Q & A    Archive
Page 140

Name: joe
E-mail:

"'every beginning must have an end' !!! and the award for stating the frickin obvious goes to.... - I am with you Josh these are not smart movies...."

Dont know why everyone is hatin' on the matrix so much.

Actually the tag line was "everything that has a beginning has an end."
Youre right, in and of itself its rather an obvious statment, but put in context with the events of the films, the statement takes on a deeper meaning. If you have no idea what the context of the quote is why bother making judgements?

The tag is a reference not only to the last film in the trilogy "Revolutions", but to Nietzches eternal recurrence regarding life. Basically if you had to live this life, this exact moment that youre reading this, again and again and again, if you had that knowledge and choice would you still choose to do it? Nietzche says go for the ones where the answer is: I would.

When Agent Smith continually beats on Neo at the end of the trilogy, Neos demise imminent, he asks "why Mr. Anderson, why do you insist on fighting."

Why if you will grow old, loose loved ones, become sick and finally die do you insist on struggling, fighting? Neo answers: because he chooses to. This is the classic dilemma of man: how does he reconcile the fact that he is a moral, choosing being in a wholly deterministic universe of spinning planets, and gravity and physics.

The matrix at least tries to tackle these topics. If you guys think they failed, cool. I think they largely succeeded.

Dear joe:

Different strokes for different folks. I miraculously made it all the way through the first "Matrix" film, which I thought was crap, then I made it perhaps a third of the way through the second one, which was unwatchable. And I hear the third is worse. But there simply can't be anything good in an unwatchable movie. Also, Keanu Reeves is an incredible bore.

Josh

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

<<And whatever happened to Allen Garfield Goorwitz? He used to be ubiquitous.>>

Dunno. He had a small part in THE MAJESTIC. CRY UNCLE was just a goofy X-Rated sex comedy anyways. I'm shocked John G. Advilson made it between JOE and ROCKY but it beats A DIRTY SHAME by a mile. I loved THE LION IN WINTER by the way.

Bruce Campbell said in an interview that his favorite film is THE BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI and that William Holden is his favorite actor, then he stated that he didn't give a rat's ass about LAWRENCE OF ARABIA. Have you two ever had an arguement over that movie (or any other)?

How goes THE HORRIBLENESS? Are you going to be producing that film if its funded? I'm not really interested in ALIEN APOCALYPSE but I liked RUNNING TIME and IF I HAD A HAMMER where you had control. Is that what THE HORRIBLENESS is going to be or is it going to be another ALIEN APOCALYPSE?

You also said that you tried Sly Stallone for DEVIL DOGS... what about Al Pacino?

Dear Q:

I didn't try Stallone, the executive producer of AA did. But I have no doubt the script never got to him personally. Al Pacino isn't right for the part, not that I could get to him anyway. Meanwhile, Bruce has his opinions and I have mine, and yes, we have argued about many movies. But Bruce and I saw a screening of "Kwai" about 25 years ago, with a gorgeous Cinemascope print, and we had such a great time that and were so blown away by the film (which I had seen several times before, but Bruce had never seen), that I think he never got over the possibilities that "Kwai" presented for where motion pictures could go. On some level, neither have I. Regarding "The Horribleness," should it all work out it will be an independent production with Bruce as producer, so it will be more like "Lunatics" than AA.

Josh

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

Dear Josh,

Loved your most recent essay - it really captures the excitement that only a little kid can have, and it puts into perspective any of your more recent reviews where you might observe that some Spielberg or Michael Bay film sucks, and someone writes in, outraged, convinced that you don't know what you're talking about. Nice touching tribute to your friend as well. Fascinating how you've turned up as a fictional character several times now, both in his book, and (sort of) in "Indian Summer" (which I saw years ago, long before I'd ever heard of you, so I need to catch that again.)

Was also amused by the discussion of the fortune-cookie, Yoda-ish wisdom of "The Matrix." There's a great bit from Ben Stiller in "Mystery Men," where he is complaining about Wes Studi's predictable "wisdom" -

Stiller: Okay, am I the only one who finds these sayings just a little bit formulaic? "If you want to push something down, you have to pull it up. If you want to go left, you have to go right." It's...

Studi: Your temper is very quick, my friend. But until you learn to master your rage...

Stiller: ...your rage will become your master? That's what you were going to say. Right? Right?

Studi, after long pause: Not necessarily.

BTW, I know "Serenity" isn't high on your priority list, but I did come across a fascinating quote from Joss Whedon:

"We'd like to shake up the Hollywood paradigm of first weekend, big name, get-'em-in-quick, shock-and-awe marketing and go back to the era of making a smaller movie where you believe in the story. There have been some decent summer movies recently but, by and large, they've been pretty soulless. If you're dealing with a smaller budget and focusing on the people instead of what you can afford to do with CGI, it's much more exciting."

So it would appear that his heart is in the right place, whether or not he's able to actually follow though.

Hoping the AA dvd sales shoot through the roof.

Regards,

August

PS - I noticed that AA's 4th airing on Sci-Fi in the 7 PM slot a few weeks back actually beat "Screaming Brain" in the ratings, with almost a million viewers, which is pretty decent for a rerun.

Dear August:

Apparently, AA is performing to 117% of their projections, and "Brain" is doing 107%. Meanwhile, I don't think Yoda or "The Matrix" make it to the intelligence level of Charlie Chan, who was always spewing bits of wisdom like that, "Thousand mile journey begins with first step." Anyway, I'm glad you enjoyed my essay.

Josh

Name: koi
E-mail: korisachiko.hawwirr.com2@

Dear Josh:

your stuuped

Dear koi:

No, you're stuuped.

Josh

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

Dear Josh:

I received my DVD's of "Alien Apocalypse" and "The Man with the Screaming Brain" yesterday, and watched "AA" last night with the commentary. I enjoyed the commentary very much, especially yours and Bruce's impressions of life after communism in Bulgaria. I gotta good laugh out of the storyboards too.

Cheers,

Tom

Dear Tom:

What about my storyboards made you laugh? My lack of ability at drawing?

Josh

Name: Jon Cross
E-mail: gimmesugar@hotmail.com

Dear Josh

LOL yes a film where Bruce battles another inner self, in other words the scene in ED2 with the possessed hand only with milk and root vegetables?!?

Also, do you know of any other English fans you and your filmy friends hae that hound you like this on a regular basis?

Jon

Dear Jon:

Not off hand, but there have certainly been plenty of Brits who have visited here over the course of time. As well as Aussies and Kiwis, and Greek truck drivers.

Josh

Name: Andrew Morin
E-mail: andrewjmorin@hotmail.com

Dear Josh:

Wow, the compilation of this was clearly a lot of effort. I'm thankful for it: thanks for making it so freely available.

If you have a few moments...I'm starting on a Star Wars short film (on DV) that I want to use to pitch a Novel/TV Serial to the Lucasfilm people. I've studied the other films (who hasn't) but I can't figure out the focal lengths and such to get the "authentic" star wars look.

Dear Andrew:

The focal lengths change every shot, just like all movies.

Josh

Name: Danielle
E-mail: shw9w1@hotmail.com

Dear Josh:

Thank you very much for the warning regarding Topanga Canyon and the driving aggravation that living there would entail. Your dose of reality has saved me from spending too much time pipe-dreaming. Anyway, if one is going to move to a place like L.A., I suppose it's best to make a firm commitment to the bad as well as the good, instead of leading a half-hearted, tentative existence. Achieving success is difficult enough without a self-sabotaging attitude. Perhaps Griffith Park will provide sufficient escape opportunities.

Dear Danielle:

You could live in Beachwood Canyon, which is right in town (it's the neighborhood under the Hollywood sign), it's a hip neighborhood, and it's not insanely expensive. Or find a hideaway somewhere in the San Fernando Valley, as 4 million others have. But you're right, if you're going to go there and attempt to scale the walls of the fortress, you should make it as painless as possible once you're there.

Josh

Name: Mo
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

Gray parts of life I can understand. I'm not completely black or white myself. I believe in happy mediums and give-and-take kinda things. It's just kinda strange to me that you so adamantly say something is bad and then later say "unless of course..."

Also, I read your post saying they aren't doing ED4, which I don't think is true. Unless Bruce Campbell's page has been updated, he says that basically they all want to do it, and plan to do it, they're just waiting on Sam Raimi and his Spider-man commitment. Which actually brings me to another question.

Since you had something to do with all the other Evil Dead movies, will you have any part in the production of the remake or ED4 (if/when they get around to making it)? Even just as a shimp or something.

Dear Mo:

Perhaps just as a shimp, but I think you're misreading Bruce's website. They've all agreed to remake, not a 4th film.

Josh

Name: Angel
E-mail: aespar2@depaul.ed

Dear Josh,

I just wanted to let you know that I found your essay, 'Confessions of a Film Geek' wholly uplifting while still somber at points. What's it like knowing you were probably the only "hippie" that saw 'Patton' five times theatrically? You had to have confused an usher somewhere. Also,have you seen The Alfred Hitchcock Masterpiece Collection that Universal has just released? It contains, Saboteur (1942), Shadow of a Doubt (1943), Rope (1948), Rear Window (1954), The Trouble With Harry (1955), The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956), Vertigo (1958), Psycho (1960), The Birds (1963), Marnie (1964), Torn Curtain (1966), Topaz (1969), Frenzy (1972), Family Plot (1976). You can get it on Amazon for $83.99. Compared to how much this collection would have warranted previously, it's a steal. Now to the mailbox to see if Universal or Amazon has sent me my check yet.

Sincerely,
Angel

Dear Angel:

I'm glad you liked it. I actually saw three of those Hitchcock films on their original theatrical releases, "Topaz," "Frenzy," and "Family Plot." I was seriously disappointed with "Topaz" and "Family Plot," but thank goodness I was allowed to see one terrific new Hitchcock film. I remember coming out of the theater after "Frenzy," I was 14 and with my whole family, and thinking to myself, "Now that's a movie! That guy knows what he's doing. Movies are cool!"

Josh

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

Whoops, sorry Josh, when i referred to 'us female directors' i didn't mean 'us' as in you, i meant as in me and all other female directors! Just wanted to clear that up! <sheepish grin>
stacey

Dear stacey:

I wasn't confused.

Josh

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

Hey Josh,

I was wondering what you thought of Barbra Streisand as a director and or actress? Did you ever see Yentle? She's refered to a lot when talking about female directors. Do you think us female directors have to thank her for her step in directing? Just wandering your view!
Stacey

Dear stacy:

I love Barbra's voice. I think she's a pretty good actress, too. Sadly, though, "Yentl" is a crappy movie, and I was personally unimpressed with the direction. I recently saw Barbra on "Inside the Actor's Studio," and I thought she was charming, funny and bright. It finally got to "Yentel," and James Lipton gives it his big build-up, "And then her directing career began with . . . 'Yentl'. . ." and it cuts to a wide shot of Barbra dressed as a boy, lying on a bed singing "Papa, can you hear me," which sounds suspiciously like "Tommy, can you hear me," and as the camera begins to move forward the boom shadow goes across the wall at the top of the frame. I ran it back a few times.

Josh

Name: Jon Cross
E-mail: gimmesugar@hotmail.com

Dear Josh,

Should receive Alien Apocolypse anyday now and I can't wait! I was wandering if you have seen Bruce's first feature directing gig 'Man with a Screaming brain' (I mean of course you have but there IS a question coming and it isn't some debate on whether the Matrix is smart or not!!) I wandered did you give him any tips? watch any of the shooting (as it was back to back after AA finished shooting in Bulgaria - according to Bruce) and overall what did you think of the film, has the chin done us proud?

all the best

Jon


p.s.
The Matrix, pro noun, noun. A film, visually full and exciting at first glance, spectacularly bad on repeat viewings. The whole thing might as well be advertising hair cream or the new dior range of sunglasses or some sych hooey. Chocked full with people staring meaningfully at the camera and spouting teenage girl philosophy in an attempt to cover up the obvious plot, the lack of ideas, the acting talent and the style over substance approach. I mean one of the quotes in the 3rd one was 'every beginning must have an end' !!! and the award for stating the frickin obvious goes to.... - I am with you Josh these are not smart movies....

Dear Jon:

LOL. Yes, every beginning must have an end. That's the kind of shit Yoda says backward. I didn't see any of the shooting of "Brain." As soon as I finished shooting -- I'd already been there for 8 weeks and I had a severe cold -- I split. Bruce had already directed quite a few Hercules eps, so he completely had it together and didn't need any advice from me. He was also smart enough to have me go first, get the crew up and running, then he used almost the whole cast of AA again in his film. I thought "Brain" was all right, and clearly directed by someone who knows what they're doing. For me, though, I wish the whole film was him fighting with his brain, pouring milk on his head.

Josh

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

Hello again Dear Josh -

Quick question today: How do you deal with disappointment? My game-into-movie deal fell through, so I'm once again back to just producing video-games for a living and writing screenplays and TV pilots/set-ups I'll never sell.

It's tough, because it sucked up a whole bunch of my time. And I've discovered as I progress through what I'll someday look back upon as my prime, that time is finite.

How does one deal with that?

Dear Matt:

Big questions. It somehow reminds me of "Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore," when Alice and her 10 year-old son leave and are on the road driving along in silence. He suddenly blurts out, "Life is short." She looks at him and says, "So are you, shut up." I have a quote in "My Favorite Quotes" that goes something like, "How you deal with adversity is your measure as a man." My answer is that you just keep pushing ahead. If they didn't like Script #32, too bad, I'm already onto Script #33.

Josh

Name: Brandon Phillips
E-mail: mrb8694@aol.com

Dear Josh:

North By Nothwest sounds like a plan to me. scince i did not make the criterea clear how about we do it this way, what would be
two other movies that would play well with NBN, by a differant director for a compair and contrast of sorts thanks again. and i think its just awsome that you actually answered the question...tahnk you again

Dear Brandon:

I suggest "Charade" as the second half of the double-bill, which also stars Cary Grant, and is a Hitchcock-like story, but was directed by Stanley Donen (BTW, Sam Raimi's agent is Josh Donen, Stanley's son). I think those two films are plenty for one night's entertainment, plus discussion.

Josh

Name: Eric Rosenthal
E-mail: eric30202002@yahoo.com

Hi Josh,

Great essay! (I'm referring to "Confessions of a Movie Geek") Will it make it into your book? In case you and your readers didn't know, "Thou Shalt Not Kill Except..." is now on Netflix.
Also I have a suggestion for your webmaster on the archive; as each Q and A is archived maybe you could put the date of archival on it. (Hey, we readers pay good money for this site!)
Best Wishes,

Eric

Dear Eric:

It won't be in the filmmaking book, but it will be in my upcoming collection of essays, entitled "Rushes," which will hopefully be published at some point next year. Isn't that funny, I was with Netflix for four years, then as soon as I leave they get one of my movies.

