most cases about sequels and remakes with a few exceptions. For all people in the path of Katrina...stay safe.

Dear Duffy:

As I mentioned, David Bowie wrote and produced Mott the Hoople's biggest hit, "All the Young Dudes." Mott the Hoople used to open for Bowie, then after they got big and became headliners, Queen opened for them.

Josh

Name: Angel
E-mail: Aesparz2@depaul.edu

Dear Josh:

A few weeks ago you had suggested I check out, 'Conspiracy'. I was able to pick up a copy on DVD and must thank you for the suggestion.

It reminded me of a quote that Jean Renoir made on the Supplemental Material on the 'La Grande Illusion' Criterion DVD. He stated that "World War One was the last war of gentlmen." It seemed that the two hours that unfold within 'Conspiracy' are the moment in time his statement was rendered so painfully true.

Based on 'If I had a hammer' it seems that you enjoy charting through history and finding out at exactly which moment in time the tide turned. I can see why you enjoyed it, as did I. Thanks.

Dear Angel:

Kenneth Brannagh made an excellent Richard Heydrich, and Stanley Tucci was very good, too. HBO makes top-quality movies. Meanwhile, I find it a bit difficult to think of WWI, with it's millions of brutal deaths and the use of poison gas, as a "war of gentlemen." The Civil War wasn't a war of gentlemen, either. I don't even think you can apply that to the Revolutionary War, where we fought the entire thing as guerrilla fighters. Americans have never fought a war as gentlemen, and that's okay because wars shouldn't be fought that way. Going to war is the most extreme decision a country can make (George Bush, please note), and once you've decided to go to war, then you must either win, or you must cut and run as soon as possible. Ulysses Grant brought us into the modern world of warfare when he concluded that the north was not at war with the south's army, but was at war with the entire south, and every civilian was complicit and was the enemy. The south thought you could fight a war as gentlemen, and therefore they lost. War is not a gentlemen's game.

Josh

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

Josh,

Fair enough. You don't like noodling and that really goes along with your taste for structure, however, I would akin that period of King Crimson as "organized noise" and quite organized it was too!

I recently read an interview with Bill Bruford where he said that he learned the most about making music from Robert Fripp by saying that "Robert taught me that I was there to serve the music, not the other way around. I hadn't understood that."

He left Yes to join King Crimson because in his words "King Crimson talked less and they knew what they were doing. It was a darker color and less like the Beach Boys-and I liked that."

Music is different than making a film and usually it starts of with a jam session or a more vague idea, or maybe a lyric or some lyrics, and everything either comes together or it doesn't and that it is why when you hear music that is truly great it is amazing how the genesis of a song can progress.

All films have to have a decent amount of pre-production which is not normally the case in music and in that sense music is a much more organic art form than film, and that is why I enjoy it as much as filmmaking for different reasons.

I actually happen to like "Red Sails" on "Lodger", but you might be on to something when you said he fell off the deep end during that period as I read in a interview a couple years ago that He suffered severe depression when he was living in Berlin through the time of the making of "Heroes".

He basically said that Robert Fripp helped him out immensely in terms of his mental health and when he worked with Adrian Belew for the first time on "Lodger", he felt that Adrian's "positive" vibe helped him discover himself again and re-invent himself.

Also, just as a correction, Rick Wakemen did not get his start with Bowie, his fame actually came through the British prog-folk band "The Strawbs" which you now know because I sent you some of their stuff. He joined that band in early 1970 and he only did session work on "Hunky Dory" in 1971.

The British press praised his work in "The Strawbs" and that is when he became well known throughout Europe and the US, then in 1972 he left "The Strawbs" to join "Yes", and the rest we shall say is history.

The session with Bowie was just that and he was already doing much of that type of work already.

Scott

Dear Scott:

Let's just say that working with Bowie on "Hunky Dory" was the first time Rick Wakeman had worked on a hit record, and the first time he came to the world's attention because "Changes" was such a huge hit. I know you really like "The Strawbs," but they were not a big band in the U.S. Meanwhile, I love Fripp's guitar work on Eno's record, "Another Green World."

Josh

Name: Question
E-mail:

<<and what happens after I die?>>

hmm. I saw this movie FLATLINERS once which I heard was based on a true story and it got me thinking, what if that afterlife they are seeing is actually their brain slowly dying forcing them to see everything as each part of the brain dies and then there's nothing?

Dear Q:

Sounds feasible, and perhaps it all happens in a matter of seconds or minutes. A scientist during the French Revolution said that, should his head be cut off, he would blink as many times as could immediately after the beheading. His head was chopped off, and he blinked thirteen times afterward.

Josh

Name: Beth
E-mail: oddlief@gmail.com

Hey Josh,

I was recently at an event where Bruce was signing his new book, and left and right he was flipping people off. I also noticed that you have a picture up of your birthday in 1997 where you are doing the same. It left me wondering what is this affinity that the two of you have for flipping people off? Also I was wondering what aspects of the movie "Gone with the Wind" that make you most like it as a movie? I have always enjoyed it, but have found very few people who do.

Thanks,
Beth

Dear Beth:

Because Bruce and I both act juvenile sometimes. I think the first half of GWTW is brilliant. The character's are both interesting and funny, the situation is amusing and ironic, it's got a great pace, the color is breathtaking, Vivian Leigh is perfect, Clark Gable is the quintessential movie star, and Hattie McDaniel is absolutely hysterical and steals every scene she's in. I also love the juxtaposition of this 16-year-old southern beauty, Scarlett's, obsession with a man who doesn't love her, while ignoring the man who does, all played against the backdrop of the Civil War, with it's carnage and destruction, which is never as meaningful to Scarlett as is her fixation on Ashley, who really seems like something of a twit. I do find the second half of the film rough going, though.

Josh

Name: Duffy
E-mail: g_duffy@bellsouth.net

Josh-

I would never presume to tell anyone what to say. That's why freedom of speech is so important. Hideous people are present in every country of every color and every religion. We are living in a crazy and often sick world today. I guess I'm different because I don't presume to tell people who they can be with, don't have clear feelings on stem cell research and perhaps I'm uninformed because I hadn't heard about teaching creation along with evolution. By the way I said entertain and make people THINK. If we aren't entertaining them or making people consider different things or points of view why are we making movies? As for narrow mindedness that is what is "succesfully" making films today, not what we the young up and coming and struggling writers and film makers that come here are trying to do. We are all trying to make a difference even if it just means being and thinking differently. By the way I voted for Gore the first time and didn't even vote the last time because I didn't like either of the candidates. Like George Carlin said if you vote someone into office you have no right to bitch about it later. Don't get mad at me he said it.

Dear Duffy:

Yeah, but I didn't vote Bush into office. I voted against him. It's the H.L. Mencken quote, "Democracy is where the average person gets the government they deserve, good and hard." Just enough of our population is just stupid enough to have voted Bush into office, so the rest of us are stuck with him. And not voting is a cop-out. And I have a right to bitch about everything. Hell, George Carlin makes his living bitching about everything, who's he to say we can't bitch? His last routine was entitled "Complaints & Grievances," for Christ's sake.

Josh

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

Josh,

Regarding Bowie, you failed to mention "Lodger" & "Scary Monsters" which were excellent albums that were released after "Low" and "Heroes". Adrian Belew's guitar work on "Lodger" and Robert Fripp's guitar work on "Scary Monsters is great. One of my favorite Bowie songs is "Look Back in Anger" on "Lodger". I think both of these albums were much better on a whole than "Let's Dance".

My favorite Bowie album has to be "The Man Who Sold the World". I really think that album is great.

I think I became burned out on Bowie and I don't find myself listening to him very much anymore, but I do see him occasionally walking downtown here in NYC, he lives somewhere in Tribeca with his wife Iman.

A few years back he played these four really small venues in Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Queens. One of those venues was an old church here in Brooklyn called St. Ann's where they occasionally have shows. He thought it was great to give back to all his fans over the years and do these little shows and he also like the fact that he could roller blade across the Brooklyn Bridge to get him "to the church on time".

Also with regards to your comments on King Crimson, I am surprised you never listened to anything after "Court". I think that is a fine album, but I think their most prolific period where they where making truly unique music that no one else was making was the period between the albums "Lark's Tongue in Aspic", "Starless and Bible Black", and "Red".

Those three albums were like nothing else and when you listen to them today, they are still like nothing else, especially, "Lark's Tongue". You had Robert Fripp on Guitar, Bill Bruford on Drums, John Wetton on Bass & > vocals, & Peter Cross on Violin with a little Mel Collins on sax and Sinfield still writing some of the lyrics.

The problem with "Court" is that everyone was using the Mellotron at this point including the Moody Blues and they were the ones who prompted Fripp to buy one. I do believe that album was the best of that period, but the band later become even more unique and creative.

On the film front, I am not surprised that you did not like "Napoleon Dynamite", however, I actually enjoyed that film and I am wondering why you found it miserable?

I wasn't sure what to make of it first, but I really enjoyed by the end. My favorite scene is when his friend shaves his hair off because he keeps saying his head is "hot".

I know someone from Idaho where it takes place and they basically said it hits the mood of Idaho right on the nose.

Scott

Dear Scott:

I must diagree. I think neither "Lodger" not "Scary Monsters" is an excellent album. While both albums have a few good cuts -- "Fantastic Voyage," "Teenage Wildlife" -- for the most part they're both loaded with many noisy, discordant, noodling jerk-off songs. The first album I felt that was on "Heroes," where half the songs no longer had melodies, and were just him and Eno and Fripp noodling in Berlin. I think he'd went completely off the deep end on "Lodger," which is filled with weird, somewhat horrible songs like, "African Night Flight," "Yassassin" and "Red Sails." I clearly recall waiting anxiously for that album to come out in 1979, buying it, getting it home, putting it on the turntable, then being basically horrified at how bad it was. I do like "Fantastic Voyage," "D.J." and "Boys Keep Swinging," though. I actually purchased several of those later King Crimson albums, then sold them somewhere along the way. They all seemed like Fripp noodling to me, and I think I just missed Greg Lake.

Josh

Name: Tom
E-mail: bellyoptopus@yahoo.com

Hi Josh,

"The Bewlay Brothers" is a great song. You probably know this already, But "The Bewlay Brothers" is one Bowie's uncharacteristically personal songs, written about himself and his older schizophrenic step-brother, who may have commited suicide. But I may be wrong on that! There are amazing lyrics all over that album, superb production too. I just like the way that album sounds overall.

"Pin Ups" I like, but I must admit I don't listen to often. As slick as the album sounds I would still prefer to listen the the originals. "Shapes Of Things" stands out from memory as being pretty spectacular. On the production side it's obvious that a lot care went to get the songs right, they are all pretty faithful with the exception of "See Emily Play" which takes a different approach. I also like it the least.

I didn't think that anybody here posting was being disparaging to Freddie or Queen. They were a great Band and Freddie was an amazing one of kind vocalist.

I grew up in a christian houshold and went to church 3 times a week until I was sixteen and then told my parents I had enough. Ironically they quit going shortly afterwards. I don't trust any religion (not just christianity) that so certain they know what happens after death and if you don't become one with them in their beliefs that you're eternally damned and a wicked person. I don't think religion is necessary in order to be a good & caring person.

Cheers,

Tom

Dear Tom:

On the contrary, I think if we could dispense with religion then we could see we're all part of the same group, human beings, and it would make life better for everyone. Religion is a form of intentional ignorance. It's a method for people to not have to think about or consider the more difficult aspects of life, like what's it all about, and what happens after I die? It's buying into a single mythology, then kidding yourself for the rest of your life that those myths are literally true, whereas all the other myths are false. I've got news for everybody -- no mythology is true: not Christianity, not Judaism, not Islam, not Hindu, not Buddhism. The truth is in the meaning of the myths, not in taking them literally, which is just ignorant. Worse still are people who can rationalize awful behavior based on their religion, like terrorist acts, going to war, or denying certain groups their rights, all in the name of god. These are the evil people of our species.

Meanwhile, listen to "Pinups" again, it's loaded with great songs, like "Sorrow" and "Rosalyn." I think that's was when David Bowie had his best band, with Mick Ronson, Mike Garson, and Herbie Flowers. I love the fact that the piano player on "Hunky Dory" is the young Rick Wakeman. A lot of musicians got there start with Bowie: Rick Wakeman, Luther Vandross, Mick Ronson, Roy Bittan (who played keyboards on "Station to Station," right before joing Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band), not to mention that he wrote and produced "All the Young Dudes" for Mott the Hoople, and he produced (with Mick Ronson) Lou Reed's best album, "Transformer" (that's Bowie on sax at the end of "Walk on the Wild Side"). From Bowie's song "Quicksand" -- "I'm the twisted name on Garbo's eyes/ living proof of Churchill's lies/ I'm destiny."

Josh

Name: Royler
E-mail: Royler20@aol.com

Becker,

Apologies if this response comes in too late to be relevant. I just re-visited the site and read your undated pieces on "Dogma 2005" and "War of the Worlds."

In the former, you write: "Sequels and remakes are evil, and are always a bad idea. Do not make them and do not see them. If you do see them or make them you are part of the problem, not part of the solution."

I disagree with this sentiment, at least as far as sequels are concerned. Serial entertainment is nothing new or inherently heinous. Doyle wrote dozens of Sherlock Holmes stories - are we to dismiss anything but the first as a "cheap grab" for cash? What about Coppola making a genuine effort with "Godfather II"?

As is the case with most tools, it's only as damaging as the one wielding it wishes it to be. If I enjoy a character, I'm pleased to see more of him/her if the effort is made to expand the mythology.

I do, however, agree with your assessment of "Worlds." While it did mark the first time I could almost buy into CGI as a believable storyelling technique, the plot was so lazy and nonsensical that I felt insulted. Cruise's son "needs" to go see aliens blow up Army tanks for what...some spiritual journey? I would've punched that stupid fuck right in the face and dragged his bleeding carcass to safe harbor.

In a film full of sloppy motivations, I was most disturbed by Cruise's character being compelled to (presumably) beat Tim Robbins to death in order to keep their shelter from being discovered. Too bad he had to vacant the premises two seconds later, making Robbins' death nothing more than a senseless murder.

"Worlds" being visually inventive means little, as that's the price of admission for a science fiction movie these days. Utter dreck.

Dear Royler:

Okay, that's two of you in row defending sequels and remakes. Please see my previous post. But just as you use the word "lazy" regarding the plot of "War of the Worlds," that's what sequels and remakes are, lazy. Yes, there can be the very rare exception, just like some people aren't effected by poison ivy, but for the most part it's a bad idea to walk through patches of poison ivy. For the most part, sequels and remakes are a bad idea, and more often than not, they make bad films. And the more writers fall back on sequels and remakes, the harder time they'll have even attempting to be original.

Josh

Name: Vanishingpoint
E-mail: No thanks

Josh,

I've been reading "Ask the Director" for years and although I often disagree with you I rarely feel the need to comment. However your repeated comments about how ALL sequels and remakes are worthless is clearly ridiculous nonsense - like most sweeping generalisations are.

You've already said "Don't mention GODFATHER II or BEN HUR" which is a bit disingenuous! You make a provocative comment and "justify" it by excluding two of the most powerful examples which would repudiate it. There are many further examples though. How many do you require?

My knowledge of film is very limited (although in true proletariat fashion "I know what I like") and I realise there is no point in citing many of my favourite films such as EVIL DEAD II and (John Carpenter's)THE THING as examples. Instead I have glanced at your list of favourite films and found examples of remakes and sequels are all over the place. I stopped looking before the end.

ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD (1938) is broadly a remake of the 1922 film. ALIEN and ALIENS. (I would add the second sequel in as another good film myself.) A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS is a remake of the Japanese film. (I would add A FEW DOLLARS MORE and THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY myself which are then sequels of a remake.) FRANKENSTEIN and THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN (I would consider throwing in some of the Dracula and Wolfman films as well.) GREAT EXPECTATIONS and any of the Shakespeare's: HAMLET and HENRY V for example are all remakes of earlier films let alone the countless stage productions in the case of Shakespeare. KING SOLOMON's MINES is a remake. MAD MAX and MAD MAX II (The Road Warrior), THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN is a remake of the Japanese original...

It would be easy to go on but (myself) I think the point is pretty clear. Both remakes and sequels CAN be great films. Will you say these (and the many other examples I could give) are all "exceptions to the rule"? That the vast majority of sequels and remakes are poor? Wake up and listen to yourself, Josh. As you keep telling us, the vast majority of all films are poor. Most original scripts are poor, most adaptations are poor and most of everything is poor.

I guess you're going to rip me a new and alternative orifice for my presumption but I get offended by the lazy generalisation. Watch a film, if it's rubbish say so but please don't dismiss a film merely because it is a remake or a sequel. Judge on merit - which I suspect is all you would ask of people viewing your own films.

Sorry this post is so long.

Vanishingpoint

Incidentally I saw DOG SOLDIERS on the television a while back. I was astounded when people recommended it to you. While I find it hard to predict your taste in films. (I thought the original TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE was worthless, badly acted and lacking any obvious script. Not one scene provided even the gentlest of frights but so boring I nearly fell asleep.) I still can't believe DOG SOLDIERS would appeal to you. A hackneyed old premise sees a small group taking refuge in a farmhouse and surrounded by werewolves. Conveniently the unstoppable werewolves keep breaking off their attacks when they could quite obviously rout the group anytime they wanted to. As the group get picked off one at a time we wait until (shock) one of the group inside turns out to be...

If you have seen EVIL DEAD or NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD or ALIEN you do not need to see this film. It is made worse by dreadful werewolf effects (stuntmen wearing 'solid' heads - not even the jaws move) and although set at night the director has made no effort to hide daylight streaming in the windows.

Dear Vanishingpoint:

I seriously believe that defending sequels and remakes, even if they're not 100% bad, but only 99% bad, is simply a defense of unoriginality. We're getting about a hundred sequels and remakes a year now, and you can count all the good ones since 1922 on one hand and one foot. **For the most part**, sequels and remakes are a bad idea. One of the points I've tried to get across a number of times is that if your intentions going into the production are poor, the film will be poor. Why you're making the movie matters. And if your motivation is, "Well, the first one made money, so let's just do it again," your intentions stink and therefore your film will be bad. Hopefully, each of us will tell the stories that only we can tell because they mean so much to us. Defending unoriginality is silly position.