Josh

[Dear Eric: That is a great idea that I wish someone had thought of seven years ago when we first started achiving these Q&A pages. Alas, the exact dates are lost to the sands of time. Think of it as a challenge! The general time frame can be inferred from clues within the achived pages. -webmaster]

 

Name: rob
E-mail: habejr@mac.com

Dear Josh,

Two quickies: First, do you thing living in or near LA is completely necessary to a starting filmmkaer's success?

And second, What are your thoughts on the ghosthouse pictures films? I'm really not too fond of them... which is dissapointing as i'm a big raimi fan...

Dear rob:

I have a friend who is an actor, and she's a done a fair amount of acting work here in Detroit, as well as having lived in NYC a couple of times. She has decided to now give acting the big, big push, and asked my advice. I said she had to go to L.A., that's where all the work is. She said, "But you hate L.A." I said, "Uh-huh, but that's where all the work is." If you want to work in a specific business, then you go where it's located. Meanwhile, I just watched the first 15 minutes of "The Grudge" and bailed. I haven't seen "Boogeyman."

Josh

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

Dear Josh,

I'm watching THE LION AND THE WINTER right now, I find it hard to believe that two people could break up over this film. Is this supposed to be some kind of sequel or follow-up to BECKET, they mention Becket in the film and Peter O'Toole is playing the same role ("But what about the children I bore you?" "I DON'T LIKE MY CHILDREN!"). What exactly did your ex-girlfriend not understand about this film?

There was a really funny speech in CRY UNCLE. This blackmailed millionaire is giving a speech about power to Detective Allen Garfield. "There are two kinds of people in this world, Mr Masters, those who fuck, and those who get fucked! That's why women never have power. How can you have power when you're getting fucked all the time? And [nameless woman] here never gets anywhere because she's always trying to do both. They always want to be management, never want to take orders from anyone. You're a real ballbuster [nameless woman]." Then later in the hardcore porn negative he being blackmailed with, the man who just gave that speech is taking it up the ass from a woman with a strap-on.

Dear Q:

It's not that she didn't understand the film, she didn't know how I would react to the film. I guess that after a month of dating she was still so unsure about who I was, and what I liked, that it made her nervous. And whatever happened to Allen Garfield Goorwitz? He used to be ubiquitous.

Josh

Name: Danielle
E-mail: shw9w1@hotmail.com

Hi Josh.

When you lived in L.A., did you ever consider moving to Topanga Canyon or thereabouts? I've never been, but from what I've read and the photos I've seen, it seems lovely (or, at least a lovelier than Hollywood). I've been considering a move out there, but your "Bailing Out on L.A." article really confirms my fears about the place. I guess I'm trying to figure out if it's possible to live in there without having to deal with so much of its nastiness (and without having to pay heaps of money).

I realize you're not a real estate agent, but I'm hoping you can tell me if I'm being way too hopeful and naive in my search for a refuge within minutes of L.A.

Thanks very much.

Dear Danielle:

Sadly, I think you are being too hopeful and naive, but I thought the same way for a long time (as did Bruce Campbell), and we couldn't make it work. Toganga Canyon is kind of cool, and that's where the Manson family lived for a while, but it's a bitch of a drive getting to and from it. When coming from Hollywood, let's say, you can either drive all the way across the San Fernando Valley on the horrid 101, or you can go out to the coast and cut in, but that takes a long time -- you're talking about an hour either way, if traffic is moving, which it usually isn't. Bruce tried living in Bell Canyon for a few years, which is a more upscale (and not as pretty) variation on Topanga Canyon, but farther north, and you end up spending way too much time stuck in traffic. That becomes your life, which was unacceptable to me and to Bruce. The best thing you can do in L.A., I think, is find a cool place in town, where it's not a nightmare getting to Universal, or West Hollywood, or Los Feliz, the places where you will absolutely be going, then make your house and your yard your castle. After years in Hollywood itself, I finally migrated west to Santa Monica, and it's definitely better being closer to the water because the air is cooler and cleaner. As my buddy from Cleveland who lives in SM said, "If you've come all the way from Cleveland or Detroit, why stop a mile or two short of the water?" He lives on 4th St. which is 4 blocks from the ocean. I was on 28th St., so I actually did stop 2 miles short of the coast, but it's cheaper on that side of SM. But it's ugly.

Josh

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

Josh,

I think the relationship you had with Rick is a very rare thing. The story you tell of the two of you meeting and the relationship you developed is quite touching.

Forgive me for noting that it is also a story which would translate well to film, having a beginning, an impetus and a resolution. I could see where it might be a difficult subject, but in film you could celebrate Rick's life, his passion for movies and, in that context (editorially), the loss to us all that Hollywood's decline represents. It appears Rick was a powerful personality and upon what could one better base a story? I wouldn't presume to say that you *should* commit your relationship to film, but you could do so and it could be magnificent.

John

Dear John:

I am a character in his book, aptly named Josh. I love the fact that his book is 100% true, and he didn't even change anyone's names, but it's called a novel and it's kept in fiction. Perhaps Rick's and my relationship would make a good movie, I don't know. The best I've been able to do is to tell his and my story in bits and pieces, like this hunk in "Confessions," and there's another hunk in the essay, "The Oscars: What Could've Won; What Should've Won." Of course, someone could always film his book.

Josh

Name: Brandon Phillips
E-mail: mrb8694@aol.com

Dear Josh:

Hello i am new at this. but i was wondering if you could help me out with a few movie selections. A groupe of freinds and i like to make shorts and things of that nature and at one point have a lagit project. but that is still maney moons a head of us. every saterday night we get together and hold what one would call a movie night. we watch movies to learn movies we watch the good and the bad and the ones that even the pawn shop wont by back, i try to keep the selection to fit certain style or theme and things of that nature. now i have seen a larg number of movies (not as maney as you for i am only 20)but i am dealing with people that are younger than myself (ranging from 16 to 18ish)and they like the majority of the movies that come out today but i do not. ok i am rabling lets try it this way. i was wondering if you could recomend a few movies to show during movie night that kind of fit into a grouping of sorts (like running time with rope) that would hold the attention of my Gofurs (long story) that are indeed in color (we have two epoleptics and b&w doest work well with their heads. i know you say watch and study Bridge Over River Qui but i am not sure it that would float well with my crowd.
thank you very much for taking a few minutes to read this (sorry its long and sorry about the spelling erros my girlfreind and i are working on them same with grammer not that you care...)
thank you again

Dear Brandon:

I'm still not clear about the criteria for this selection, other than the audience will be mainly 16-18. Comparing "Running Time" to "Rope" is pretty specific. How about "North By Northwest"? You can't go wrong with that.

Josh

Name: Jon Cross
E-mail: gimmesugar@hotmail.com

Dear Josh

Thanks for your reply. It would be good if you came to England, maybe not to a convention but London is definately a city you should see
As for assimilating or going your own way, it just seems that there are some Hollywood people who walk to the beat of their own drum (well as much as you can) they tend to make big hollywood stuff to make their money and draw the crowds then dissappear and write and direct their own little film - normally much more interesting.
Would that not be possible with the detroit gang, the Michigan mafia? let them make their money with stuff like Spiderman so they can make the films that they keep saying in interviews they want to make.
Bruce does that to some extent - he does Serving Sara of a Disney Lovebug remake in order to make films like Bubba Hotep or Man with a screaming brain... which is an excellent way of doing things, could you not see yourself doing something like that in order to get a smalelr more personal project off the ground?

all the best

Dear Jon:

No. I don't function well in that environment, which is why I left. I assure you making Spider-Man movies isn't part-time work for Sam. And he did executive produce "The Grudge" and "Boogeyman," so he keeps his hand in the genre world. But I kind of just do what I do at this point, which is to make my movies, not other people's movies.

Josh

Name: joe
E-mail:

"I thought "The Matrix" was stupid sci-fi. And anyone who doesn't think Harlan Ellison is smart (but thinks "The Matrix" is), probably isn't all that smart themselves."

Yeah Dune the book will probably never be brought to screen correctly.

Regarding the Matrix -- yeah we differ. I think the "anything-thats-new-sucks" perspective can be taken a bit far. I normally agree with you on most topics but the irrationality you display regarding this topic is just...bizarre. Just because the matrix was commericially successful, is a kung-fu action flick, and was made after 1970 doesn't mean its for dummies.

And for someone who shows such knowledge of story structure its puzzling how you could've missed the excellent use of it in the first film especially. And at least comment that it tells a sound story.

Some of the finer points which are dramatized in the matrix trilogy-free will vs. determinism, causality, hints of Nietzche, religious pluralism, etc.-are hardly "stupid" concepts. And if interest in those topics makes me stupid than I'll gladly accept that label.

Ciao.

Dear joe:

"The Matrix" films are not smart movies, nor are they good stories. They may have passing references to intelligent concepts, but they're not within an intelligent context. They're nothing but dumb kung-fu movies with random sci-fi concepts dumped in. Nor do I think "anything-that's-new-sucks" necessarily. Within the muck and mire of recent films the occasional rational, decent movies do come out -- "The Human Stain," "Spring Forward," "The Story of the Weeping Camel," -- and I do note them when I see them, but nothing great has come out in a long time. And just because a film is new doesn't give it any more value to me than an old one.

Josh

Name: Sawyer
E-mail:

Howdy, Mr. Becker.

I got a real kick out of "Alien Apocalypse" (damn whoever for cutting out that "fags" line... biggest laugh in the flick, next to "none of your business"). My question is, if Sci-Fi Channel Pictures offered you another movie to direct, one that you didn't write, would you consider taking the job? (I'd prefer they hire you to direct your OWN scripts, of course, but any Becker-directed SF movie is better than none in my book.)

Thanks!

Dear Sawyer:

I don't even know if there is such a thing as Sci-Fi Channel Pictures. I made AA for Freshwater Ent. and they had a deal with Sci-Fi. I don't know that Sci-Fi produces any of those original movies themselves. The executive producer at Freshwater asked me if I was interested in directing any of the scripts he had, and I turned them all down flat. I really only want to direct my own scripts.

Josh

Name: Jonathan Moody
E-mail: jondoe_555@yahoo.com

Josh,

You might be happy to know that your scene isn't totally lost in Dead Next Door. It came out bad but you can still see it and I saw you in full zombie make up. It was pretty neat. JR even runs commentary for the deleted scenes because most of the sound wasn't put in to the scenes. But he does say good stuff about you and mention how you're part of the Michigan Mafia. So I thought I'd just give you the heads up in case you wanted to get a copy of the movie and check the deleted scenes section.

Btw... how's it going on the new movie front? And will there ever be any more of your short films on here again (whenever you get the time of course) like "The Final Round".

Your fan,
Jonathan

Dear Jonathan:

No, I won't be buying a copy of "The Dead Next Door," but it's nice to know there's evidence of my participation. I spent most of a day having a head-mold done, which is a suffocating, claustrophobic horror, then I spent another whole day being beaten up by zombie hunters, having a grenade shoved into my mouth, then being thrown out a window, all to hear, "Oh, the footage didn't turn out." I was so fucking mad I could have kicked the crap out of J.R. Bookwalter. He asked me to come back and reshoot the scenes, and I said no. As for upcoming projects, presently I'm in the waiting mode. And as for more short films, it's a hassle and it takes up a lot of space on the server.

Josh

Name: Ben Maller
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

I cannot believe you liked "Sex and the City". What exactly did you like about it? You're such a girly man.

Dear Ben:

It was well-written, insightful, funny, and well-acted. They got me to care about those characters.

Josh

Name: Joe
E-mail:

"Smart, hardcore sci-fi," and your examples are: Harry Potter, "Lord of the Rings," "Star Wars" and "The Matrix" movies? Clearly, the definitions have changed since my day. I grew up reading science fiction by guys like Arthur C. Clarke, Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, Harlan Ellison, Mack Reynolds, Phillip K. Dick, Clifford Simak, John W. Campbell, Roger Zelazny, Frank Herbert, Robert Silverberg, etc. and that's **real** "smart, hardcore sci-fi," not fucking "Star Wars" or Harry fucking Potter. Jesus! And they've never really made movies out of the actual smart, hardcore sci-fi."

Hahahaha. I dont know if I'd call Frank Herbert or Harlan Ellison smart. Commercially entertaining yes. But they're no smarter than modern sci-fi/fantasy writers like Gene Wolfe, Dan Simmons or Neil Gaiman.

I was referring only to the Matrix as the "smart, sci-fi film". Which it is. The only point about Harry Potter and Star Wars, was that these films which are considered sci-fi/fantasy and they make money.

However hard sci-fi is still considered a high risk proposition for hollywood. As I said the wachowski brothers had to storyboard the whole film and hold the hands of studios to get one of the best sci-fi films ever made to the screen.

Best,
J

Dear Joe:

That's where you and I differ. I thought "The Matrix" was stupid sci-fi. And anyone who doesn't think Harlan Ellison is smart (but thinks "The Matrix" is), probably isn't all that smart themselves. Also, "Dune" is a hell of a good sci-fi book. The fact that they've now made two bad film versions of it doesn't take anything away from Frank Herbert's book.

Josh

Name: Jon Cross
E-mail: gimmesugar@hotmail.com

Dear Josh:

Hi, I am a big time fan of the whole detroit set - Sam, Rob, Bruce, Scott and, of course yourself. I was born, raised and still live in England and before we finally all got bielzabub's shopping mall (the internet) pumped into our dingy mudhuts, it was very hard but also great fun, digging out old films and stuff by you guys from little ex-rental shops, video collector rooms, conventions and so on. However now, I can just go to Amazon and pick up Alien Apocolypse or Bruce's new audio CD and have it deliveered straight to my british door (which was of course made and manufactured in either Taiwan or Utah). So take away the fun but increase the availability, who knows which is better? Anyway I have two questions to ask - First one is - Is there any money available for you, Scott spiegal, Bruce, ted, Sam or Rob to come to England?? Conventions and screenings have begun to take off here again (especially for smaller films) because most of the stuff that gets into the cinema is - like you've said in your rants - utter crap and bilge. I mean I guess what with Sam having gone all Hollywood, I would doubt he'd be interested (afterall we were the country that rented evil dead 1 & 2 more than any other) but you and Bruce and Ted could come here - Bruce is always setting off to Butt-Crack Idaho or some such place but he has a lot of good loyal determined fans here. ANYHEW my second question is - noting you distain for sequels, remakes and comic book adapts (which is 100% justified and correct) what do you think of the Spiderman 1,2 & 3,evil dead remake, evil dead 4 ideas that have actually been given some validity by messers bruce,tapert and raimi!!!!! isn't it just poor? isn't it the worse idea ever? we fans had such hopes when it was revealed on an evil dead dvd extra by Rob, that the three of them wanted to do another film together but it would be something new... Brilliant... now that raimi and rob have the power and money behind them, why don't they rope you and bruce and ted into some new cinema for the millenium... not remakes of Japanese movies or bad stephen king stuff or even handing their beloved franchise to some mediocre ex-advert/pop vid director hack to 're-vamp' AGHHHHHH everything about the modern 'business' of film making drives me round the twist. There have been to rays of hope - Bubba Ho-tep getting a justly deserved London premiere and DVD release and the new version of the Evil Dead dvd also including a copy of Running time (for the first time in britain!) apart from that...I can think of nothing else to say except - shout at someone , anyone to release Jack of All Trades on DVD and just keep up the good work, I have most of your films - Lunatics, Running Time, Thou Shall not kill except and have ordered alien apocolypse... the only one I think I am missing is he hammer one? about the 60s?? but can't find it anywhere that ships it to the uk...
Keep the faith, keep making excellent work, and bang those bozos heads together and realise that nobody wants Evil Dead remake or Evil Dead 4....