Josh

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

Josh,

In a discussion on a friend's message board, we were talking about Iraq, and I'll repost comments I made there here.

What makes Iraq FAR worse than Vietnam, in my opinion, is the radical Muslim faction. With Vietnam, you were dealing with a country. With Iraq, you're also facing a WORLD WIDE MOVEMENT-RADICAL ISLAM.

Terrorists could be of any color, any race. What makes folks think we don't have a radical Islamist Timmy Mc Veigh right here in the U.S, waiting to blow up some federal building? Remember that Islamic U.S. army soldier that blew up a grenade in his camp, killing a few of his fellow soldiers?

Folks here should note also the link in my previous post that deals with Al Qaeda mixing in with folks in Mexico, Central and South America. There is a growing anti-American sentiment going on in those places. And nutcases like Pat Robertson and Hugo Chavez aren't helping matters. Taking out all Americans from Iraq wouldn't matter. They'll come after us for disgracing Iraq, killing thousands of Iraquis/fellow Arabs, and for desecrating Islamic lands, hearts and minds.

Of course, the radicals have hit already with 9/11. And yes, there should be retaliation for that. But who are we retaliating against, and for what reason?! **That** is the crux of the problem.

When George Bush won the Presidency for the first time, I got a sickening feeling inside me. And sadly, it looks my instincts are right again.

It's every man and woman for himself. We may have started a "thousand year war." Could we be looking at the beginning of the end for America's status as a superpower? Well, Rome once was one of the most powerful forces on the planet, and look what happened to them.

Empires rise and fall. Our turn to fall will come. It's just a matter of time.

Dear Saul:

A jolly good morning to you, too. I'd say America's influence already peaked and we've begun the slide downward. We're still the biggest consumers in the world, which gives a certain clout in the market, but makes us look big fat pigs. But we're so busily giving away all of our jobs that that won't last, either. And everybody will not retool into software designers, nor even most people, for that matter. Attacking Iraq has only exacerbated our problems, not to mention squandered a lot of our resources. Seemingly, we can't control our own government anymore. They lie to us, kill our children, use up our money and our resources, and we just sit on our asses and take it.

Josh

Name: Duffy (I am not a man!)
E-mail: g_duffy@bellsouth.net

Josh, okay let me say this-first of all I talk religion even less than I talk politics so here goes. Not all Christians are left wing conservatives or what not and don't correct me and say yes they are because I am an independent and a Christian. Second I did not get into writing or making films to change the public religously I do it because I want to entertaint the public and make them think. I write, read and watch horror. Stephen King is my favorite author for that matter and I resent anyone saying that people that believe in God or Jesus only want to make films or shows to convert people. I'm not perfect yeah and I may or may not believe some hard to believe things about the world or beyond, but above all I believe in myself and what I want to do for nearly the rest of my life. Make good films! I'm done and maybe it will piss people off but like I said before I came here to talk about film, writing and good grief the Queen/Bowie debate that is now a monster out of control. I love to read the comments here and you have been more help with writing and other tips than you could possibly imagine. So what if we disagree on things? Who cares. We all agree that the state of movies out today stink and I honestly can't remember a film from the past couple of years that I would tell anybody to see. Let's concentrate on that and work on being the best damn film makers and writers etc... ever. Yeah I cursed, it happens.

Dear Duffy:

So, what are you suggesting, that we can't talk about religion? It's too big and silly of a subject to avoid. Meanwhile, I think you mean right wing conservatives, not left wing. No, not all Christians are right wing conservatives. But it's predominately Christian right wing conservatives who are promoting hatred against gay people, who back Bush and the war, who are against stem cell research, who think that "intelligent design" should be taught along with evolution (which, as Bill Maher said, is like teaching the stork theory of birth in medical school, just to get both sides). It's not that all Muslims are terrorists by any means, but pretty much all terrorists are Muslims. But these are the issues of our day, and they should be part of our thinking as filmmakers, as artists. Movies aren't just entertainment, and that's part of the narrow-sightedness going on these days.

Josh

Name: Roger Plafkin
E-mail: plafkin@juno.com

Dear Josh:

We have a 50 acre oasis (farm) located between Ada and Cascade, Michigan. We have beautiful areas to film and photograph fashions, autos, boats, equipment of all kinds, scenarios using horses and cattle. We have woods, wetlands, water, and an abundance of wild life. We have been here for 44 years. Our location offers a convenient situation for the employment of actors, lighting specialists, make-up artists, camera crews and other talented people. When you go through Universal Studios in California, a voice over the loud speaker says that this was a chicken farm, so everyone had to start someplace. To keep 50 acres open and in its natural state is not the easiest thing to do in todays environment. I would appreciate some consideration from the film industry as far as using this property is concerned. It would be a win situation for all.

Dear Roger:

You forgot to mention that both Cascade and Ada have Panavision outlets, film laboratories, video-transfer facilities, international airports, and a wide selection of actors to choose from, too.

Josh

Name: dan
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

whats going on with the new dvd release of running time / thou shalt not kill...except?

why are they re-releasing them? is there going to be new things on the dvd's like the 45min version strykers war or any other short films?

thanks

Dear dan:

Why are they re-releasing them? Because they believe they can sell more of them. I've been pushing to include "Stryker's War" from the beginning, but I still don't think they'll include it. Possibly clips. I've also suggested that they use my storyboards for TSNKE. But the real point, I suppose, is to just get the films back on the market.

Josh

Name: Tom
E-mail: bellyoptopus@yahoo.com

Hi Josh,

I've stumbled onto quite a few articles in the last couple of years concerning christian groups. There's a concerted effort among these groups to get jobs in television, film & broadcasting in order to influence & > control the viewing/listening content of the general public. It's pretty sickening! Of course it's all to protect children. But I think I can manage to protect my own children without their help!

The crimes of Nixon look like petty theft compared to George W. Bush.

On Bowie and Queen, I'll take Bowie, but I'm a big fan of Queen as well. All of Bowie's stuff is fantastic the way up to the "Heroes" album. I like "Low" too, those 2 albums weren't on your list in your previous responses. "Hunky Dory" is my personal favorite. There's something to be said though that Bowie appeals to the intellect & > Freddie appealed to the heart. But, Queen never really got close to making a perfect album but had some great songs, and of course they were fantastic fun live.

I haven't heard of "The Underground Orchestra" is that something that's out on video/DVD or playing in festivals/theatres currently?

Dear Tom:

I saw "The Underground Orchestra" on TV, although it was on some weird channel. I like "Low" very much, but that's the change that sort of sunk him, I think. As I was discussing with Shirley (the webmaster here), I think Bowie jumped the shark when he appeared on Bing Crosby's last special and sang "The Little Drummer Boy" with him. Bowie had his one comeback with "Let's Dance," but he couldn't follow it up. Nevertheless, David Bowie put out seven great albums in a row: "Hunky Dory," "Ziggy Stardust," "Alladin Sane," "Pinups," "Diamond Dogs," "Young Americans" and "Station to Station." Eight if you count "Low," nine if you also count "The Man Who Sold the World," and ten if you also include "Space Oddity." I am at this very moment listening to "Pinups," which is a brilliant album, and possibly the best collection of rock & roll cover versions ever. Nobody else has ever written lyrics like Bowie. From "The Bewley Brothers," -- "My brother lays upon the rocks/ he could be dead/ he could be not/ he could be you/ he's comedian chameleon Corinthian and caricature." Wow.

Josh

Name: Jeremy Milks
E-mail: admin@homecomingcreations.com

Dear Josh:

... just to make myself look a bit less like an idiot (which is hard to do ... you've talked to me, you can vouch for the difficulty of me sounding smart), I did see those pictures of the truck, but it wasn't until later. When Bush was elected, I was in 9th grade, and then the war started my junior or senior year (I can't remember which, time is beginning to pass by me at unholy speeds), and durring that time I had very little interest in the specifics and the breifings of the public and all the other shit that the government does to justify things, so I got most of my info from teachers ... who fed me false information, repeating word for word what the Bush Administration was saying, only without all pauses to think up an answer or all the nervous sweating of the people on the tv. I really only started to give a damn towards the end of my senior year/beginning of my first semester of college, and that was only because it was the first year I could vote.

I never supported Bush when he ran for president in 2000. I was for McCain (spelling?), and then when Bush became the Republican candidate, I was for Gore. This last election, I rooted for Dean until Kerry (my second choice) became the nominee, then I voted Kerry.

Bush is an idiot, and I've never liked him, but I was unaware of just how much of an idiot and asshole he was until the truth came out about the war. Then I felt ashamed of myself, then I decided to focus my attention on things I know better than politics ... which would be movies.

I'm useless politically.

Jeremy Milks

Dear Jeremy:

Your vote counts as much as anyone else's. Look, most people got suckered in by Bush because most people aren't terribly smart and will basically do as their told, or they're just not paying any attention in the first place. That's why you still have about 37% of the population saying, "We attacked Iraq 'cause they blew up the World Trade Centers." These are the same people who think the world is 5,000 years old, that Jesus was the literal son of god, who is himself an old white man with a long beard who watches every move all six billion people make every second of the day, then decides who's naughty and who's nice, and that heaven is this place where you fly around with wings and land on puffy clouds. If you can buy all that horseshit, then why not believe that Iraq attacked us?