Dear Jon:

I've actually never been to the UK. I've come close a number of times when I was in Amsterdam and Paris, but I still haven't made it there. I don't go to conventions, so I wouldn't be visiting for that reason, but at some point I will. Meanwhile, I just sent a tape of "Hammer" to New Zealand, I suppose I could send one to England, should someone buy one of the very last of the tapes. Regarding ED, they're not planning on making ED4, they're going to remake the first one with some young, hip director, and hopefully (for them) begin the franchise again. As for the rampant production of sequels and remakes, including those my friends have made, that's what Hollywood is all about now, so if you want to flourish in that environment you assimilate, or you split, as I have. I just watched "The Fountainhead" again last night, and that's exactly what the entire film, and book, are about. Do you assimilate and do the same crap everybody else is doing, which may bring you a fortune? Or do you stick to your own agenda, and do what you think is right? I would rather be Howard Roark and stick to my own agenda.

Josh

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

Dear Josh,

In the commentary for "Running Time" Bruce jokingly mentions that since you used your own apartment for the scenes in Janie's apartment that you would now be inundated with people who had tracked down your apartment based on the movie and commentary. I was just wondering has that ever happened? Have you ever had a fan track you down and visit you in your private home? If so, was it a scary experience?

Beth

Dear Beth:

Luckily for me, I don't have many fans. I had a hard enough time getting my friends to come by and visit. Meanwhile, I've been saying the same thing to Bruce since he moved to Oregon. Even if you know where he lives, it's very easy to miss his driveway, which is truly in the middle of nowhere. I've asked him several times, "Have many fans located your house and come and visited?" None so far, and he has many more fans than me.

Josh

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

Josh,

The Los Angeles Times reports that Planet Xena has a moon-and of course it's been dubbed Gabrielle. Heh.

Do you know if Rob or Lucy made any comments about Planet Xena-and now, this new moon?

Dear Saul:

None that I know of. If they find another moon it will be called Joxer.

Josh

Name: Mo
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

I keep rephrasing the question because I just want to make sure I have the truth. I don't like bullshit and neither do you, so I just wanted to get past all that and find out the honest answer.

Also, I ask over and over again, because you constantly go against yourself. You say you don't think comic books make good movies, but then you kinda sorta narrow it down to just super hero comics. You say you don't like remakes then compliment Vanity Fair (or is it Fare?) which is a remake. You say you don't like sequels, and that those who make them are part of the problem, yet you've said that if Bruce Campbell says yes to Sci-Fi Channel, you'd do another Alien Apocalypse. You contridict yourself. So I just like to have the truth.

I'm not irrational, or at least I'm not about this subject. The truth is out there.

Mo

Dear Mo:

Consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds. Nor is anything pure black or pure white, unless you're Steven Spielberg. The whole world exists in the gray area. If anyone is going to bother remaking anything, taking another crack at a literary classic probably makes the most sense, like Roman Polanski having just done "Oliver Twist." But on some very big level, Polanski didn't need to make "Oliver Twist" because David Lean already did it, and did it well. Remakes and sequels show a lack of imagination, that's all. Should the machinations of life end up tricking me into making a sequel, it's merely kind of ironic, not a betrayal of everything I stand for.

Josh

Name: Jonathan Moody
E-mail: jondoe_555@yahoo.com

Josh,

I was watching "Lunatics a Love Story" again tonight. This is actually only the second time I've watched it all the way through. I wanted to talk to you tonight about 3 Act Structure in Lunatics. I'm trying to decide where the 3 acts come in to place. Now this is my belief and it could be wrong but I was thinking you were going with the first act ends when (... SPOILER ALERT, if you have not seen Lunatics do NOT read further...) Nancy meets up with the gangstas who want to run a train on her. Basically after she shoots that bastards toe off. Then the second act begins when Hank calls her up at the payphone. Then the second act ends when she leaves the apartment and Hank claims he has to get her back. The third act begins at Hanks Apartment. Where he is getting ready to fight off the doctor and stuff. The Third act obviously ends at the wedding where you end on them being happy and obviously together despite how much they might not have in common (besides poetry) So all in all its a well written structurally sound screenplay and directed well enough where it would get people with short attention spans to pay attention. I think this is one of your best written and well directed screenplays. Now if I'm wrong with how you think the 3 acts go let me know but thats what I got from watching it. Great use of visuals as well as dialogue. I mean almost if not all of Act 2 takes place inside Hanks Apartment. Alot of writers can't keep a whole act inside of one place. You did a great job! Now its off to listen to the commentary for Running Time again (I haven't for a while)... Last thing Josh and it ain't just ass kissin: You give hope that somewhere out there some independent filmmaker is trying his best to make good stories come to life. And hopefully you're just only one of them.

Your fan,
Jonathan

P.S. You said you had a scene in "The Dead Next Door" which was cut out. Might it be in a deleted scene in The Dead Next Door DVD? I just bought that recently and if I find out I'll let you know.

Dear Jonathan:

As far as I know, my scene in "The Dead Next Door" didn't come out at all, there was something wrong with the camera or the film. It wasn't cut. Meanwhile, you're close to the proper act breaks in "Lunatics." Act I ends the moment he opens the door, covered in foil, and they meet. Act II ends when she goes out the door and he doesn't follow. The problem with the structure in that film is that Act I is too long. They should have met in 35 minutes, and took me 45 minutes. I'm still pleased with Act II of that film, which is basically a two-person, one-act play.

Josh

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

Dear Josh:

Since you like ROCKY, what did you think of the earlier John G. Advilson films JOE and CRY UNCLE? That was crazy in JOE when they slept with the hippies and smoked pot liked a couple of hypocrites, then went out and killed the hippies.

Dear Q:

I never saw "Cry Uncle," and "Joe" was an interesting film in its day, and a pretty good example of low-budget filmmaking. But nothing John Avildsen ever did after "Rocky" ever lived up to the potential. He and Stallone were both big disappointments.

Josh

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

Hi Josh,

Calling "My Left Foot", "a perfectly reasonable film" is a perfectly reasonable compliment coming from you. I enjoy the way you spare no flaw and swoop in on it like a hawk. What I liked about Daniel Day-Lewis's performance was that it wasn't played up for laughs and you got a good sense of what Christy Brown was like in both the good and darker sides of his nature. I also liked that the story was about more than his disability but about him struggling to create his art and finding achievement when most people wouldn't in that situation. I thought it was a fully realized character study rather than silly one-liners that people seemed to endlessly quote and parody, which is what you get from "Forrest Gump" and "Rain Man". But I do understand what you're saying about over the top performances. I didn't think Anthony Hopkins performance in "Silence of the Lambs" was Oscar worthy and he's certainly achieved performances that were, as you mentioned.

I must learn to choose my words and thoughts more carefully, I didn't mean infer that "I, Robot" was a great movie and I certainly don't have the desire to watch it again. In my effort to be brief something got lost, I guess that's why you're a writer and I'm not. I'm sure Isaac Asimov did something in his grave; we'd have to dig him up to know for sure! I've always wondered where that phrase came from and what kind of protest turning over in your grave implies!

I watched "Guarding Tess" last night, which I've never seen before. Shirley McLaine was quite good in it! Despite all her silly reincarnation ideas she's a consistently interesting actress.

I've been looking forward to seeing Martin Scorsese's Bob Dylan documentary, especially now since you've taken a shine to it!!!

Cheers,

Tom

Dear Tom:

Shirley Maclaine is a very good actress. She absolutely takes my breath away in "Some Came Running" (1958), her first Oscar nomination, and the year I was born. And she's perfect in "The Apartment." But she's really good in most everything. Meanwhile, I don't want to take anything away from Anthony Hopkins' acting as Hannibal Lector, which is a terrific psycho bad-guy performance, but it's certainly not his very best work.

Josh

Name: Jonathan Moody
E-mail: jondoe_555@yahoo.com

Josh,

You should really check out "Serenity" based off of the cult hit TV show "Firefly". It's a really well written and well directed sci fi film. Quotable and entertaining, I think as for one who hates the sci fi fantasy genre thats out now you'd love what Joss Whedon did with this movie.

Your fan,
Jonathan

Dear Jonathan:

If it pops up in front of my face. Meanwhile, did anybody watch the Martin Scorsese's Bob Dylan documentary? I think it's the best film he's made in about 15 years. Dylan's a great character.

Josh

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

Dear Josh:

hmm... brevity, brevity, brevity...

FUNNY LADY Stunk.
Worse Than CAN'T STOP THE MUSIC.
How's That Possible?

No seriously, I saw IRMA LA DOUCE recently which made me laugh the first couple of times, but now the more I'm forced to watch it, it reminds me of CRIMEWAVE (the indestructible pimp). Otherwise I liked the line where Jack Lemmon tries to convince Shirley MacClaine that the Bridge On The River Kwai fell on him. Anyhow Shirley MacClaine got a nomination for her role, but I don't think she's anywhere near as good as THE APARTMENT or THE CHILDREN'S HOUR. What were the other actresses she was up against?

I also noticed Billy Wilder seems to say more with his camera in STALAG 17 than the I.A.L. Diamond films. For instance, there's that whole scene When Johnny Comes Marching Home where they reveal who the spy is while the pows are singing in the back ground, and William Holden notices the knot in the light for the first time. There's also Animal and his buddy dancing around in a circle only talking when they are facing the screen. It's a shame he didn't take this further in his later films. hey that has a point.

Dear Q:

The nominees for Best Actress in 1963 were: Leslie Caron, "The L-Shaped Room;" Shirley Maclaine, "Irma La Douce;" Patricia Neal, "Hud" (Winner); Rachel Roberts, "This Sporting Life;" Natalie Wood, "Love With a Proper Stranger."

Josh

Name: Sam Simpson
E-mail: galen_nor@hotmail.com

Dear Josh:

Just been reading your webpage on Religion is Evil.

Its very well put and exactly how I think about it. Nice to know there are other people out there like myself. I refer to religious people as being brainwashed. They've been forced into a religon at birth and havent seen fit to question it.
Keep up the good work !

Dear Sam:

Thanks. I will. Yeah, religion is like the Nazi Youth, you get them when they're young and they're your's forever.

Josh

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

<<No, I'm not married, I never have been, and I have no children, just three cats.>>

A little advice on marriage and kids: RUN

on a different note:
You talked about people looking at you funny in one of your essays because you think today's movies are stupid. I would liken my experience over the past year to a dumb cartoon I once saw. The little kid in the show goes to some professor to try some machine to make him smarter than everyone else... but instead of making him smarter, it justs makes everyone else dumber, careless, and apathetic. He's no smarter than he was and now there are less people he can trust. Ever get that feeling? Still if you have just one person you can talk to you should consider yourself lucky. You sound like you have several.

Tuesday, Oct 11 at 8pm: Private Screenings with Sidney Lumet on TCM.

Dear Q:

People seem to have an unnatural affection for anything new. Once a film is about a year old they can actually have some perspective. But anything that's new is the best thing since sliced bread.

Josh

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

Hi Josh,

Hmm! People running around with magic wands, bows & arrows, battleaxes, glowy swords and machine guns - sounds like he's looking for more kid pleasing, video game style action fantasy movies rather than hardcore science fiction pictures. Apparently he hasn't read any of your reviews or essays on your website either.

I thought "I, Robot" handled the evolution of our technology better than "The Matrix"- a better humanitarian ending too, rather than apocalyptic quasi-religious nonsense. But "I, Robot" was still an action picture basically.

Meanwhile, on a different kind of picture, what do you think of "My Left Foot"? It's one of the few movies made in the last 20 years I'm still drawn into watching over and over again. A more realistic look at someone living with a disability as apposed to "Forrest Gump", "I Am Sam" or even "Rain Man". "My Left Foot" has some really excellent rformances too, I like it anyway.as you can tell!

Dear Tom:

"My Left Foot" is a perfectly reasonable film, if you like that sort of thing. I'm not nearly as impressed with Daniel Day-Lewis's performance as many people are simply because I think an extreme performance like that is fairly easy to achieve. I can do a pretty accurate imitation of it right now if I felt like it. Subtlety is much more difficult to achieve. But the old Academy members like to really be able to see a performance, like Dustin Hoffman in "Rain Main," which is junk, or Tom Hanks in "Forrest Gump," which is really idiotic crap. That's why Anthony Hopkins didn't get his Oscar for his brilliant work in "Howard's End" or "The Remains of the Day," but instead got it for his over-the-top performance in "Silence of the Lambs." "Oh, look, he's acting." Meanwhile, "I, Robot" wasn't a very good movie, nor was it particularly bright science fiction, and it probably made Isaac Asimov turn over in his grave.

Josh

Name: Rob
E-mail: habejr@mac.com

Dear Josh,

As an aspiring filmmaker, I'm watching films whenever possible (mostly horror). One bit of advice I get from everyone I've talked to is that I should only watch good films - so I'll learn the technique by default. I however have found that goofy independants (the ones you find on the bottom shelf in the back corners of blockbuster) with the choppy editing and shot in ugly mini dv have helped me more. I feel more on their level, like it's a reachable goal. Am I wrong? Is this a stupid question that I'm only writing because I'm seeing double at 1:30 in the morning? Thanks...

Dear Rob:

I don't think it's stupid question, but I do think you're setting your sights too low. If your goal is reach the bottom of the heap, that's not very far to go, and there are no rewards for being at the bottom. Why not aim at the top? That's what I've done, and even though I'm still not even close to reaching my goal, it's certainly worth shooting for. Dream big, what have you got to lose?

Josh

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

Josh,

Do you think you are a charming person?

Beth

Dear Beth:

No, not really. Witty, perhaps, and certainly sarcastic and caustic, but probably not charming.

Josh

Name: Joe
E-mail:

Hey Josh,

Why do you think hard sci-fi films are so few and far between in Hollywood? I mean its not these films dont make money. Look at Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, and Star Wars.

These are some of the highest grossing films of all time. Yet hollywood seems willing to fast track stuff like the honeymooners remake, and they balk at hardcore sci-fi. The matrix creators had to practically beg to get the first film made and it went on to kill at the box office. Point is there is a serious market for hardcore, smart sci-fi, but the studios seem so unwilling to greenlight this stuff. Any thoughts?

j

Dear Joe:

"Smart, hardcore sci-fi," and your examples are: Harry Potter, "Lord of the Rings," "Star Wars" and "The Matrix" movies? Clearly, the definitions have changed since my day. I grew up reading science fiction by guys like Arthur C. Clarke, Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, Harlan Ellison, Mack Reynolds, Phillip K. Dick, Clifford Simak, John W. Campbell, Roger Zelazny, Frank Herbert, Robert Silverberg, etc. and that's **real** "smart, hardcore sci-fi," not fucking "Star Wars" or Harry fucking Potter. Jesus! And they've never really made movies out of the actual smart, hardcore sci-fi.

Josh

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

Josh,

I never said "Garden State" was the best film of 2004, I said it was my favorite film of 2004. I don't consider my favorite films to be the best films all the time and as much as I love good films, I like films because of my tastes and that is what are is all about to me.

I don't believe Ian Holm's character was too old to be his father, in fact, I grew up with a lot of kids who had older parents and if the guy went to medical school and all, he may not have had a kid until later in life, so I don't agree with you crticism on that one, it is weak.

The pop song thing is a thing that you don't care for in films, so I figured you would not like that at all, but I must just say that a song used in a film could be used in many ways and it doesn't necessarily have to relate to the scene itself, it could be used as a metaphor or just to create mood and that is how it is used it "Garden State".

As we have been having these discussions on music here over the past month, don't you feel that music creates mood and gives a sense of feeling when you hear it? It could be a memory or whatever people are defintiely moved in some way by it.

You just happened to be moved negatively by the use of pop music in films or maybe you just don't know the songs to connect to them, I don't know?.

The one thing I am becomming weary of is using Nick Drake songs in these types of films. As much as I like Nick Drake's music, he has become a posterchild for young long dead singers who's music has become shall we say "re-discovered" and everyone wants to put the songs into films because it's cool.

Nick Drake's music stands on its own and it doesn't need to be put into a film to be cool.

Scott

Dear Scott:

Ian Holm was born in 1931, so he's the same age as my mom, which is 74, and year younger than my dad. Well, just about nobody in that age range has kids in their 20s, so it's flat-out unrealistic. That's not a weak criticism, it's a real one. That's like pointing out in "A Lion in Winter" that Katherine Hepburn is 20 years older than Peter O'Toole and shouldn't be. It's not that they're not both great actors, nor that they're not playing the hell out of the script, it's that it's been somewhat miscast. Meanwhile, pop songs, when used well in a movie can be great, but putting them at the beginning of every new scene is a stylistic bore.

Josh

Name: Rob
E-mail: habejr@mac.com

Dear Josh,

I recently got hired for a no pay P/A job - my first. The job starts in a few weeks and I don't have a drivers licence. How important is this to the production? Should I tell the director beforehand?

Dear Rob:

If you think you'll lose the gig by revealing that information, then don't tell them unless they ask. You'll just have to be a set PA, meaning you stay on the set. All the PAs don't need to be out getting stuff, some need to stay there and help set up. That's the phrase you can hit them with if you not having a license bcomes an issue, just say, "I'll be the set PA, and you'll always know where to find me." Good luck.

Josh

Name: Elton
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

I keep seeing Rolling Stones albums creep into the Q&A, but I've yet to see anything about Exile on Main Street?

Is that not your cup of tea or something? To me, exile is not only the best stones album, but one of the finest albums ever made...

Dear Elton:

It's a good album, but not one of my favs. I love "Tumbling Dice." I don't think it needed to be a double album.

Josh

Name: Stan Wrightson
E-mail:

Hi Josh-

I love your dvd commentaries. Very entertaining. On your commentary for TSNKE, you state that you asked a unnamed musician for rights to play a song in one of the scenes for the film, but you were refused when you told him what the film was about. Do you now feel comfortable revealing the musician and song(s)? I'm itching to know. I can't wait to see your next film, whatever it will be. Best of luck with it and your book.

Dear Stan:

It wasn't a musician, it was some low-end, asshole executive at Columbia Music Special Projects, which is the division that licenses the songs. The song was "You Were on My Mind" by We Five. The guy said, "Why would I want my song in your film?" He never even quoted me a price. Meanwhile, if you like mine and Bruce's commentaries, then you need to get the new "Alien Apocalypse" DVD, which will be out in a few days.

Josh

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

Dear Josh:

Since I know William Wyler is your favorite director I thought I'd let you know that Turner Classic Movies is dedicating tonight, September 28th, to him. They will be showing his films from 8:00pm to 6:00am EST. I know you have probaly seen all the moives they are showing, however, I thought I'd give you the heads up anyway.

If you are interested I suggest that you check the schedule on the TCM website for your time zone as the times vary.

Dear Trey:

Thank you very much for the reminder, I was able to put "Counsellor-at-Law" into my TiVo. I once had it on tape about 20 years ago and foolishly taped over it, and I swear they haven't shown it since. It's very good, and I thought that it was John Barrymore's best film performance on film, which I'd like to reassess.

Josh

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

Josh- A lady I know gave me a Brownie movie projector f/1.6 lens 8mm. It says Kodak One Six on the case and on the inside it says Model 1. I don't see a date on it. What can you tell me about this very cool gift? Thanks, Duffy

Dear Duffy:

Not much, other than it seems to be a regular 8mm projector, which was the format pervious to super-8, and they don't make it anymore. I never worked with regular 8mm, it's just before my time.

Josh

Name: Mo
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

Alright. I'll rephrase.

Would you like to direct to a comic book movie (I think I know the answer to this one) or an episode of Star Wars?

Mo

Dear Mo:

No. Why does this matter so much that you keep rephrasing it?

Josh

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

Josh,

I have been thinking about my friend's statement on why New Orleans is sinking. I wasn't aware that this was the case; I thought it had *always* been below sea level. Let me quote him again here:

"Well, New Orleans wasn't always below sea-level. It got that way because we dammed up the Mississippi so it wouldn't flood every year into the city. As a result, silt that normally would have kept re-newing the land was never deposited, and the soft ground slowly sunk into the bog.

And as the city sunk, the walls had to be built bigger every year until, between the lake and the river, you were dealing with a 20-foot deep hole into which you had placed your population.

It's not like the first settlers there were engineers or rocket scientists, and everyone just kept trying to deal with the problem bit by bit. The problem is this year, nobody did anything because there was no money for it."
-----------------------
Never mind the history of the place. When it comes down to it, history is bullshit when you think about the practical realities that people need to face if they decide to rebuild New Orleans. Save history for the history books.

Essentially, given what my friend said, New Orleans could end up becoming the City of the Mole People if it keeps sinking. I'm thinking about Japan's Kansai Airport built on an artificial island. Now, the idea for this airport was recent-not done at the time of the damming of the Mississippi. The very thought that we have an airport sitting on jacks is so asinine that I shake my head every time I think about it. And given that airport is right smack dab in the Pacific Ring Of Fire-last year's tsunami, anyone?? Krakatoa, anyone??-that place is another New Orleans waiting to happen.

New Orleans ISN'T EVEN SITTING ON JACKS!!

So-what sense does it make to rebuild the city? The city apparently is unliveable-some people saying the city is "destroyed". What makes people think that putting up a more modern levee will improve anything??

THE CITY IS STILL SINKING.

So, you're going to rebuild New Orleans' infrastructure. You're going to have people move back there. And what happens when the NEXT Catergory 5 storm hits? How many people today gave a shit about Hurricane Camille in 1969? That's old history. Boring. Snooze. Who the hell cares? Everyone wants to live for today.

Except we can't live for today. As the saying goes, "Those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it."

I'd like to hear a SOLID argument as to why New Orleans should be rebuilt. Because I don't see the logic in it. To do so in my opinion is setting ourselves up for another mass slaughter.

And next time, my friend's excuse of "It's not like the first settlers there were engineers or rocket scientists" won't cut it.

People are too full of themselves, and they think they can fight off nature. Guess again. But people as a whole are morons and slow learners.

Saul

Dear Saul:

Once again I repeat, brevity is the soul of wit. All of Holland is below sea level and people have been living there for 500 years. They had a huge storm in the North Sea in 1965 which killed 2,000 people in Holland, so they installed very high-tech locks and levees, which are now the high-end standard of the world (Japan has purchased modern levees from the Dutch), and that's what New Orleans must do, too. The U.S. government won't buy that equipment because they've spent all of our money on bullshit, like fighting a useless war in Iraq and building bridges to nowhere in Alaska. But to suggest that New Orleans be abandoned is absurd; it won't happen. So why not fix it right?

Josh

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

Josh,

I thinking " sort off charming" is a good description of "Garden State".

I thought you would like the film if you gave it a chance.

I really liked how the relationship between the main character and his father played out as well. I found it very realistic.

As you said, it wasn't a great film, but I would have to say that it was my favorite film that came out that year.

Scott

Dear Scott:

I do think it's incredibly forgettable. I didn't really buy Ian Holm as his father, either, he seemed too old. Also, it's use of pop songs was truly wearisome -- everytime there's a new scene a pop song kicks in, plays for a minute, doesn't fit the scene at all, then just fades out. Still, I was somewhat amused. But if that's the best film of 2004, that's really sad.

Josh

Name: Matt Serafini
E-mail: MattFini@verizon.net

Josh, thanks for your review of "War of the Worlds", I can't tell you how refreshing it was to read of someone else who was as appalled as I was with this filth. I'm not AS discriminating as you I don't think (I say this becuase I can usually find about 10 movies each year that I really enjoy), but this movie was every bit as horrendous as you say it is. I love your reviews and look forward to more of them!

Dear Matt:

I'm glad someone reads them. Meanwhile, I made a snotty comment about the first act of "Garden State" without seeing the whole thing. I have since watched the rest and it's kind of a charming movie. Not great by any means -- like, who is this goofy epileptic girl? Instead of finding out about her, we spend an inordinate amount of time searching for a necklace that really doesn't matter. Nevertheless, about an hour in, after he's woken up a bit, a chemistry develops between the two of them and it's sort of charming.

Josh

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

Dear Josh:

Quick comment: in an earlier post, Ernst Yanning asked: "There's a song I keep hearing on the radio, but I don't know the title or the band, the lead singer kind of sounds like The Dickies, maybe you know it: "How can we dance when our legs are turning/ how can we sleep when our beds are burning"
For posterity: the song is "Beds Are Burning" by the Australian rock group Midnight Oil.
My Question: a month or two ago, you stated that you were tired of discussing "comic book" movies, and put a moratorium on the subject. It bothered me at the time, and I'm wondering if; with the release of Cronenberg's "A History of Violence" and the upcoming "V for Vendetta" - both based on "comic books", you might reconsider the ban. As an adult reader of comic books, I've spent years dealing with the average American's perception that all comic books are fantasy-derived superhero stories. Although superhero comics have dominated the market for more than 40 years, any story that can be told on film can be told in comics form. With the current situation in the arts, several movie adaptations of comic books ("League of Extraordinary Gentlemen" and "From Hell" come immediately to mind,) have been less intelligent and more homogenized than the comics they were based on. Aren't you really tired of the Superhero genre in particular? Or if David Cronenberg makes a character-driven thriller based on a comic book, do you immediately dismiss it because of the source? Now that film is the ultimate junk culture aimed at teen-agers, I would hope you could sympathize with those of us who have been calling for higher standards of writing with more varied and true-to-life stories in comics for years.

Dear Raoul:

Yes, I did specifically mean superhero comics, and that's all I have an issue with, comic book-wise. From the examples you gave, they still don't seem like a good source for movie stories, but I do realize that there are a lot more kinds of comic books than just superheroes, and that they're simply one more form of literature. But I could easily live a long happy life without ever hearing about anymore superheroes, which really does seem like the stupidest form of shit out there. Retards in leotards saving the world from supervillains -- anyone over the age of ten who pays attention to that superhero garbage should be euthanized immediately.

Josh

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

Dear Josh,

What's a good paying job for a director who's, uh, between or preparing projects? Are you better off trying to nail a corporate videography gig or commercials - stuff that could pay and that is related to filmmaking? Or is it better to bite the bullet and take a menial gig to keep your head clear while you get your movie together? Or, land a time-sucking and draining -- but comparatively more lucrative -- white collar job?
Thanks,
Tim

Dear Tim:

I've had every sort of stupid, menial job, from driving a cab to cashier at a deli to working in several bookstores to selling sandwiches from a basket on a walking route in L.A., but the job I kept returning to for fifteen years was as a production assistant, which I despised. The bottom-line is that if you need to stay in the film biz you'll do whatever you must to survive. I have somehow managed for the past 12 years to support myself with writing and directing.

Josh

Name: Albert Richard
E-mail: ambrichard@msn.com

Josh,

I am putting together a script writing work shop here in the tourist town of Port Townsend, Washington. I came across your reviews of "Perfect Storm"(Perfect Bore?) and "The Patriot". I seldom agree in total with reviews but I found your insights accurate and informative and well as entertaining. I may be using the film "Savior" as the example of a movie-of-Redemption (and anti-war) genre. I had the same reaction to the film that you did. In some ways I thought this to be the most violent film I'd ever seen--Private Ryan, STraw Dogs, Wild Bunch et al don't come close. I think because the level of violent and sadistic events of the former Yugoslav area probably equaled or exceded those depicted in the film. This brutal shit actually happened there.
I agree that the early scenes, contrived as motivation for Guy's hatred of Muslems, were terse and bare-bones. It might have been better embed these early scenes within the film as a back story, with the movie beginning with Quaid in Serbia. But as an aspiring screen writer myself I should avoid re-writing already sucessful scripts and focus on completing my so far unsucessful scripts. I wonder if there is a script of "Savior" available? I've not found it on any of the usual web sites.
Again, I enjoyed your writings. If ever in Port Townsend give a call (360 344 4307) and we drink a beer. This weekend was the Port Townsend Film Festival and I've had the flu so didn't attend. Debora Winger is our movie guest in town. She was here years ago filming "Officer and a Gentleman" and I would have enjoyed meeting chatting with her. Oh well.