Josh

Name: Swami
E-mail: sswamison@hotmail.com

Dear Josh:

Are you looking forward to the upcoming Showtime series Masters of Horror? Even if you don't get Showtime they'll be released on DVD later this year. If you're not familiar with the project, it's a bunch of cool new original films (hour long) from John Carpenter, John Landis, George Romero, Dario Argento, and a bunch of other genre vets. All the segments will be uncensored--scripts were too, so it's the first time in a long time these guys have had this freedom, no studio interference and all. I know they're already planning a second season of the show with a whole different crop of horror directors, and while your resume wouldn't necessarily lend itself to being one of the first twelve modern masters of the genre, I think you definitely have a shot at the second season, or at very least, the third season. Would that kind of thing interest you? I know you have a horror script or two posted on this site, do you have any hour long scripts?

Also, what do you think of screenwriting contests (the kind where they charge you 50 bucks to enter)? Ever do one?

Dear Swami:

The "Masters of Horror" series is being produced by Anchor Bay Ent., the folks who release several of my films on DVD (as well as "Evil Dead"), and will hopefully be producing my next film, "The Horribleness." I have no interest in being part of that show. And I would never pay anyone to read one of my scripts. I don't like contests.

Josh

Name: Darryl Mesaros
E-mail: simonferrer@sbcglobal.net

Dear Josh,

If you had your druthers of the two, which film version of Matheson's "I am Legend" would you rather watch, "The Last Man on Earth" or "Omega Man?" I just bought the earlier Vincent Price version, and while I think that he emotes better than Charlton Heston, there's just something missing from his performance. Granted, Price's character is an ordinary man in an extraordinary situation, but he just doesn't come off as a tough or physically capable guy (it always seemed unimaginable that he would ever ball up his fist and hit somebody), whereas Heston is badass. Any thoughts?

Darryl

P.S. Not to nitpick (...okay, to nitpick), but Myanmar used to be Burma, not Siam. Siam is the old name for Thailand. In the case of Burma, the military dictatorship that rules the country renamed it Myanmar after they came to power, ostensibly to throw off the remaining vestiges of British colonialism.

Dear Darryl:

I knew that about Myanmar, I just wasn't thinking. Meanwhile, I'd take "Omega Man," although I like the ending on "Last Man on Earth" better, which is the ending from the book, that he's now the monster. But "Omega Man" is just a better movie, and Heston and Anthony Zerbe are both better than anyone in "Last Man."

Josh

Name: Jason
E-mail: svanan@pd.jaring.my

Dear Josh:

Is distance a problem for scriptwriters outside america? how those outside america will able to sell the scripts?

Dear Jason:

What does "my" stand for? Myanmar? (Myanmar was formerly Siam). Meanwhile, it's very hard to sell a script no matter where you live. But you just have to figure out how to get your script to producers, and that's not easy even if you live in L.A. So, I don't think you're at a great disadvantage, but there is some value to being near where the film producers live and work.

Josh

Name: Matt David T.
E-mail: msturnbull@comcast.net

Dear Josh:

Out of context, this quote of yours is very very funny. "...they are my babies and I won't choose one over the other. I'd like to shoot a lot of them."

Wee! Fun!

On an unrelated note - I'm glad to hear you're not aiming backwards, in regards to looking at the golden age. Let's start something new!

On to my question:

The best critically reviewed film of the year which did not have a platform release, is the 40 Year Old Virgin. It's apparantly a classicly styled/structured raunchy comedy, with a lot of attention to characterization.

Firstly - It's embarrassing that it's August and the best critically reviewed film of the year isn't a drama.

Second - Any plans to see it? I'm going to, but I do a lot of dumb things.

Dear Matt:

No, I won't go see that. The critics can't be trusted, nor word of mouth, for that matter. People actually wrote in here and said that "Shaun of the Dead" was good and I ought to see it, and it's not funny, it's not amusing, it's nothing. "Napoleon Dynamite" was a hit and well-received, and it's miserable, unfunny crap. For Christ sake, "War of the Worlds" got good reviews, and it's truly hammered shit. As Bill Maher said, you know the movies are truly in the shitter when everyone would prefer to watch penguins over all the Hollywood crap. And the indie films seem even worse. I TiVo many indie films from IFC and Sundance, and I can rarely make it through even 15 minutes of most of them. The only films I can get all the way through anymore are documentaries and old movies. I just saw the 1934 version of "The Age of Innocence," and I'd say it's better than Scorsese's version, if for nothing else it's almost an hour shorter. Also, even though I like Michelle Pfieffer, Irene Dunne was better in the part. I just saw a good Dutch documentary about the street musicians in Paris, called "The Underground Orchestra."

Josh

Name: Raoul
E-mail: ra0ul01@yahoo.com

Dear Josh:

Just a couple thoughts in regard to the uber-patriot who recently posted in support of the war in Iraq. There was an interesting article in the N.Y. Times by someone who has studied all suicide bombings of the last 20 years. The conclusion is that virtually all are committed by people trying to maintain sovereinity over what they percieve to be their homeland. Hezbollah wasn't using suicide bombers until Isreal invaded Lebanon in 1982; and likewise, there were no suicide bombings in Iraq until our troops took control of that country. The fact that the U.S. overthrew the Iraqi President and established a new govt., and the continuing presence of U.S. troops there, is the Number 1 factor in helping groups like Al Quaida recruit suicide bombers. As long as there is a U.S. military force in that country, there will always be 'martyrs' willing to blow themselves up for the cause of getting the West out of the Middle East. Since the reasons Bush told us we were going to war have all proven to be lies, the only logical reasons we invaded were either personal vendetta or for the opportunity to rape the American taxpayer through war profiteering. Either way, any real patriot should be calling for impeachment. Do you have any thoughts on why this isn't happening? As oldsters who lived through Watergate, we remember how completely that story dominated all media (my first views of Congress in action were the live hearings, which I believe were carried on all networks.) What Bush has done seems much worse than Nixon's crimes; why aren't journalists pursuing his lies with more vigor? I hate to be a conspiracy nut, but it really seems like "The News Media" have been completely co-opted since the days of Woodward & Bernstein.

Dear Raoul:

That's what I think, too. There's no freedom of the press anymore, it's all been co-opted by giant conglomerates who are all kissing the government's ass for one reason or another and don't want to make too many waves. Our country has been turned around backward by conservative, right-wing, fundamentalist Christian money-grubbers, who seriously believe that a one-second glimpse of Janet Jackson's breast is far worse than killing 125,000 innocent Iraqi civilians, or 2,000 of our own soldiers. These yahoos have their heads so fucked up that they believe they can preach the peaceful words of Jesus while simultaneously calling for the assassination of a human being because he's a "leftist." So I think the big change since Watergate is the strong emergence of the conservative Christian right-wing, who don't give the slightest shit about truth, justice or honor, they just want blood, and everyone to be like them.

Josh

Name: Jeremy Milks
E-mail: admin@homecomingcreations.com

Dear Josh:

I was just wondering if you have any favorite Bowie songs? Between Queen and Bowie I think i prefer Queen, but then again I grew up with Queen more than I did Bowie (though I do love Bowie).

I actually got Best of Bowie awhile back. it kicks my ass. Both an old journalism teacher of mine and my father were amazed that I like Bowie. I believe the exact quote for both of them were "[looks at my cds] YOU LIKE BOWIE!"

I think one of my all time favorites is Man Who Sold The World ... that and Fame, Golden Years, and I'm Afraid of Americans. And of course, who can forget Changes. Bowie is awesome.

But I also like me my Bohemian Raphsody (I hope I spelled that right). So Bowie rivals Queen for me, and the more I think of it, the more I'm not sure which I prefer ... dammit Josh Becker, don't make me think, it causes me to change my train of thought. :)

I'm going slightly mad
I'm going slightly mad
It's finally happened, happened

Dear Jeremy:

See the previous post.

Josh

Name: Joe
E-mail: dve223@aol.com

Josh,

Saw the Jacket yesterday and must say, pretty good flick, but wow, Adrian Brody is a really good actor.

Got me thinking of where he fits on a list of actors or actresses today. I think right now he's up there. Heres a few thoughts --

BEST
1. Adrian brody (he's seriously interesting on screen and can convey subtle emotion really well, without over acting.)
2. Billy Bob thornton (he always strikes me as a guy who commands the screen. Hes a natural. He can be quite intense. Hes good.)
3. Micky Rourke. (Know you dont like comic movies, but the performance this guy gives in sin city is stunning. The guy can read the phone book and make it interesting.)

WORST
1. Travolta. (Is anyone still fooled that this guy is a good actor? To me he's creepy. Who is casting this guy?)
2. Keanu reeves. (the guy made like 40 films in his life and he still resembles a piece of driftwood on screen.)

BEST
1. cate blanchett. (not only a unique beauty, but a real ability to play different roles with intensity and great emotion.)
2. marisa tomei. (this girl is really underrated. Saw her in a film recently with Vincent Donofrio--she can express emotion like few actresses. Why isnt she in more films, instead of someone like Ashley Judd who is merely eye candy.)
3. Keira Knightly. (classic movie star looks a la grace kelly and not a bad little actress either.)

WORST
1. natalie portman. (everyone is wooed by her. Im not buying it. I dont believe any of her performances.)
2. penelope cruz. (for one, I cant understand her. she is beautiful otherwise shed be a soap opera star.)

what do you think?

Dear Joe:

I'm not a big fan of these best/worst lists. I don't think Adrien Brody has had a chance to really prove himself yet, even with an Oscar. He's certainly a good actor, but time will tell if he's great. Otherwise, I don't think artists really need to be rated in best/worst lists.

Josh

Name: Guy Pseudonym
E-mail: psudo@nym.com

Dear Josh:

I have to agree with Duffy... Queen appeals to me more than Bowie, although I am willing to cede you the point that Bowie is more influential to other artists and therefore more important historically. Historical importance aside, though, Queen beats Bowie for me most of the time because I emotionally connect with Queen's best songs far more than I do the Bowie songs I like. It just seems to me that Bowie is usually more oblique about what exactly he's talking about in his songs, therefore although I admire them I have a harder time connecting. What exactly is a "man who sold the world?" Why does "modern love" get Bowie to the "church on time?" I don't know. I think they're groovy songs, but I don't feel a great emotional connection to the meaning of the lyrics, since I don't really understand what he's getting at. The same argument could easily be leveled at "Bohemian Rhapsody," but that isn't really one of my favorite Queen songs, anyway.

Finally, I would agree that Highlander is a crappy film, but I love Queen's music for it, especially the haunting ballad "Who Wants to Live Forever." Similarly, I love their soundtrack to the crapfest "Flash Gordon." It was the first album I ever bought.

Dear Guy:

As I've said, Queen was a good band, although a lot more straight forward pop, and nearly ten years later. "Bohemian Rhapsody" is a brilliant little opera parody, "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" is a terrific '50s-style rocker, "Under Pressure" is just a great song. On and on. But for me, Bowie songs like "Life on Mars" or "The Beweley Brothers" or "Sweet Thing" or "Station to Station" or "Panic in Detroit" or "Changes" or "Young Americans" or even "Space Oddity" are on a entirely different plane. But I readily admit, that's just me. And if you don't know those albums, you really should.

Josh

Name: Darryl Mesaros
E-mail: simonferrer@sbcglobal.net

Dear Josh,

Regarding KC: how did I get dragged into this? We've had our political disagreements on this site but, like gentlemen, we've managed to keep it civil. lol..but what do I know, I only have one brain....
Summing up the first perspective camera, I think that when the technique is dragged out too far, it seems artificial, and draws too much attention to itself. What is your opinion on this?

Darryl

Dear Darryl:

The first-person POV shot is mainly a schtick. It's main purpose is for walking up hallways in horror movies.

Josh

Name: TJ
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

I'd like to know more about Lost in Dino World, since I saw a mention of it in the Sci-Fi wire news bit. Bringing together quite a reunion it seems?

Dear TJ:

I'm not at liberty to discuss that project yet.

Josh

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

Dear Josh:

Ever meet a guy named Phillip Adrian Booth in your Xena days? He's a brit that directed a recent low budget horror movie I'm achin' to see.. said he had worked at the scifi channel and on xena and herc, but didn't imply whether he wrote, directed or shot the stuff, probably was camera assist for all i know. keep left handin' them josh!

Dear Dustin:

Never heard of him, so I'd guess he wasn't a director or a writer, and he certainly wasn't a DP on the show.

Josh

Name: Jeremy Milks
E-mail: admin@homecomingcreations.com

... KC thinks I have one brain? That's about one more than most people think I have. Though I don't know why he dragged me into this.

Politically, for the most part, I agree with you Josh. I did support the war at first, when Bush was lying to us all, but after the truth came out I said fuck him and fuck the war. I'm happy Sadam is captured and all, but not at the cost we paid. The rest of the world hates the USA even more now all because we have a loud mouth cowboy for a president who has the IQ of Brick from "Anchor Man" (assuming he's even that smart).

I think George Carlin called Bush "Something short of an idiot." which always gives me a chuckle. Oh and Bush's laugh annoys me so fucking much, not because it sounds stupid (which it does) but because it's always at the worst times. Like right after he announced that our economy blows or that a thousand more troops have died in Iraq ... I'm exagerating obviously, but you get my drift.

I don't know. This make me a Liberal or Conservative? I'm befuddled. Thank God I'm registered as an Independant.

Dear Jeremy:

I'm still boggled that anyone believed anything this administration ever said. The rationale going into this war was the embarrasing, humiliating, pathetic speech given by that utter wimp, Colin Powell, before the UN Security Council, where he lied non-stop for two hours. I'm sorry, but anyone that bought that load of shit is a moron. He showed a satellite photo of a truck in the desert and said, "This is working chemical weapons factory." Really? It looks like a truck. The he showed a photo of truck, and said, "This is a mobile chemical weapons factory," then showed a diagram of what might possibly be inside the truck, which of course wasn't. This entire war and all it's carnage have all been for Bush's own amusement and his own personal issues. He has made the world a much more dangerous place. Next to the tsunami, George W. Bush now reigns as the biggest mass-murderer of the 21st century.

Josh

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

Dear Josh:

What disturbs me even more than war mongering is the belief that patriotism requires unquestioning support of a government, no matter what it's actions. This sickness is similar to the mindless approach that many have to practicing religion. Just read an interesting article that goes into, what is really, just the lazy man's approach to life. Leave all guilt and responsibility to the man in the sky:

http://www.interventionmag.com/cms/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=1141

Dear Jim:

Nothing new there for me. Yes, both religion and "ultra-patriotism" are forms of non-thinking. It's saying that big picture is just too big, so I won't bother thinking about it, I'll leave all my thinking to someone else. They're both insidious and awful, and a bastion for the stupid.

Josh

Name: Duffy
E-mail: g_duffy@bellsouth.net

Re: KC's comments;
Woah, woah, woah! How did I get involved with the Bush/terrorist/Iraq thing? I only started the Christopher Lambert controversy. I have no political comments to make, I only want to talk film perhaps music and most definitely writing. If I had a comment to make about stuff like that is only to say I am beginning to fear for the future of the entire world a bit that's it. Oh and maybe start another controversy by saying that I think Freddie outsang Bowie by a mile and according to him his all time high in music was when he collaborated with his favorite opera singer Montserrat Caballe of Barcelona Spain. Keep me out of politics!
Duffy

Dear Duffy:

I'm an old-time David Bowie fan, so there isn't even a comparison to be made as far as I'm concerned. And I liked Freddie Mercury and Queen, but they never did anything on par with "Hunky Dory," "Ziggy Stardust," "Alladin Sane," "Diamond Dogs," "Young Americans" and "Station to Station," and Bowie wrote almost everyone of those songs. David Bowie kind of defined the sound of 1971-74 on a level that Queen never came close to. When Queen was in their heyday it was already the disco era. They were a side-show of a side-show.

Josh

Name: Diana Hawkes
E-mail: upon request

Hi ya --

Lucy Lawless mentioned you kindly in a blurb recently: http://www.scifi.com/scifiwire2005/index.php?category=0&id=32150

We'd love to hear more about this. Chat it up! What are the source materials for Lost in Dino World that you've spoofed? Things like Planet of the Apes or Jurassic Park? I bet you all together on set again wouldn't resist throwing in lines that spoof Xena. It'd be hard to turn Ted off of adlibbed gags like that I assume! Let us know the status every once in a while; I hope this gang can indeed get together.

Dear Diana:

My collaborator, Paul Harris, and I are just about done with the first draft. It's severely wacky stuff with every kind of gag there is. Let's just hope that Lucy, Rob Tapert, Renee, Bruce and Ted all like it. But I'd rather not discuss the details at this time.

Josh

Name: Tom
E-mail: bellyoptopus@yahoo.com

Hi Josh,

I just wanted to add that Bush & Cheney had Iraq on their agenda pre 9/11. If you watch interviews with them during the 2000 campaign they were sowing the seeds of paranoia about Saddam Hussein even then. They used the disturbance & paranoia over 9/11 to make the leap to Iraq, and that's criminal in my book. Everything they told us about the looming threat of Iraq has been proven bogus...now it really is one of the most dangerous countries, for Iraqies. I really feel bad for them that their country is more deadly than ever, thanks to George Bush. Why we aren't demanding his impeachment for all the needless deaths is beyond me. If we would've stayed focused on Bin Laden and his cohorts this could've been over a long time ago, and you're right that getting Bin Laden now doesn't mean squat because the problem has evolved into something way bigger and much worse.

Is being called a liberal really an insult to a liberal!

On a lighter note, Josh. If you had the over all choice to make a film of any of the screenplays you've written, what would it be?

Thanks,

Tom

Dear Tom:

It certainly doesn't insult me being called a liberal. A liberal is a forward-thinking person; a conservative is a backward-thinking person. Conservatives want things to be the way they used to be, and they never will. It's an illogical view of the world. Just like the definition in U.S. News & World Reports, which defined the difference as: liberals believe in social programs; conservatives believe everyone should help themselves. Well, once again, the conservative perspective is totally illogical and out of touch with the real world. Guess what? Everybody can't help themselves, that's reality. The oldest law that exists in the western world is Hammurabi's Code, which is over 3,000 years old, and it's simply this -- the strong must look out for the weak. And why the weak-willed, lilly-livered democrats aren't pursuing impeachment proceddings against Bush causes me to have even more disdain for them.