Albert Richard

Dear Albert:

It may well be bare-bones at the beginning of "Savior," but it certainly gives you a very motivated character, which is why I like it as it is, as opposed to being a flashback. A motivated character is much more important than a flashback. Good luck with your workshop.

Josh

Name: sara
E-mail: no1animalluver@yahoo.com

Dear Josh:

why did u guys take it off the air i realy like it and it was realy funny and bruce cambell was hot as jack i was watching it from day one.

Dear sara:

I presume you're speaking of "Jack of All Trades." We didn't take it off, it ran one season, it didn't get great ratings, and it wasn't picked up for another season.

Josh

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

<<That's a lot of good movies, I hope you're enjoying them. I love in "Asphalt Jungle" the way Sterling Hayden keeps saying, "Don't bone me." Meanwhile, if you're in the path of the hurricane, evacuate or stay safe.>>

I'm loving them, just finished SUNSET BLVD, WINCHESTER '73, THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL, A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE, THE THING, and THE BAD AND THE BEAUTIFUL..

I just read that THE ASPHALT JUNGLE was Marilyn Monroe's first film where she got noticed after nose and jaw surgery. I love the scene where Sam Jaffe gets pinched and realizes that wouldn't have been caught had he not stayed to watched the young girl dance.

There's a song I keep hearing on the radio, but I don't know the title or the band, the lead singer kind of sounds like The Dickies, maybe you know it: "How can we dance when our legs are turning/ how can we sleep when our beds are burning"

On ONE-EYED JACKS, I read that Stanley Kubrick was originally signed to direct, but had a falling out with Brando and the original cut of the film was 4hrs 30min. What was the falling out about? I wish they would make a better transfer of this film.

Are there copies of VOYAGE TO THE MOON still in print. Is it pretty cool (for 13 min)?

On THE BAD AND THE BEAUTIFUL, I noticed that right before the story starts, Walter Pidgeon is telling his secretary to get Jonathon Shields on the phone, then while their waiting for him to pick up, it goes into three stories... ?!?!.... and then he picks up. Anyways, as intricate as the movie was about filmmaking, I'm not so sure they had a point for the writer's story (unless it was a sick and twisted joke), Shields is partly responsible for his wife's death. He didn't order her killed, but he did hide it to get his movie made, then didn't release the movie. I love that movie.

On THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL (my favorite Robert Wise film), How did they do that effect of the space craft landing on the field in D.C.? The before shot looks like they cut it out of the film (like the glowing ball in Ken Russell's TOMMY), but when the actual craft is landing on the grass, you can see it's shadow so it doesn't look like blue or black screen.

I still haven't found what was before the M-G-M lot. I found a nice book with Film Articles ranging back to 1894 (for $50), it mentions when M-G-M formed, but not what the lot was. It also has an article when Hollywood wasn't a big film town yet and they were hoping to attract filmmakers attention for business. It looks like a nice peaceful town in the photo.

Dear Q:

Remember, brevity is the soul of wit. Try to stick to one point, if possible. Meanwhile, the MGM lot was originally the Triangle Pictures lot, built in 1915 by D.W. Griffith, Mack Sennett and Thomas Ince. In 1917 Triangle folded, and in 1918 Goldwyn Pictures bought the lot. In 1923 Goldwyn Pictures merged with Metro Pictures, and in 1924 it merged again with Louis B. Mayer Pictures, to finally become Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. It was then Lorimar Telepictures, and now it's Sony Pictures.

Josh

Name: tom
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

i have written one screenplay and im now outlining my second. with my first screenplay, the first act ended on page 30. but i have a problem where my second act is too short. my first screenplay was 73 pages, and the second act was the shortest part. i tried to add in things to make it longer but it felt like i was just adding in fluff.

as im outlining my second screenplay it looks like i will have this problem again. any advice?

Dear tom:

Act II is the main action of the story and should be the longest section, so if your Act IIs keeping coming out way too short, you really haven't figured out your story yet. You are theoretically spending all of your time setting up and concluding, but you seem to have no real story to confront. But whatever your story is, like "The Battle of Belleau Wood" for example, Act II is the battle itself. Or in "Running Time," which is about a heist, Act II is the heist itself. So you need to focus in more clearly on your story, because Act I gets you in, and Act III gets you out, but Act II is the story.

Josh

Name: Mo
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

You know, you only realy answer about 75% of my questions. And the other 25% you answer with Hollywood bullshit, while true, doesn't answer anything. It's like when a journalist asks a politician a question and then they rebuttle with some horseshit that doesn't answer the question at all.

The question was (and still is) if you were able to direct an episode of the new Star Wars tv show, would you? Same thing with Spider-man 4 or X-Men 4 or any other comic book movie. If you were able to direct them, would you?

Mo

Dear Mo:

They're stupid questions and I've simply been trying to be polite. I don't have to bother myself with silly what-ifs that don't matter. What if they choose me for the next space mission? What if the Democratic Party picks me to run for president? I try to concern myself with reality, and the rational possibilities therein, not complete flights of fancy. Should some producer decide to offer me something out of the clear blue, I'll deal with it then. But since this hasn't been an issue up until now, I won't bother thinking about it.

Josh

Name: Bob
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

Do you ever advocate films not only for their entertainment value, but for their historial value. For example, some people today may say that there was never a domestic dispute concerning World War II, but from watching The Best Years of Our Lives from 1946 there were obviously some deep divisions in America concerning our involvement in the war and about using the Atomic Bomb.

Some people today might say that the 1950s were a morally pure time compared to today, but by watching a movie like The Blackboard Jungle from 1955 we know that inner city problems were not a whole lot different then as they are now, and probably weren't in the 1910s.

I guess my point is that movies can be valuable as what historians call original source evidence as to providing proof of how life existed in a certain time period.

Dear Bob:

I agree. That's part of why I like really old movies, like the Lumiere's first films from the late 1890s and early 1900s, which are like a window into the past. To just be able to see 25 seconds of a real street scene in Berlin or Jerusalem from 1899 is astounding to me. And like you say, movies give you a view of issues and thoughts from different times. You also get these wonderful little anomolies if you're paying attention. There was also another film in 1946 about the returning veterans, "Till the End of Time," with Guy Madison, which came out before "Best Years," and at one point in the soda shop when the youngsters are jitterbugging, the soda jerk says, "Groovy!" which I didn't know went that far back. I don't know that there were major domestic disputes regarding America's involvement in WWII, nor did anybody say anything about the atomic bomb before it was used since no one knew it existed. The discussions of it's use all began afterward, and continue to this day. But nobody seemed to have any issues with fire-bombing all of Japan previous to the use of the A-bomb, and that did FAR more damage. Anyway, as Jimmy Stewart said of the movies, they're "pieces of time."

Josh

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

Josh,

I was a huge Steve Martin fan in the Seventies. I thought he had made a good transition to movies and was really hitting a good stride. "Roxanne" was, I thought, a very good adaptation. "Parenthood" was very "human"; all about trying and failing, yet trying again. I enjoyed "All of Me", "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels", and, of course, "The Jerk".

Somewhere along the line, though, Martin really tanked ("Bilko"?!?). It's hard to watch him in anything anymore. I would have guessed that I could watch Steve Martin and Bonnie Hunt fold socks for two hours and be entertained. Maybe they should try that; it would be better than remakes of "Cheaper".

I recall that you prefer vintage Richard Pryor. He was great, but Martin was my guy.

John

Dear John:

I thought Steve Martin was the best host of the Oscars in the past ten years. I liked "L.A. Story," too, although I really didn't like "Roxanne." Unless you leave Cyrano back in its original time period, it doesn't make any sense. You simply can't get past the idea that you can easily make your nose smaller these days with plastic surgery. Yes, there is a line about it in the film, but it doesn't make sense either. But more than anything, I couldn't stand the idiotic tone of the film. Meanwhile, I never cared for Richard Pryor in the movies, other than his filmed stand-up routines, and those went to shit after the first two.

Josh

Name: Jason
E-mail: Jason_McElreath@hotmail.com

Hello Josh,

I am big fan of your site and the valuable information provided within. I am an even bigger fan of your film "Running Time". It is a very entertaining film and a major accomplishment for a film maker. I wanted to know if I were to send you the DVD slip cover of my copy of "Running Time" along with an SASE, if you would autograph it for me. If you could sign it "To Jason" I would be a thrill. if this is possible please let me know what address to send to. Thank you for your time and I look forward to reading your new book.

Jason McElreath

Dear Jason:

I'm glad you liked the film. Sure, I'll sign it. The webmaster, Shirley, will step in at this juncture and tell you how. [Send a SASE to me at: Shirley Robbins LeVasseur, c/o P.O. Box 86, East Vassalboro, ME 04935 and I'll forward it directly to Josh. -webmaster]

Josh

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

Josh- thank you ever so much for mentioning Parenthood and putting the Diarrhea song in my head. It has been there all day! (note the sarcasm) I love that the kid's name was "Cool" and you're absolutely right the fact that Robards' character sucked as a father to Steve Martin's character yet redeemed himself by taking in his half black grandchild. Favorite moments? Steenbergen helping Martin relieve tension in the minivan, the power outage flashlight/vibrator bit and the Martin line "Yeah if your grandmother's so smart why is she sitting in the neighbor's car?" I liked the ending as well in the waiting room you're like wait no she has her baby and hey so does she and look she's pregnant so who? Ahhh I see. You did confuse me though because my quotes were from The Princess Bride which in book form was even better. Which is saying alot since I loved the film.
"He didn't fall? Inconcievable!"
"You keep using that word I do not think it means what you think it means"
We watched it with my grandmother who is slightly deaf okay very deaf and every time Fezzik (Andre the giant) had a line we would be cracking up and she would be saying "what? what did he say?" Poor Grama. The thing is I find myself drawn to slightly older films especially ones that meant a lot to me as a kid...Princess Bride, Never ending story, Last unicorn etc... As opposed to anything currently out. I've tried to pass these on to the kids and they are so-so although they enjoyed NES. Oh and the 6 year old thinks the Stooges are hilarious. I've taught him and his brother the eye poke block.
Any fuzzy film feelings for you?

Dear Duffy:

I liked "The Princess Bride," and I had read the book years before when it came out. I thought Rob Reiner and company did a good job bringing it to the screen. I can completely live without "The Neverending Story," which my friend I changed to "The Neverending Movie." As for "Parenthood," I love when Martha Plimpton and Keanu Reeves pick up the photographs of them having sex, then realize her mother already picked them up. She gets home to find Dianne Wiest looking at the photos and saying, "I can't decide which one I like better. Oh, this one's perfect for my wallet." Or the scene where Wiest is comforting Plimpton by saying, "All men are scum," then looking up and seeing her troubled son (Joaquin Phoenix back when he was still Leaf), and saying, "Gary, hi, how are you?" It's a surprisingly good film.

Josh

Name: Jonathan Moody
E-mail: jondoe_555@yahoo.com

Dear Josh:

Not to ruin whatever good mood you're in but I heard that one of your least favorite writer-director Sofia Coppola will be doing her version of Marie Antionette. And it'll star Kirsten Dunst. And Jason Schwartzman (Sofia's cousin) as King Louis. I'm a lil worried. Thought I'd give you the warning if you haven't already heard about it.

Your fan,
Jonathan

Dear Jonathan:

I could care less. One more shitty movie from a supremely untalented filmmaker won't change anything. And Kirsten Dunst and Jason Schwartzman are both non-entities, so who cares? It's not like the 1938 version is a classic or even well-regarded, but I have faith Sofia won't do as good of a job as did Woody Van Dyke, who was famous for coming in under schedule and budget.

Josh

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

<<Are you taking pep pills? Or just drinking a lot of espresso and watching old movies in fast-forward?>>

Caffeinated Soda, water, peanut butter and banana sandwich, canned soup and pasta, 7-up and Dark Chocolate. I only watch about 2-3 movies a day, with a short temp job mind you, I'm up from 2am to 8pm. Yesterday I watched PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE, THE SOUND OF MUSIC (god forbid, I finished it for once), the first half of ALL ABOUT EVE which I finished this morning. I've been watching THE COLLECTOR on my lunch breaks (I work across the street, I've seen the film 3 times already). I'll watch THE ASPHALT JUNGLE and THE LETTER next. Two nights and mornings earlier I watched WHITE HEAT, THE TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE, and GHOSTS ON THE LOOSE (which had a funny first act and the rest sucked), oh, and THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES I split into three nights by the act breaks.

Is anybody else on this website from Austin, Houston, or Galveston bracing for the storm? There are a lot of family members coming to invade our homes.

Dear Q:

That's a lot of good movies, I hope you're enjoying them. I love in "Asphalt Jungle" the way Sterling Hayden keeps saying, "Don't bone me." Meanwhile, if you're in the path of the hurricane, evacuate or stay safe.

Josh

Name: Jonathan Moody
E-mail: jondoe_555@yahoo.com

Dear Josh:

So I was actually finishing up Casablanca for the first time. Every time I tried to watch that movie one of my friends wouldn't be interested in it and would make me want to shut it off. Which I would want to yell at them and tell them to leave but I'm not that rude. I laughed alot thru the movie but one thing in particular I thought was cool was when Rick and Isla meet again at Ricks and Sam plays the song was parodied in "Out Cold!" A Snowboarding movie where the character Rick comes back inside a bar to hear "Island in the sun" by Weezer which was his song with a woman who broke his heart. I wish I had seen Out Cold after I had seen Casablanca to realize what they were parodying. Have you seen, "Out Cold"--- my guess would be that you wouldn't be interested in it because its a pretty standard hollywood flick and you'd be bored by it within the first 5-10 minutes of it. Have you seen anything on TV or in the theatres worth mentioning lately?

Your fan,
Jonathan

Dear Jonathan:

I've been enjoying the HBO series "Rome." I watched a cool documentary called "Antarctica" last night (it might have been an IMAX film), with divers and cameras underneath the ice watching pengiuns swim around like fast little torpedoes. I saw a sort of cool Civil War film, "The Raid" (1954), with Van Heflin, young Ann Bancroft and young Lee Marvin, a true story about a group of confederate prisoners in Vermont, who escape and go undercover in a small town as they prepare to destroy the whole area. *Spoiler* Even though they come to like the town and the people in it, and Van Heflin falls for Ann Bancroft, and she for him, they still destroy the town. I watched the 1938 MGM extravaganza, "Marie Antionette," with Norma Shearer, John Barrymore, and a very young John Morley, who was terrific as Louis XVI, and oddly, a young and dashing Tyrone Power, on loan from 20th Century-Fox. The last shot of Marie, as she is marched up the steps to the guillotine, pulls back from an MCU of her through the guillotine as the blade comes up in the foreground, which we then follow up to the top, then it drops out of frame with a loud chop.