Regarding my scripts, they are my babies and I won't choose one over the other. I'd like to shoot a lot of them.

Josh

Name: KC
E-mail:

JOSH...

...I'm sick of your big shot bullying and bruising and your left-handed liberal SLAPS to the faces of good and honest Americans and film lovers. Please, for the sake of patriotism, stop it.

Maybe you'd like it if the terrorists DID win? Huh? Can you imagine what that would be like, Mr. Science Fiction writer, man? It'd be something like those goofy termite aliens in your stupid winning, only a hundred times worse, you know why? Because that threat is REAL. Just some munchies for thought, Josh, because while you are capable of some interesting thoughts and criticisms, sometimes you just can be insensitive or uninformed. I know you'd like us all to think you're "The Man with Two Brains," but sometimes you sound like "The Man with No Brains." I hate to break it to you, Josh, but just like any other man (who doesn't have some tumor-twin growing out of his back) you are just, like all of us, like me and Duffy and Jeremy and Darryl and other liberals and conservitives alike, a "Man with One Brain."

Thank you for your consideration,

Ralph

Dear KC:

I take it you're one of the diminishing few who still believes Bush's bullshit that attacking Iraq had something, anything, to do with 9/11, which of course it didn't. In fact, were you actually paying any attention to what's going on, the former head of the Bin Laden unit at the CIA for ten years (both before and after 9/11), Micheal Shuerer, was on "60 Minutes" this Sunday, and said that the greatest gift America could have ever given Osama bin Laden was attacking Iraq. We have caused al Qaeda to solidify, unify, and become ten times larger. He said that at one point killing bin Laden would have made a difference, like right after 9/11, but once we attacked Iraq and solidified al Qaeda, killing bin Laden no longer matters, it's all gotten too big. So, Mr. "Good and Honest American," if you're a conservative who supports Bush and this war, you also support al Qaeda and the terrorists. I'm against terrorism, so I'm logically against Bush, Republicans, and all conservatives, who are all, quite frankly, scoundrels hiding behind a cloak of patriotism. If you were a true patriot you would naturally want this horribly wrong-headed war, which has already taken the lives of at least 125,000 innocent people, to be over. So don't get on my website and lecture me about being a "good and honest American," because I think you're an unpatriotic, unAmerican asshole. Fuck you!

Josh

Name: Jeremy Milks
E-mail: admin@homecomingcreations.com

"I thought Chris Lambert made the chimps look smart in "Greystoke." The guy has the appearance of a moron, and he's in the same acting category as Jean- Claude Van Damme and Steven Seagal. It's swell that you like him, but he stinks."

That made me laugh but it was cruel man. Greystoke wasn't that good of a movie. And as far as looking like a moron goes that might be because he has a wandering eye (I think the left one) and therefor has to struggle to keep his focus, but he does do the stupid or dumbstruck look well, so you might be on to something.

I like him. I don't expect everybody to though. Good chat again Mr. Becker.

Jeremy Milks

Dear Jeremy:

I do think Chris lambert looks somewhat simian with his sloped brow, and therefore appropriate casting for Tarzan. But Tarzan is supposed to be smarter than the chimps, and he didn't pull that off.

Josh

Name: Darryl Mesaros
E-mail: simonferrer@sbcglobal.net

Dear Josh,

I saw a mention of "Lady in the Lake" in the documentary featurette for "Dark Passage." Not having seen the first film, I would still say that it sounds like Hawks used the POV technique better in his film, based on your description of Montgomery's.
As for weight, I'm in the same boat as you. I don't think I weigh too much, but the Army disagrees. So I've stopped eating as much, and have cut back on my beer intake (it hurts that I don't like light beer, which tastes like piss to me, so I'd rather drink good beer, just less of it). Being a Yankee, I drink alot of the more tony imports (Hoegarden, Franziskaner and the like), with Sam Adams, Blue Label, and Black Label on the domestic side of the house. How about you?

Darryl

Dear Darryl:

I like Bass Ale and Beck's. I like dark German beers, but if I buy a lighter beer I'd often go for Rolling Rock. I won't drink light beer, either. Meanwhile, the first big POV shot was in Rouben Mamoulian's 1932 version of "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde."

Josh

Name: Greene
E-mail: greene_chs@hotmail.com

Hi Josh

Two things:
One, flashbacks should be used sparingly and kept to a reasonable length except when the whole story is set in the past, like Frailty. I remember watching Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and getting lost in the middle because a huge chunk (about 20 minutes or so) is a flashback right dad in the centre of the flick.
...and on Kane, I've always loved when Kane's being asked about sinking money into a losing paper, he says, "Yeah, at this rate, if I lose a million a year, I should go bankrupt...in about 60 years" and we Kane smirk. There's rarely been an actor like Welles who could be so smug, yet so likeable.

Dear Brett:

"Citzen Kane" uses flashbacks brilliantly, but it's entirely about that -- who remembers what about him? A brilliant use of flashback is in "The Wild Bunch," where you go into the flashback from Robert Ryan's POV, then come out on Willaim Holden's POV. Or, as I've mentioned before, "Body and Soul," which begins with John Garfield fitfully asleep in a gazebo, flashes back to Acts I & II, then finally comes back to him, he wakes up and has to go fight for the world championship, which makes it feel very immediate.

Josh

Name: Russell
E-mail: russbo@russelltopia.com

Dear Josh:

I read your reply and now that I understand the intention of the movie and plot, I get it. :) Silly me. LOL! Anyway, next time it comes around on Sci Fi, I'll give it another try. Sorry for insulting you. I apologize.

Re: flashbacks and my scene in question, as much as I hate to that baby go, it's just going to have to get the axe. We as spec script writers have a responsibility to cut scenes we love but don't want to and keep the ones that fit the story best, am I right? It was a cool scene, too, but it would have shot another $100,000 or more into the budget and we want to keep the budget as low as possible. I can still have the scene but one of the characters, who was a little boy in the flashback and is remembering the events of that night, can just narrate and explain the flashback. I figured we didn't want to freak readers and audiences out too much with a scene that picks them up and slams them down into their seats that early in the story. Thanks for the help, Josh. You've put it into perspective for me.

The next chance I get some time, I'll look over your structure essays. I need as much help as I can get. Thanks again.

One last thing... I see Bruce finally got his dream picture off the ground and it's heading for Sci Fi soon. The Man With The Screaming Brain. Did you help him on that show at all? Looking forward to seeing that one... and Alien Apocalypse. :)

Russell

Dear Russell:

I'm not for one second saying that "Alien Apocalypse" isn't a silly film, but as I kept saying all the way through the production, "As far as SciFi Channel movies go, this is going to be 'Gone With the Fucking Wind'." Has anyone else seen the SciFi original films "Dragon Storm" or "Puppet Master Vs. Demon Toys" or "Shark Attack 1, 2 or 3" or "Snakehead Terror"? Given that context, "Alien Apocalypse" is "Gone With the Fucking Wind." Can or should it be compared to legitimately good science fiction films? I don't think so, but that wasn't it's point. The Saturday night slot on SciFi Channel is not for serious sci-fi. Regarding "Screaming Brain," Bruce shot that immediately after completing AA in Bulgaria with the same crew, and much of the same cast, too, but I had already split.

Josh

Name: Jeremy Milks
E-mail: admin@homecomingcreations.com

Dear Josh:

... did I hear you dissing my Christopher Lambert? That ain't cool man. He was a bit miscast in Highlander (as was Connery) but I thought that movie was good. I find it kinda scary though that Highlander came out the same year I was born, but I guess that's one of the downfalls of getting older. Highlander 2 was extremely bad, Highlander 3 was better than 2 but not as good as the first, and 4 is kinda weird since it's the first with Adrian Paul (besides the series of course). Five might be pretty good. I'm crossing my fingers anyway.

Lambert isn't a bad actor, he just has a way of getting cast in movies which aren't good, with poor writing, so that even the best actor would have trouble delivering the line. Knight Moves was pretty good, and I especially liked Diane Lane in that. Gideon is one of his best movies, plus Charleton Heston is in it, so it's gotta be good right (not counting the Planet of the Apes remake, though it was cool he had a cameo in that).

One last bit. I think Lambert is a better comedic actor than dramatic. Resurection was a kick ass movie, though it wanted to be Seven. One of his best lines to date is in the movie Why Me with Christopher Lloyd and J.T. Walsh. Lambert is scaling the side of a building and Walsh yells to him "Don't do anything stupid." and Lambert hollars back "What could be more fucking stupid than this!" which still makes me laugh to this day ... also trying to impersonate his laugh is fun.

He was good in Mortal Kombat. The movie itself was just okay (of all the video games to turn into movies, a fighting game shouldn't be first on the list), but Lambert is what sold me on it.

Jeremy Milks

Dear Jeremy:

I thought Chris Lambert made the chimps look smart in "Greystoke." The guy has the appearance of a moron, and he's in the same acting category as Jean- Claude Van Damme and Steven Seagal. It's swell that you like him, but he stinks.

Josh

Name: Darryl Mesaros
E-mail: simonferrer@sbcglobal.net

Dear Josh,

Just out of curiosity, why did you stop eating pizza? I know good Italian food is hard to find outside the northeast (Chicago and San Francisco being exceptions). Personally, one of the great joys of life is a brick oven, thin-crust, Neopolitan pie with sausage and pepporoni. Coming in a close second is a Margherita (pronounced Ma-ga-reet), which is a white pie with mozz, fresh basil, and stewed tomatoes (ummmmmm, stewed tomatoes...). I'm being so specific because I don't like the doughy thick Greek style pizza you find in northern Connecticut, and Chicago deep-dish is good, but not my absolute favorite. Gee, can you tell I'm hungry?
Anyway, I saw your comment on one of the other posts and was just curious.

Darryl "gimme t'ree slices and a beer, a'ight?"
Mesaros

Dear Darryl:

It's not that I don't like pizza, mind you, it's that I'm trying to watch my weight. I'd say my fighting weight (were I a boxer) would be 175-180, which would make me a light heavyweight, and I'm presently weighing in at 198, having slipped into the heavyweight category of 200 and over for a brief moment. So presently I'm a cruiser weight, but that's still too much. I've also stopped drinking again, too.

Josh

Name: Darryl Mesaros
E-mail: simonferrer@sbcglobal.net

Dear Josh,

On the subject of the Japanese conduct in Asia, it's strange how they've avoided being stigmatised for the actions of the Imperial Army, unlike the Germans (who, interestingly enough, were often shocked and disgusted by the extremes to which the Japanese went, which is saying something). The truly strange thing is how those atrocities were not even remotely connected to bushido or the way of the samurai (in feudal times, the warrior class never treated their own peasant population so harshly, since it was the peasantry who grew the rice and caught the fish that fed everyone, highborn and low). The code that Tojo and the other Imperial staff inculcated into Japanese youth from the early twenties onward was a twisted form of propaganda, loosely based on bushido and the trappings of bushido, in order to ensure discipline and devotion, not truly the refined "Way of the Warrior." Bushido had been stamped out when the samurai class were disenfranchised at the end of the nineteenth century.
On another subject, when you mentioned epics and comic books, it reminded me of this collection that I had as a kid, which were compact comic book versions of classic works of literature. The plots were the same, but there were of course the illustrations and more dialogue, comic book style. While not the same as the real thing, they did get me interested in literature.
One last thing (this is turning into a longer post than usual, I'm afraid). I just saw "Dark Passage," with Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, and was wondering what you thought about it, particulary the use of first person camera for the first part of the picture. Personally, I rather liked it. The ending was rather forced, but the film did seem to invoke a little more realism than the average work from that period. I liked how Bogart's character kept making little mistakes, which showed that he wasn't a professional criminal or fugitive. What did you think?

Darryl

Dear Darryl:

"Dark Passage" is a pretty good Bogart picture, although not one of his best. I like the use of the of the first-person POV, which ends when his new face is revealed. Robert Montgomery had put the first-person POV to a much more extreme use the year before in his film of Raymond Chandler's "Lady in the Lake" (1946), where it's Marlowe's POV the entire film, and dames kiss the lens and cigarettes go up under the lens, then smoke blows out, which is amusing, but made for one of the lesser Chandler adaptations.

Josh

Name: Question
E-mail:

<<He doesn't sign over his fortune, the banker, Mr. Thatcher, is the executor of his mother's will. And if you'll recall, it does that brilliant cut from Kane as a kid, with Mr. Thatcher saying, "Merry Christmas . . ." then it cuts to Kane as an adult and Thatcher says, " . . . And a happy New Year." Well, once he's an adult his mother's fortune is his.>>

Oops, I've seen that movie 20 times and I somehow missed that. I thought Mr. Thatcher wanted to take his money away from him because he felt he was being irresponsible. If you'll recall, during the picnic scene, the man that's singing is Sam from CASABLANCA (I think) and the song fits very well over what's going on in the tent.

Dear Q:

No, that's not Dooley Wilson from "Casablanca." The song he's singing is, "It Must Be Love," while Kane and Susan are arguing in the tent. The background plate behind the tent is an animated jungle shot from "King Kong."

Josh

Name: Greene
E-mail: greene_chs@hotmail.com

Josh

You talk a bit about psychadelic music. Have you heard "Forever Changes" by Love? It's kind of trippy, post-Donovan stuff.

Dear Brett:

Never heard it.

Josh

Name: chris bruce
E-mail: cdbruce727@hotmail.com

Dear Josh:

How do you word an actor/set release? i'm making my first feature film after making alot of shorts. I'm still in high school so this is all no budget but i've been getting as many people involved in little ways for 2 reasons. 1, to add more scope to the project and 2, so i can sell as many dvd's to them. So to protect my arse if i really start selling this film, reaching for the stars i know, i want to know what is the best way to write a release form.

Dear chris:

Here's a link for release forms -- http://www.youthspace.net/index.php/docs/282.

Josh

Name: O-4-Show
E-mail:

Josh, you ever watch a Faces of Death video? A friend of mine's got one and it's some nasty fucked up shit. What do you think of that kind of thing?

Dear O-4-Show:

I saw the first one when it came out, 20-odd years ago. I must admit that parts of it made me laugh like hell. The poor schmuck who gets off the bus to get a closer shot of a bear, which then rises up, smacks the camera out of his hand and mauls him to death. Or the idiotic ranger who shows a news crew how you catch an alligator with a stick with a wire noose on the end, which he does, then gets yanked into the water and eaten. Hey, if your death can keep giving others great amusement, then it was worth it.

Josh

Name: Duffy
E-mail: g_duffy@bellsouth.net

For Peter/Darren/whoever, I'm not a fella or a guy I am a lady! And as for his posts he needs to get a hobby other than playing around on the site. The noise I make to him isn't typeable.

I know I may be putting my head on the chopping block here but what do you think of the film Highlander? It's my favorite and I couldn't really explain why but that's the point of favorites isn't it? I know you're a Pink Floyd man but I say Queen is number one. Okay I made my comment let me squeeze in a music in film question. What do you know about using music in films? Have you ever heard of them "letting" you use it without paying out your rear? Or is there some leeway if you only use a bit? I have searched royalty free music sites and they seem to be from the 1800's! Thanks,

Duffy aka foxy mama

Dear Duffy:

I really and truly hated "Highlander." I think it's one of the most severely stupid movies ever made, with perhaps the worst casting of all time. Sean Connery plays a Spaniard, and Christopher Lambert plays a Scotsman? Need I mention that Chris Lambert is a terrible actor, if indeed one can actually use the term "actor" regarding him. Meanwhile, I can explain why my favorite films are my favorites. I don't believe a film being a favorite means you can't explain why. Also, I don't know how old you are, but Queen was sort of an homage band, like Kiss, but much better. Freddie Mercury, who was a talented guy, so desperately wanted to be David Bowie it just oozed out of him. Clearly, the pinnacle of his career was writing and recording "Under Pressure" with Bowie, and it's a great song. But Pink Floyd predates Bowie and Queen. Pink Floyd was the original trippy acid band, and their first hit, "See Emily Play," is from 1967, at which point Freddie Mercury was only dreaming of being a musician. Pink Floyd and David Bowie are the originators, Queen and Kiss and the like are imitators. Regarding using music in films, and the idea of some huge company just "letting" you use a song, is along the lines of General Motors just giving you a car just cuz. Sorry, but it doesn't happen. To get songs you've heard before for a movie costs a lot of money, no matter how much of the song you use. Apparently, you can use seven notes, or at least that's what I hear. Not only that, but there are two sets of fees you must pay to use a song: one for the master recording; and another for the use of the lyrics. The lyric rights are much cheaper than the master recording rights, which is why it's much cheaper to do a cover version than to get the original recording.

Josh

Name: Robbie J
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

Hi Josh, quick question for you, thanks in advance for reading it.

I liked "Thou Shall Not Kill" very very much. Some really terrific directorial flourishes, particularly the 360 degree shot of the house as Stryker runs through it, the Strangers on a Train shot with the sunglasses, the opening where Raimi kills the baby (very scary), and the entire melee ending where every cultist must die!

I love the movie, I think it's great fun, but whenever I watch it I always can't help but think...why did Josh have to do this Vietnam stuff that he just clearly didn't have the money to do? Sure, there's some nice use of stock footage and all, but that scene in the bunker...clearly a garage shot, or whatever. I hope you don't think me a meshugena putz for pointing it out, I'd just like to hear your response.

Thanks Josh,

Robbie J

Dear RobbieJ:

Look, I didn't know that I'd end up with almost no money to shoot the film. I wrote it to be a real movie, or at least a low-budget action movie. That I ended up shooting it for ten cents was just how things worked out. We weren't even planning on making that film 60 days before we shot it, so the whole thing is kind of miracle. Also, I had actually pulled off the Vietnam scenes better in the pilot version of the film, "Stryker's War," with Bruce Campbell, in super-8, so I thought I could do it again. The 360 degree shot around the house worked better in super-8, too.

Josh

Name: kyle
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

do you like the paralax view? do you like night moves? do you like elektra glide in blue? do you like race with the devil? do you like straw dogs? do you like capricorn 1?

Dear kyle:

With all due respect, I don't like questions like this. Is there a film you really like that you'd enjoy discussing? Is there something about any of these films that intrigued you, or annoyed you?