Josh

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

Josh,

I have found a similar "Geek" phenomenon in music. I know lots of women who are fine musicians, but it's largely the men who pursue their instruments obsessively. The social expectations seem different for women; care of kids, for instance.

Maybe men are just more selfish. My male friends and I have conversations entirely in movie quotes, or lines from novels, largely to demonstrate our familiarity with the lines. We're not folding laundry while we watch "Caddyshack" for the twentieth time (I fold the laundry later). Maybe men place a higher value on the bond of shared arcane knowledge.

John

Dear John:

That must be so. I thought Barry Levinson dramatized that difference well in "Diner," when Daniel Stern and Ellen Barkin, who are young, fairly recent newlyweds, have an argument about his records, which she listens to, but won't put back in their proper order. Her problem is that she can't even figure out what his order is, and besides, they're just records, right? What's the difference? Or John Cusack in "High Fidelity," who rearranges his records regularly, finding new ways to categorize them each time. I personally have my CDs arranged in sections: rock & roll, jazz, classical, blues, folk, soundtracks, then they're alphabetical within each category. I go over my friend Lisa's house and she doesn't even put the CDs back in their cases.

Josh

Name: Jeff Alede
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

Do you feel that fate exists? And destiny? How about either of those as a theme to a movie?

Dear Jeff:

Fate and destiny certainly do exist in screenwriting, since the writer is god and controls all of the character's outcomes. But in reality, I suspect that it's all purely haphazard, and whether you're a good person or a bad one, you may still get creamed by that bus. It would depend on how you handle it, but no, it doesn't sound like a good theme for a movie. It's not personal enough. Any emotion would be better.

Josh

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

Hi Josh

I might be going soft in my old age, but I saw three movies I actually genuinely liked, back to back to back: "Harold and Maude" (1971), "Crossroads" (1986), and "Tigerland" (2001). Have you seen any of these films? They're all intimate, logical, believable, well-acted pictures. "Tigerland" is a film by Joel Schumacher, so that even gives me hope! They were the perfect antidote for "The Village."

Dear Brett:

I liked "Harold and Maude" and "Tigerland," but I didn't care for "Crossroads." I thought Colin Farrell was very good in "Tigerland," and yes, it's the best film Joel Schumacher has ever made. "Crossroads" is that tired old nonsense about selling one's soul to the devil for the blues, and the whole guitar showdown was silly, as was Ralph Macchio.

Josh

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

Dear Josh,

In the making of "If I Had a Hammer" you recounted firing six people: "First came a very cute production assistant", "Next came the production designer and his two sons", and lastly "came the crabby, though exceptionally cute, 2nd assistant camera person". I guess the description you gave was the last girl, it sounded though as if she were only there for her husband's sake. But the story you tell is very entertaining all the same. I think Jane could of worn her shirt with a bare midriff too, though in my opinion it looks silly and childish and after a certain age one really should not dress that way. Thanks for answering my questions about the Van Morrison/Chieftains album. And as to Duffy's comments, I didn't mean that I thought there were no girls out there who are movie geeks, I, just like yourself Josh, have not met any of them.

Cheers,
Beth

Dear Beth:

I went out with an Asian actress in L.A. a couple of times many years ago who could do a dead-on Gloria Swanson impersonation, which I found impressive, in a movie geeky-sort of way. But the really severe movie geeks I've ever met, with whom I include myself, have all been males. Some were homosexuals, but all were males.

Josh

Name: Mo
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

You should keep in touch with Sam Raimi more. Just because you can, not for any particular reason.

Though if he ever does another tv show with Rob Tapert or something, then you may be able to get a gig directing it (assuming you'd even want to).

Also. On the subject of Tv shows. If somebody offered you a chance to direct an episode of this upcoming Star Wars tv series I keep hearing about, would you do that? The reason I ask is I know you're not a big fan of the new Star Wars movies, but if you were able to put your own twist on it, would that be incentive to do it?

Mo-Mo Ma-Mo

(Do you like the new way I sign my name? It's pronounced Mo Mo Muh Mo)

Dear Mo:

Just because I can is not a good enough reason. We stay in touch with those who reciprocally want to stay in touch with us. And nobody is just going to offer me any episodes of TV shows like "Star Wars," it just doesn't work that way. It's like asking, what if somneone offered you the presidency of GM? Things don't work that way. Besides, if I were one of the directors on a big TV show, I wouldn't get to add my own twist, the whole point is make your episode fit in with everybody else's episodes.

Josh

Name: Joe
E-mail: joe@yahoo.com

Hey Josh,

Just writing with a small gripe and/or question. I was interested in the new Jody Foster flick flightplan. Basically she gets on a jet that she designed with her kid and during the flight the kid dissapears. Nice hook. But reading further abou the film-gripe coming soon, wait for it-it seems her sanity will be in question here.

No, no, no. My gripe is that a recent trend for heros is are they insane or not? I cant stand this stupid device in plots. The idea of a kid going missing on a plane is a real, phyiscal, visual problem. The idea that maybe the mom is insane and never had a kid takes the conflict off the screen and puts it in the heros head, which of course nobody can SEE!

In the film the jacket it was the same deal: is Adrien Brody really going back in time or is he just insane? I dont really care, just please pick one and go with it. The ambivalence of this so-called character dilemma is mind-numbingly trite and boring on film. Watch Hide and seek with DeNiro, same problem.

Now, I dont even want to see flightplan because Ill have to sit through a whole film which presents a real dilemma of how could a kid get on a plane and then disappear only to have it revealed in the end, oh, she was just crazy or some other mental excuse which is someones lame idea of a twist.

My point and question is: why cant writers present a problem, have a character battle the problem and then resolve it? WHy does it have to be some clever plot twist which ruins the film?

Dear Joe:

It's because most movies go through 137 rewrites, then by the time they shoot nobody can remember what they ever liked about the story to start with. Whatever they did like was probably removed along the way anyway. I thought the is-he-crazy-or-not idea fit will in ED2.

Josh

Name: Duffy
E-mail: g_duffy

Josh- first a note to Beth I'm a girl, in fact a girly girl who squeals when she sees a bug but has cajones enough to stomp the living daylights out of it and I love this site. As to the geek factor duh of course men are bigger geeks it's in their nature but the great thing about men is when they like something, they LIKE something. For better or worse sometimes but they are firm in their commitments. I have seen and have actually been a part of the line remembering women's movement. We can't tell you the dates or who the PA or lighting guy was (unless we dated him) but dialogue? Location? what they were wearing and inconsitincies? Oh yeah watch out cause we'll point them out. I have a bit of a reputation as trivia head in regards to who sings that? or remember that movie with the guy from ___ and that dog? I usually have a ready answer and can usually can quote you a few lines and in the case of favorites nearly the whole thing. Another thing women are good at is including great and not so great movie lines into every day conversation.
A coworker and I greet each other this way...
I say
"You seem a decent fellow I hate to kill you"
she responds
"You seem a decent fellow I hate to die"
Another coworker who is Bruce crazy although she could be his daughter and I toss BCinisms at each other through the day to liven up the dull existence that is our day job.

See? Women are good for something after all, annoying the crap out of men!

P.S. I have two cats as well and love them although they are pains in the butt. Rocky so named because we thought SHE was a HE and Freddie (guess why) who's name is usually changed to Fred Fred the peckerhead. Rocky is a fat ass and thinks she can perch on a half inch spot and Fred well he's a teenager what more can I say?

Dear Duffy:

Like I said, women do frequent this site. This website is run by a woman, too. I watched "Parenthood" again last night, and I must confess that I like that movie. Sadly, the whole Rick Moranis subplot doesn't work, but everything else does. I absolutely love the scene where Jason Robards takes in Tom Hulce's kid, Cool. But the film takes on a subject as it's story, then boils the subject down into one family. I think that's an interesting way to go, script-wise.

Josh

Name: RL
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

"Movies are our society's soul up there on display for everyone to see."

Great, great line! Good dogma, too.

Dear RL:

Thank you. It's true, too.

Josh

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

Hey Josh,

Thanks for signing "Hammer", I got my copy today! Can't wait til I get to see it. I could watch it while my parents are out but that might ruin my birthday a tiny bit for me. I think I'll just wait.

Ever thought of doing some kind of petition on your site for getting Lunatics released on dvd. I wish sony would take note of all the Bruce campbell, ted raimi, josh becker fans. Or even how Sam produced it (He was an exec wasn't he?)

thanks.

Dear Chris:

Yes, Sam was one of the executive producers of "Lunatics." Nobody cares about that movie, that's the bottom-line, and them's the breaks. I don't think a petition would mean anything, but thanks for the thought.

Josh

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

Dear Josh,

In your essay on the making of "If I Had A Hammer" you talk about having to fire a "very cute production assistant". For clarification and posterity would please define such a statement. What makes a girl very cute? I'm still interested to know if you have heard the Van Morrison album "Irish Heartbeat" and what you think about it. Well I hope all is well for you.

Cheers,
Beth

Dear Beth:

Sorry about not answering that question earlier, but no, I haven't heard the Van Morrison/Chieftains record, and I like both of them. I thought the Chieftains' score for "Barry Lyndon" was great. Actually, it's Leonard Rosenman's score, which the Chieftains perform. Anyway, you want me to define "very cute"? She wasn't a production assistant, she was an assistant cameraperson. She was a pretty, slim, blonde with her sexy midriff exposed all the time. Her belly was provocative enough for Jane, the producer, to come up to me at one point and say, "I can wear my shirt like that, too, you know." I said, "Why don't you." She thought about it for a minute, then said, "No, I can't wear my shirt like that," and walked away.

Josh

Name: Jim K
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

Just a head's up that deep discount dvd is selling a preorder of "Alien Apocalypse" for a little over 7 bucks, so even fans of yours who didn't see it on cable (like me) might be willing to take a blind plunge. I'm looking forward to it...

The link:

http://www.deepdiscountdvd.com/studio.cfm?mainStudioId=11&page=5

Dear Jim:

It's the cheapest movie on the whole page, at $7.19 (with free shipping). "Zombi Dawn of the Dead," whatever the fuck that is, was $9.95, and it's so low-budget they can't even afford the E in zombie.

Josh

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

Dear Josh,

My first thought when you recounted the reasoning Amy had as to why she broke it off with you was, what a petty and stupid reason. Surely one can't really decide whether or not they are compatible with someone just because they put qualifications on their opinion of a movie. But then a secondary thought occurred to me, perhaps she was telling a little white lie to spare your feelings. Though I really don't think such a thing would spare a person's feelings. I mean how patronizing is it to have someone tell you "oh I really don't care for you because of some inconsequential, inane reason." But ya know, that is just me and my opinion, it may be something all together different. As to women being geeks, I think that there are certainly a few women out there who take the time to intake all the details of many different subjects. I haven't met any women who felt that way about movies. I myself am a person who does have a tendency to do such a thing, but not necessarily about movies. It is a personality trait that really hasn't helped me in socializing with other people, but it is who I am and I am happy with me. Does this personality trait present a stumbling block for you?

Cheers,
Beth

Dear Beth:

Yes, I'd say it has. There was a long time there when if I couldn't discuss movies, I didn't want to talk. I think my range has broadened a bit since then, though. I still don't like "small talk." I'd much rather discuss politics or books or philosophy or religion or movies, of course. Most people don't really want to discuss movies, anyway, they just want to say how much they liked whatever they most recently saw. People often become dumbstruck if someone, like say me, doesn't like that new big movie. Also, since I don't care at all about most sports, that's always been something of a conversational stumbling block with other men. A neighbor of mine persists in asking every time I walk by, "Hey, how about those Lions?" I personally think movies are a better, and bigger, topic.

Josh

Name: Gary Becker
E-mail: AxDenied@aol.com

Hey Josh - A blast from the past. I don't know if you would remember me, Gary Becker (Stan Becker's kid). We use to chum around when we were kids. I saw Alien Apocalypse on Sci-Fi 2 weeks ago - Loved it (I'm a big Bruce Campbell fan). Anyhow, I don't want to put you to sleep - Take care...I'll keep an eye out for the next flick. Gary

Dear Gary:

How long has it been? 35 years, maybe? Wow! Well, I'm glad you liked the film.

Josh

Name: Jason Roth
E-mail: jason@visualnoiz.com

Hey Josh,

Haven't written in here in ages, glad to read of your recent successes. Keep us Beckerfans posted on when and where you'll be having your book release signing- I'll happily plunk down some greenbacks for it.

Recently saw the cut scene from the Dead Next Door DVD featuring you as a zombie, fun stuff. The movie was what it was, but it had its moments. I noticed in the commentary they went to great pains not to mention Sam, I'm guessing he no longer wants to be associated with it?

One more bit of inquiry- when Alien Apocalypse is released on DVD, will the "fags" line be intact? Not being even slightly homophobic, I thought it was a funny line. It's refreshing to hear characters speak un-PC dialogue in this day and age.
Take care,
Jason

Dear Jason:

I don't know. We'll both find out soon. The "fags" line was my homage to "Fast Times at Ridgemont High," but I guess that's too obscure of a reference for today's PC crowd. In New Zealand they have brand of coffee called Fagg's Coffee, and Ted Raimi and I laughed our asses off for a week as we dreamed up new slogans for the company, like, "I love the taste of warm Fagg's in the morning."

Josh

Name: Mathew Anderson
E-mail: Berek-Halfhand@new.rr.com

Dear Josh,

I've read quite a bit on your site and intend to finish everything available. The advice you've given about aspiring screenwriter's and the movie business is terrific and I only want to write more, however...

I'm in a dilemma. I know I love writing and reading/watching stories, but I'm not sure if I want to become a writer in computer games (I love computer games), or attempt to break into the film industry and write stories for film. I am taking up an acting class this semester to see if I even like to act as I've never done that before. I also am adding a creative writing course.

I've always loved watching movies and television shows. I know which ones are good and why, and which ones aren't, and why. I don't know if I can attribute that to being lazy and finding it "easy" to watch something, or if it's something more.

One of my questions is, is it getting too late for me at age 25 to be in a "I could do this, or I could do that" state of mind? You have a great relationship with Bruce Campbell, you are both successful industry leaders, and grew up together. I feel all alone in Wisconsin, no friends who aspire to become game designers, no friends who aspire to become writers or film makers (although the classes this semester might change that if I'm lucky). It took me 22 years to begin even thinking about doing SOMETHING. I want to be somebody, and that is another thing I'm not sure is a good thing to drive me.