Josh

Name: Russell
E-mail: russbo@russelltopia.com

Hiya Josh!

I'm an aspiring screenwriter trying to pound out my first screenplay and I'm trying to follow all of these new rules set forth by the spec script gods. It really sucks trying to get the rules right and formatting and then being told you have to have actual structure in the screenplay or it's gonna blow chunks.
I do believe in the process of writing with good structure. Right now, my script has holes big enough to drive a tank through but it is, after all, the first draft. How do you feel about flashbacks in scripts? I've been told to stay away from them but in by story, I've managed to take a flashback and without changing the context of the scen, move it to the beginning and it starts the movie off with a bang. Do you believe you must grab the [script] reader or anyone else's attention in the first 3 pages?
Sorry this went on as long as it ahs but just so you know, I loved Thou Shalt Not KIll... Except and especially Lunatics. My favorite scene in TSNK... E is the scene where Stryker is saving his black friend and the music is all heroic and stuff. That rocked my face off! :) Great going!
One last thing... was it you that made that recent alien movie with Bruce Campbell for Sci Fi? No offense but shame on you. :P Keep up the great work, dude!

Russell

Dear Russell:

Yes, it was me, and no, I feel no shame. Jesus Christ, hasn't anyone ever watched that Saturday night movie on SciFi before? The entire point of that time slot is -- silly, ridiculous science fiction movies. All of them. Every movie made for that time slot is ridiculous, and I assure you that "Alien Apocalypse" was not as bad as most of them, which is why it probably got such a good rating. I delivered exactly what was required. Meanwhile, you need to read my structure essays, where I answer all of your questions. Regarding flashbacks, I say the less of them the better. A good script is always moving forward, and flashbacks are going backward. Sometimes they're necessary, usually early in a story, but after a point they are detrimental. I don't believe you should put an action scene at the beginning, or anything other than character set-up. You don't have to slam the audience over the head at the beginning, that's when they're most patient, and what they really want is to feel like this story is going somewhere. What's the issue, what's the problem?

Josh

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

Josh,

I just wanted to throw the following subject into the mix-illegal immigration.

Here's an interesting article on Yahoo, talking about the increase in illegal immigrant deaths from Mexico:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/usatoday/20050819/pl_usatoday/illegalsdyingatrecordrateinarizonadesert

One of the biggest hypocricies practiced by the U.S., in my opinion, is how this country deals with illegal immigration. I seriously believe that much of our supposed crackdown on illegals is smoke and mirrors-in other words, just busy-body bullshit. If the U.S seriously made an effort to crack down on illegal immigration, our economy could take a serious hit. How many low wage jobs are worked by illegals? How many companies prefer hiring illegal aliens so they can take advantage of folks who can't read or write English?

There are two books that I STRONGLY recommend you read:

1) The Working Poor-Invisible In America by David K. Shipler:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0375408908/103-1513876-1042269?v=glance

This book is a frightening look into the hard reality of low-wage workers. There are also parts that deal with how illegal aliens set about trying to find work in the U.S. One fascinating part deals with the migrant farm workers, who travel around the country harvesting throughout the year.

2) Fast Food Nation, by Eric Schlosser:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0060938455/qid=1124552726/sr=2-1/ref=pd_bbs_b_2_1/103-1513876-1042269?v=glance&s=books

This one discusses the dark side of the fast food industry, and delves into the subject of illegal immigration as well. It apparently plays a large part in keeping meat companies sucessful. There are terrifying stories of abuse, as well as the dangers of working in such an industry. One tale tells of a man who fell into a lard machine, being turned into lard himself.

On top of this, we have places like California that were looking into allowing illegal aliens to get drivers' licenses. And there are plenty of other examples of lax and apathetic behavior across the country. All of this, in my opinion, is to get into the U.S. low-wage workers that can be abused for profit. In the end, what else matters?

The "war on terror" is just a crock of horse shit. We do the "busy-body-bullshit" action of capturing a few illegals here and there to give the appearance that something is being done. And there is a sizable segment of society that simply accepts being spoon fed this crap. We WILL have another terrorist attack on our soil. Al Qaeda is most likely making inroads in Mexico and other countries south of the U.S. You can read this report, which deals with this particular subject:

http://michellemalkin.com/archives/000593.htm

9/11 was just the beginning. But who cares?! What's 3,000 lives? Money, after all, is more important.

Lastly, on a lighter note, here's the last piece of art I will share with you-a portrait of Lucy Lawless I did last year:

http://www.obsolyte.com/~strabal/TempStuff/LLart04.jpg

Take care.

Saul

Dear Saul:

It's all hypocrisy. If the U.S. built a fifteen foot tall electric fence that ran from Brownsville, Texas to San Diego, California, that would be the end of illegal immigrants sneaking over the border. Why can't we do that? I keep hearing, "It would look bad." Yeah? To whom, and who cares? But the other side of this is the minimum wage. As long as you have a minimum wage that's too high for some industries, like agriculture, than you have to fill those jobs somehow. So, we either lower the minimum wage, or we say that certain industries can pay less than the minimum, or we accept illegal aliens doing those jobs. One way or another, someone's got to pick the fruit and vegetables.

Josh

Name: Pseudonym Guy
E-mail: psudo@nym.com

Dear Josh:

I'm sorry I disturbed you, Josh. Given that it seemed to me that you somewhat enjoy finding amusing ways to put down idiots who write in with stupid remarks, I thought that creating an offensively stupid put-down of your "War of the Worlds" piece that addressed none of the specifics of said piece and just offered forth childish insults would be the humorous equivalent of serving up an easy pitch for you to "knock one out of the park," i.e. put an idiot down in an amusing way, which you did. I didn't realize that the aggressively offensive tone might concern you, as you convey a sort of tough guy "it all rolls off my back" image. I can see how this could have created that sort of reaction and I won't subject you to any further put-ons.

Dear PG:

Thanks.

Josh

Name: Question
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

On CITIZEN KANE, there's a part in the beginning where Kane signs over his fortune and refers to his pay as his allowance... so wait a minute, he built Xanadu on his "allowance"?

Dear Question:

He doesn't sign over his fortune, the banker, Mr. Thatcher, is the executor of his mother's will. And if you'll recall, it does that brilliant cut from Kane as a kid, with Mr. Thatcher saying, "Merry Christmas . . ." then it cuts to Kane as an adult and Thatcher says, " . . . And a happy New Year." Well, once he's an adult his mother's fortune is his.

Josh

Name: Trey Smith
E-mail: cobra_commander_of_cobra@yahoo.com

Hi Josh. Happy belated birthday!

Anyway, straight to my question. I finally had a chance to see "The Third Man" yesterday and I really enjoyed it. My question regarding the movie is what you thought of Robert Krasker's cinematography? I thought it was marvelous and I loved how war torn Vienna was used in the movie. Great stuff.

On a side note I finally picked up "The Film Director" by Richard L. Bare and "The Art of Dramatic Writing" by Lajos Egri last week. I'm reading "Director" now and plan on delving into "Writing" after I finish "This Is Orson Welles", which I ordered from my library last week.

I'm finding "The Film Director" enlightning, though I think your book will be more helpful to me in the future since I plan to write, raise money for, and direct my films(if I ever make any). However, I cannot deny that the knowledge I'm gaining from this book really is going to help me when/if I finally get started on my first film. I particulary liked the portion in the Introduction in which Robert Wise stated that you must master the rules before you are able to bend or break them.

Dear Trey:

Robert Krasker won an Oscar for his cinematography on "The Third Man," and it's gorgeous, and a great location, which helps. I must say, however, that Anton Karas's famous zither score annoys me. What's nice about Richard Bare's book is that he knows what he's talking about. He gives you information that's actually useful. The Lajos Egri book is hard to read, I found, but also has some very worthwhile points in it. And, of course, Robert Wise is exactly right, you can't bend or break the rules until you've mastered them, which is seemingly a forgotten piece of information.

Josh

Name: Greene
E-mail: greene_chs@hotmail.com

Hi Josh

Two things I've noticed recently. I was helping a friend of mine cut his film and realized just how important it is to have good eyeline when editing and just imperative it is to has as much coverage as possible. We were talking a lot about how much intimacy is left out of a scene when you don't have a reaction shot and your actors are unavailable for reshoots! We had a scene where the camera follows a duo into a room, pans across to them going in front of a pillar (behind shot) then it cuts to a front shot at another level so the eyeline was fucked. So I suggested a tightshot of a character's eyes, looping in some heavy breathing sounds (it's a genre piece) and then cut to the front-shot, which I think will work nicely. Meanwhile I'm critiquing a play and I couldn't get the idea across to the writer that he had to establish character motivation and the dramatic arc as early as possible and then refer to it again. He kept a strong defence of, "it's this way because I said so." Very frustrating when you're trying to help someone achieve communication to an audience and the writer can't step out from his biased vantage.

Dear Brett:

Yes, it's always good to have as much coverage as possible, which is one of the bottom lines of filmmaking. It's also one of the big differences between directors. I mean, what is *enough* coverage? Those decisions define who you are as a director. Is a wide shot of the scene sufficient, or do you need two over-the-shoulder shots? Do you also need two close-ups? What about cutaways and inserts? And how much time do you have to cover this scene? That's being a director.

Josh


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