I'd like to know if I have a chance in hell of writing a good script and seeing it published, or working through my college and becoming an actor, which my only begin to bear any fruit until I'm 30. It seems impossible without already being "in the right place at the right time". And Hollywood by your account simply sounds scary. Computer games I already have connections with somewhat, maybe I should play it safe and stick with that, or try to get back into the Post Office (which I quit due to my pockets of aspiration for something more). Is my mentality in error?

If you're curious as to what I currently do, please feel free to puruse my website at http://www.mathewanderson.com. (It's a resume website, but gives a lot of what I do and who I am, etc.)

Thanks for any advice. I hope this wasn't too long. I already appreciate you reading this more than I can put into words.

Dear Mathew:

It's never too late. And why on earth would you want to play it safe? What have you got to lose? You clearly write better than at least 75% of the people who frequent this site, so you've got that going for you. But if you're going to write, it really is a lonely business, so you better start getting used to it. More than that, you have to enjoy it. Because ultimately the point isn't getting rich or even having a movie made out of your script, it's the act of writing itself. If you don't take joy from the process, then you shouldn't do it. 25 is still pretty young, but you're still possibly through a third of your life. If you're lucky you've got 50, 60 more years, so why not live it up? Go for it. Seriously, what have you got to lose?

Josh

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

Dear Josh,

What cute kitty cats. I was wondering if you had heard the Van Morrison Album "Irish Heartbeat", that he did with the The Chieftains? I have it and like it. I'm particularly fond of the Title song and Star of the County Down. I was wondering what percentage of people who write you in this forum are women? It seems like a lot of the the people who write are male. Just wondering.

Cheers,
Beth

Dear Beth:

No idea. There have certainly been any number of women that have written in over the years. I daresay, though, that geekdom is more of a male thing. Honestly, I have never met a really serious film geek who was female. Not that women don't like movies every bit as much as men, but learning all of the names and dates and inconsequentia clearly doesn't seem important. I was just mentioning this yesterday, and I think it's rather amusing: my girlfriend in Oregon, Amy, broke up with me after she watched "A Lion in Winter" and was so confused as to whether or not I would like or hate the film (I like it, with reservations), which caused her to realize that she so totally didn't understand me that she immediately called and broke up with me. What do you think of that?

Josh

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

Hey Josh,

That is funny that Binder shot "Upside of Anger" in England. If he was trying to save money, I could not think of a worse place to blow your budget than England. It is more expensive there than it is in NYC and I would know this.

Why didn't he shoot it in Detroit? Fuckin' weird.

Anyhow, I had some hopes for " Motorcycle Diaries" , however, I tried to watch it twice and I kept falling asleep.

I did think it was beautifully shot and it did have its moments, but I did not really care too much for either character as well, although, when I did make it through the film the third time, I thought the Leper colony scenes were well done and I felt I got the sense as to why Guevera became what he did in the future.

like most idealists, he was acting with the best intentions, however, as you pointed out about socialism, it doesn't work and I think he channeled his passion in a direction people to did not wnat to follow in the end which was the ultimate reason for his capture and demise.

I will have to check out "The Other Side of Heaven". Thanks for the tip.

Scott

Dear Scott:

Apparently, England gives such a large kick-back for shooting a movie there that it makes it worthwhile. Mike Binder has shot three or four films there, so he must know. I tried watching the new, Hallmark "Mysterious Island," which was written by Adam Armus and Nora Kay Foster, who wrote five of the Xena eps I directed, and the very first thing that occurs on the island is a giant Praying Mantis grabs a guy, lifts him in the air and bites his head off. It reminded me me of something else, but I can't think of what. Anyway, the tone was so grim that I bailed out. Meanwhile, I liked the leper colony scene in Papillion" better, with Anthony Zerbe as the head leper who gives McQueen the cigar to smoke, then asks, "How did you know that I don't have the contagious form of leprosy?" McQueen says, "I didn't."

Josh

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

Hey Josh,

I don't think many people would argue with you on "Let It Bleed" and "Sticky Fingers", that's the Stones really at the height of their powers - I would include "Beggar's Banquet" in there too! I've never listened to "Their Satanic Majesty's Request" on any kind of hallucinogens, but I'm fond of "Citadel" and "She's a Rainbow". My First was pretty standard - "Dark Side of the Moon". Two of my favorite Stones albums are compilations, "Big Hits(High tide & green Grass)" and "Flowers"- I still listen to them quite regularly. I'll stop now since I may be boring some people, maybe even you. LOL.

Cheers Josh,

Tom

Dear Tom:

Oddly, the song that really got me on "Their Satanic Majesty's Request" was Bill Wyman's one and only writing credit, "In Another Land," also quite liked "She's a Rainbow" and "Citadel," too. It's definitely a weird Stones record. The last bearable Stones record, I think, was "Tattoo You."

Josh

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

Dear Josh:

Are there any documentaries on WW2 propaganda films and their influence on society? I saw one called Blabbermouth the other day, which was kind of stupid, but it has a nice shot of a real army jeep jumping a hill that's straight out of an action movie. What about documentaries about when we rounded up anyone of Japanese decent and had them put into camps?

On ADAM'S RIB, during the scene where they are watching home movies, were those shot for the movie or are they actually real home movies of Tracy and Hepburn? That whole thing with the husband and wife prosecuting and defending the same case didn't happen in real life did it? Or is it one of those gimmes. Was their apartment just a built set? There's a shot where Hepburn slams the door shut repeatedly and it breaks through the frame.

When did the Dead End Kids become the East Side Kids and why are they making bad movies with Bela Lugosi and Ava Gardner? Are there any more good movies when they're the Dead End Kids besides ANGELS WITH DIRTY FACES and DEAD END? When did they add the black kid? They look like they're in their mid-twenties.

Have you noticed that some of those old movies tried to make the blacks look hip and minstrel at the same time? In THE PETRIFIED FOREST, they have one guy as a chauffer and one as a gangster and the gangster makes fun of the chauffer saying, "Haven't you heard about the revolution?" but they both come off as not bright.

Dear Q:

Are you taking pep pills? Or just drinking a lot of espresso and watching old movies in fast-forward? I've seen stuff on the Japanese internment camps, but I can't think of a specific documentary to recommend. In L.A. I saw a great series of banned cartoons from the 1930s and 40s, many of which were WWII propaganda cartoons. There were a lot of depictions of bucktoothed Japanese with glasses and Bugs Bunny or Daffy Duck making fun of them. There were also a bunch of very rascist cartoons, too. Anyway, the first film with the Dead End Kids was William Wyler's "Dead End" (1937), then for the next couple of years they were in reasonably legitimate Warner Brothers' films, like: "Angels With Dirty Faces" (with James Cagney), "Angels Wash Their Faces" (with Ann Sheridan and Ronald Reagan), "They Made Me a Criminal" (with John Garfield), "Crime School" (with Humphrey Bogart) and "Hell's Kitchen" (with Reagan again). Then in 1940 they went to the low-budget Monogram Studios and became the East Side Kids, but were still kind of serious. Then in 1946 they reformed again to become the wacky Bowery Boys. Regarding "Adam's Rib," those were sets and everything was wasx no doubt created for the film. I just watched "The Petrified Forest" again recently, and yes, that was an amusing exchange between the two black characters, considering it was 1935.

Josh

Name: joe
E-mail: joecap@optonline.net

Dear Josh:

"Socialism is the noble attempt to answer very real human suffering through collective action. Lives spent pursuing that action should be remembered and admired."

Not so much a question as a comment. Adding to what Josh said, socialism fails because it keeps man from competing-in this case for wealth which is what capitalism ultimately is.

But what Marx couldn't forsee-he took much of what Hegel said regarding the spirit and tried to apply it materially, to the physical world-is that when man is kept from competing for wealth, society won't turn into a utopia, because man will look for something else to compete for. And that something in the case of communist Soviet Union turned out to be power.

Socialism sounds good on paper, but in practice it robs man of individuality. Why should I get a degree from a university if a garbage man will earn the same income as me? This will inevitably cause resentment, because the state is basically squashing a persons freedom for what they think is a greater good.

Annnyway...

Dear joe:

The individual is the most important thing, not the collective. I think Ayn Rand took it too far, but that's the right idea. If each individual strives to be their best, then the community will be at it's best. But if the individual is subverted to the collective, it is doomed to failure.

Josh

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

Josh,

On Socialism; I agree. Full Socialism defies human nature. European-style Social Security is about the furthest we can go.

On "The Upside of Anger" (SPOILER!); it would have been a far more satisfying film if the guy at the end had actually died at the end. It would have been more realistic and drawn up more emotion. Binder's character seemed to exist primarily to deliver a tangential monologue, but it's his movie. I thought Allen was great, though.

John

Dear John:

Oh, great, you ruined it! Just kidding, someone already told me.

Josh

Name: Diana Hawkes
E-mail: upon request

Dear Josh:

Would you pass this link on to Rob Tapert? My friend is a journalist who usually writes about socio-political topics, but last week published this Xena retrospective for "Salon".
http://www.salon.com/ent/feature/2005/09/15/xena/index_np.html

In light of Rob saying in one of the Xena DVD commentaries -- "So it <Xena> really was the 1st seed that opened that door. And though nobody is ever going to go back and write about it, to me I'm kind of glad that I got my foot in the door so other people could follow." -- I thought he would appreciate the irony that somebody *did* go back and write fairly in-depth about Xena's influence. Much appreciated if you'd care to.

(The ad to read the whole article takes just a split second. Or read it on one page here: http://www.cathyyoung.net/yyfeatures/whatweowexena.html)

Dear Diana:

I forwarded it to Rob. A well-written article.

Josh

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

Dear Josh,

What are you three kitties names?

Beth

Dear Beth:

Their names are Alice, Bridget and Anna.

Josh

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

Josh,

The complete quote from Marx is: "Religious suffering is, at one and the same time, the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people." That is hardly a condemnation of religion, which Marx saw as natural to man, but irrelevant to his (Marx's) theories.

John

PS. Socialism is the noble attempt to answer very real human suffering through collective action. Lives spent pursuing that action should be remembered and admired.

Dear John:

I didn't mean to get you to start defending Socialism. I think it's a Utopian concept that doesn't function in the real world of human beings. As my friend summed it up, "If it takes 8 hours to make two items, and I'm willing on my own accord to put in 4 hours of overtime to make another one, the dumb schmuck who didn't work at all doesn't get my extra one, me and my family do. If you're going to force me to give my extra one to that other guy, I just won't do it." And there goes incentive. ...My long-winded point being, I think Socialism, Communism, Marixism, etc. is a failed concept that does not fit with human nature. There will always be those with more and those with less, it will never be distributed equally.

Josh

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

Dear Josh,

um just wondering when you sent my copy of "hammer". It's been two weeks so I was just a little curious.

Also anything more you can tell us about "the horribleness"?

thanks.

Dear chris:

I sent it the 12th. Media Mail can take between 3 days and 3 weeks. I'm sitting and waiting for a green light on "The Horribleness," and though I'm not terribly superstitious, regarding this kind of thing I am. If it flies I'll tell you all about it.

Josh

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

Josh,

I am not sure if you have seen it or not, but I know it was mentioned on the site not too long ago, but I watched "Upside of Anger" last week and it was a pretty decent film.

I know you knew Mike Binder and went to summer camp together.

Costner's Character is a DJ at WRIF & Mike Binder is his engineer in the film. I mention this because Arthur Penhollow is in a couple of scenes and that guy has been on WRIF since the beginning of the station in the late 60's early 70's. He is as old as dirt.

I could never stand the guy myself, but I thought it was funny that Binder put him in the film.

I remember being at a bar once when I was in my 20's and Arthur P. was there and he was trying to pick up some woman by trying to tell he who he was, but she had absolutley no idea who he was and he walked away all pissed off. It was pretty funny to watch. Crash & burn. Ouch!

Anyhow, I think it is one of the best roles that Costner has taken in a long, long, long, time!

Joan Allen is very good too.

The interview with Binder on the special features is great as well as he shows how difficult it was to get the film made which seems to be the biggest problem in Hollywood with any original script, and the studio did not want Joan Allen for the part blah, blah, blah. Same old BS.

Scott

Dear Scott:

Yeah, and he shot it in England. I still haven't seen it, but I shall soon. And Arthur P. is still broadcasting on the RIF. Baby! I saw an odd, interesting film last night called "The Other Side of Heaven," from 2002, which I wouldn't be surprised if it was financed by the Mormon church. It's the true story of a Mormon missionary who goes to Tonga in the 1950s, and his exploits there for 2 and 1/2 years, while Anne Hathaway waits for him back home. I cared a lot more about the characters in this film than "The Motorcycle Diaries," or most anything else I've seen lately, and I didn't give a rat's ass about what the guy was doing, meaning bringing the word of god to the natives. But I believed it, and that's the world as far as I'm concerned. Also, it was a New Zealand production and I knew a few of the folks on the crew.

Josh

Name: Mo
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

No, my thingie way back when was kinda just me asking if you'd become the very type of person you hate if somebody offered you a chance to direct an internationally huge pic. I just used Spider-man 4 as an example because I know how much you hate comics and you do have a couple of connections to the film (Sam and Ted Raimi, Lucy Lawless, Bruce Campbell). So I figured you were familiar (even if you don't like it).

Speaking of that, how do you feel about Sam Raimi now? I mean, he's pretty much done everything you've said you detest. Remakes, sequels, comic book movies. Are you and he still cool, or do you respect him less now?

Also, what was your take on Man With The Screaming Brain now that it finally came into existance?

Also, are you married? If not, have you ever been married? Do you have children?

Mo-Mo Ma-Mo

Dear Mo:

You're a troublemaker. But you know what? So am I. Meanwhile, I hardly know Sam anymore. He lives in L.A. and I live in Detroit and we have completely separate lives. We were pretty good friends for a while in our 20s, but that was a long time ago. Sam has done what was necessary to be a successful director in Hollywood right now. Sam always wanted to be a success, and he is. I wish him all the best in the world. No, he doesn't make pictures that appeal to me, but I'm sure he doesn't care. Nor do I think my films appeal to him, either. As for "Screaming Brain," which I've been having to hear about for 18 years, I'm glad it's shot and done and shown, and now we can all move past it, and "Alien Apocalypse," too, for that matter. No, I'm not married, I never have been, and I have no children, just three cats.

Josh

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

Dear Josh:

This sites been kind of dull the last couple of days. About what film period did black actors stopped being stereotyped so badly? (well they're still stereotyped, but I'm talking about when they were forced to be total happy dumbshits everytime they appeared onscreen... ). I'm just curious.

Since Robert Wise just died, is it just me or is Julie Andrews partly coming off as the Devil in THE SOUND OF MUSIC: Think of this, she comes to the Von Trapp family disguised as a nun, the kids are wild, funny, full of life, playing tricks on her, then she lures them in with that killer song "A Few Of My Favorite Things" but almost immediately afterward, she turns them into a bunch of saps who wear curtains and put on gay puppet shows about billy goats. Of course, then all that's ruined because they get closer to their father in the end. All in all, I thought THE COLLECTOR was a better movie anyway.

On BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN, I would like to make a note that years earlier on South Park season 2, they had an episode where Robert Redford brought Sundance to South Park, and Eric Cartman refused to see any of the independent films on the basis that:
"They're all about a bunch of gay cowboys eating pudding."

I do have a final question involving your span of creativity essay. Do you think Werner Herzog is about to die? I mean he's very old, and the next he wants to make is just a fictional remake of LITTLE DIETER NEEDS TO FLY, doesn't that just mean whatever creativity he may have had left is up. I know you don't actually like his movies, but I do. I just recently saw DIRECTED BY WILLIAM WYLER, and like you said, the man looked completely healthy and full of life before he died.

P.S. So much for Brevity.

Dear Q:

Hollywood began to make films with realistic black characters in the 1950s. The breathrough films were "Home of the Brave" in 1949, starring James Edwards as a shell-shocked soldier, then "No Way Out" in 1950 with Sidney Poitier, Richard Widmark, Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee. Sidney Poitier then did "Cry, the Beloved Country" in South Africa in 1951, which is a very serious, believable film. Meanwhile, I liked a few of Herzog's films, like "Kasper Hauser," and I hear his nexr one, Grizzley Man," was good.

Josh

Name: Bob
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

Do you think the Democrats will ever again gain control of a branch of the government? I think that the demographical shift is against the Democrats, but more importantly I think that a lot of these elections are rigged... in favor of the Republicans. I really don't have any confidence in the electoral system in this country, and I'm not just talking Florida 2000 but the whole general thing. I think it is rigged in favor of people like Bush and it will remain that way.

On another note, have you seen or do you plan to see 'Downfall'? It was interesting, but I don't know... I guess the few survivors say it was fairly close to Hitler's personality and mannerisms.

I still think Judgment at Nuremberg dealt with the issue of Nazism on the most personal level of any other movie on the subject.

Dear Bob:

I'll see "Downfall" when it passes before me on my TiVo. I just watched "The Motorcycles Diaries," which Leonard Maltin inexplicably gives four stars. I'd be a tad hard-pressed to give it three, but it's certainly two and a half. But any director that makes the two blanket decisions -- it's all hand-held, and there are a lot of jump cuts -- hasn't given the direction much consideration. But it's an interesting little piece of history, and you do get to see a fair amount of South America.

Regarding the Democrats, it will swing back eventually, it always does.

Josh

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

Hi Josh,

I know what you mean about large crowds, people behave weirdly at big events. I'm pretty well known for being a bit of a hermit myself, I do have to challenge myself to get out sometimes. I read a quote from David Bowie once that he thought the gathering of large crowds of people was abnormal and that an individual in a crowd will behave much more recklessly than he/she otherwise would. It seems like common sense that large crowds should be scary and try to avoid them.

"Some Girls" was the first Stones album I owned, I was twelve when that album came out. I knew some of their other records from the radio and record collections of a couple of relatives. I believe I begged an Uncle to buy it for me. It wasn't until I had a disposable income at 16 and became interested in the whole history of recorded music that I really delved into their catalog and everyone else's catalog. "Some Girls" is great; I guess if you never heard a Stones album before, that wouldn't be a bad place to start.

Tom

Dear Tom:

My first two Rolling Stones records were "Let it Bleed" and "Sticky Fingers," which I daresay are their two best records. But I had already been intensely subjected to their earlier music by my older sister, and my first drug experience was while listening to "Their Satanic Majesty's Request," which holds a deep, special place in my heart.

Josh

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

Josh~

I hadn't noticed any mention on the forum regarding the passing of Robert Wise, who died Wednesday of heart failure, four days after his 91st birthday. I think he was one of the most tastefully restrained directors to have ever worked in Hollywood. As a fan of sci-fi films, his "Day the Earth Stood Still" and "The Andromeda Strain" are still two of only a handful of fully adult, intelligent films ever made in the genre.
Several questions I'd like to ask:
What's your favorite Wise-directed film? (Mine is "the Sand Pebbles", but I'm not a big fan of musicals.)
Have you seen "The Set-up"? It's said to be a prize fight drama filmed in 'real-time', so it would seem to be right up your alley.
In looking at his Academy award nominations, I noticed something that's always confused me, and you are the Academy Award expert, so maybe you can clarify. In 1961, another director nominated was Hiroshi Teshigahara for "Woman in the Dunes"; and in 1965, he was up against Fellini for "La Dolce Vita". How does the Academy decide if a foreign film will be nominated in the regular categories? Is it just totally random, or do they have to have an American studio associated with the U.S. release, or what?
Anyway, a toast to a great editor, producer & director. Wise was said to have been the last living crew member from "Citizen Kane", so the end of an era as well.

Dear Raoul:

Thanks for bringing it up. Yes, Robert Wise was a great, tasteful director. Undoubtedly, the films of his that had the greatest impact on me were "West Side Story" and "The Sound of Music," Wise's two Oscar-winners, and both seminal films in my world. But I also really like: "The Sand Pebbles," "The Set-Up" (which is a terrific B-picture), "The Day the Earth Stood Still," "Somebody Up There Likes Me," "Run Silent, Run Deep," "The Haunting," and "The Andromeda Strain." And of course he edited one of my very favorite films, "The Magnificent Ambersons" (and recut it at the studio's behest, causing Orson Welles to never spoke to him again). I met him a couple of times, too, and he was very nice and happy to answer any question. I asked him what he thought of "The Night Gallery" remake of his film "The Body Snatchers"? He looked horrified and said he didn't know they'd remade it. I told him they did a pretty good job, with Cornel Wilde in the Henry Daniell part. I asked him whose idea it was to begin "West Side Story" with the graphic of NYC changing color, and he replied, "I did." The helicopter openings of "West Side Story" and "The Sound of Music" are two of the all-time great openings for a movie. Goodbye Robert Wise, you were a master of your craft.

Josh

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

Josh-

Just a quick thing to make you smile... I saw a bumper sticker yesterday that said;

I love my country But I fear my government

Thought you'd like it, have a good one, Duffy

Dear Duffy:

Succinct.

Josh

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

Hello Josh,

You may find this very interesting. I found it quite funny at first to see what idiots these people are, however, when I really thought about it this collection of quotes is one the scariest thing I've ever read.

http://www.reandev.com/taliban/

Trey

Dear Trey:

After the first few quotes I got the idea and stopped. These are just many illustrations of my essay "Religion is Evil," and proof that being very religious means being very evil. But keep in mind that five-sixths of the world's population call themselves "religious." As Karl Marx said (and he was a Socialist, so he might not have been telling the truth), "Religion is the opiate of the masses." Most people need to believe in a fairytale to think that life has any meaning because they're actually just too lazy to look.

Josh

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

Josh,

"Channeling" refers to how a medium, or regular person, can be possessed by another spirit and communicate for them. I jokingly pointed out that Bruce was in a different state (angry) on that show and how he seemed to be repeating a lot of what you talk about. I've seen Bruce perform live 3 times and while he's always very frank about his opinions, he layers his talk with pranks and jokes.
I anticipated this appearance would be similar as the host, Craig Ferguson, has the same type of humor as he. (I think) Oh well.
Kim

Dear KimJ:

Apparently, Craig Ferguson was cutting Bruce off, which sounds annoying. I must say that talk shows completely don't interest me, unless it's "Inside the Actor's Studio," where someone gets to speak in-depth about their craft and career for an hour. I did one talk show, "Tonight With Jonathan Ross," which was England's equivilant of David Letterman or Jay Leno for a while there in the 1990s. They were broadcasting from L.A. during the Oscars, and I was on the show as a "movie expert." Also on that show were Jamie Lee Cutis and Dennis Leary, and I must confess that I was truly petrified. They had booked me on the show a few weeks earlier, then had called about a week before and canceled saying they were getting Ringo Starr instead of me. I was actually relieved and put it all out of my head. A week later I was sitting around my house with my buddy burning one, when the phone rang and it was the talent coordinator for "Tonight With Jonathan Ross." She asked if I was still available, and I said yes. She said, "Ringo just canceled, we'll send a car will be there to pick you up immediately." Immediately? Holy shit! I raced into the shower, shaved, dressed and the limo pulled up. The next thing I knew I was in the green room with Jamie Lee Curtis and Dennis Leary, then I was on giving my utterly incorrect Oscar predictions, then it was over.

Josh

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

Hi Josh,

Bruce seemed a bit agitated on the Late Late Show - Craig Ferguson was being a twit and interrupting him mid sentence a lot.

I know a lot of people who just can't stand to watch anything in B/W. I find Black & White films and photography quite beautiful myself and would like to see more films in that format. Your film 'Running Time" was nicely done.

Just a catch up - on an earlier post you told me to have a good time at the Rolling Stones concert in Chicago. It was fantastic; it was one of the best shows I've seen in a long time. Too bad you didn't get to see them in Detroit, you would have had a great time! I thought about for laugh buying you a shirt from the show and mailing it to you, but changed my mind for some reason. I'm sure you would have been confused!

Thanks,

Tom

Dear Tom:

Thanks for the thought, but I don't wear any clothing that says anything. The only way I would wear someone's t-shirt would be if they paid me for the advertising space. But I heard the Stones were great here in Detroit, too (my landlord saw them). I like the Rolling Stones very much, but I really don't want to be part of any big crowds anymore. I presently can't get enough of "Some Girls," which is loaded with terrific songs, like: "Miss You," "Beast of Burden," "Shattered," "When the Whip Comes Down" and "Imagination," among others.

Josh

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

Josh,

Again, I do not say that they are lying, but that they have a self-declared agenda which should not be divorced from their testimony by people reading their article (report).

As for brevity, I apologize, but you did ask me for evidence. You have every right to not post or to edit; I'll never take it personally.

Unless you want to continue a discussion, I'm game to let this one go; you've let me state my piece.

John

Dear John:

We can end the discussion after I get the last word -- everybody has their own agenda. Nobody is unbiased. Very obviously, the media in the USA has their own agenda, leaning clearly to the right. As Geraldo Rivera and Sheppard Smith both freaked out in New Orleans during the disaster, Sean Hannity kept trying to push his agenda saying shit like, "Oh, it's not that bad," and "I'm sure the authorities are doing everything they can." Is there a slant or an agenda behind that? Yes. Did the media bother to point out that Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11 when we went to war? No. Did anyone in the media refute Colin Powell's dishonest, dishonorable claims that Iraq had WMDs? No. Everybody's got their own agendas, as do you and I. So, saying someone has a self-declared agenda means nothing; it's the same as saying everyone has an asshole. Now we can drop it.

Josh

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

Josh~

You've spoken in the past about the importance of re-writes in creating a good script, and I was wondering about your thoughts on the idea of a 'script editor'. I just read an article interviewing several of the top comic book writer/artists on their use of editors. Although all of them admitted to using 'proofreaders' to check for typos/grammatical errors, several stated that they didn't want anyone else influencing their personal vision. No one addressed the idea that if you could make mistakes in spelling/grammar, you could probably make mistakes in characterization, plotting or other 'artistic' aspects. All of them, though, had a few people they showed their work to before publication, just to get feedback, even if they had no intention of using any suggestions. What are you're feelings on 'test readings' of scripts? For your soon to be published book, I assume you worked with an editor; did it compare to anything in scriptwiting?

Dear Raoul:

I've got a few folks whose opinions I trust, like Bruce. But if you're writing for someone else, then you must address their suggestions, whether you like it or not. I also like have my copy proofed for mistakes, and I don't mind rewording suggestions, either. This is what just happened with my book, and it was an exceptionally painless process.

Josh

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

Josh,

A couple of comments concerning the article you posted and "John Hunt's" reaction. First off, I listened to the author repeat that story on the radio a couple of days before. It's a harrowing story. John Hunt says that he didn't accuse the author of "lying" but he does in fact use the words "misinformation" and "propaganda". Those are indeed accusations of dishonesty and worse, in my opinion. Asking someone for outside references days after they escaped that town is ludricrous. It's a first-hand account of a disaster.
There are problems with those types of eyewitness stories, that is, the "big picture" is lost. Communication systems were down in that region and so the people caught up in the mess couldn't tell who to go to and what was happening. Some people went to cops assuming they were there to help, not realizing that many cops were deserting and couldn't/wouldn't help. Some people think that the National Guard was only shooting people and not involved in rescue. The list goes on. I almost don't care whether or not our "government" learns from Katrina, and only hope that the Americans do. BTW, I saw Bruce last night on The Late Late Show and swore he was channeling you. He even brought a "cheat sheet" of movies to complain about. I love him and agree with everything he said, but I wish he had been funnier.
Kim

Dear KimJ:

What do you mean, Bruce was channeling me? What kind of modern-speak is that? Meanwhile, if Katrina's done nothing else, it's got Bush acting contrite for the first time. I just wish someone would follow up on Bush's wanting to "take responsibility" and fire him.

Josh

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

Dear Josh,

I received the tape of "Hammer" and watched it last night. Since you asked, I liked it very much - not a big surprise, because I'd read and enjoyed the script: its theme, its approach to the time, as well as its use of irony. If there's one complaint, the actor who played Phil didn't really do justice to the character as written, or, at least, as I'd imagined him. He was a bit too broad. But the rest of the actors were great, particularly Lorraine, who managed to make her character sexy and earnest at the same time. All the café performances blew me away. The Four Feathers were spot on - if they ever decide to cut an album, my parents would be first in line for them. Uncanny. And the humor in the script was even much funnier on screen. I loved the craft, and the clean, unfussy direction you gave the film. It's extremely depressing that the movie didn't get the broad distribution it deserves. More people should see Hammer. It really is bursting with talent and based on an original, well-executed idea. So, a tip of the hat to your talent, your skill -- and to your stoicism and persistence.
Thanks,
Tim

Dear Tim:

Thanks. Others have had the same complaint of Brett Beardslee's performance, and I must admit that I forced him to be that broad. He wanted to play it lower-key, and I wouldn't let him. This was based on my apprehension about having a dunce as a lead character, whom I feared might become dull. So I pushed him to be funnier. It also rationalizes, for me anyway, his ability at the end to get up and be such a clown. If he were a lower-key guy I'm not sure I'd buy that scene, which I presently do. It's a give and take world.

Josh

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

Josh

I don't think John's point is that Socialists' are liars, simply that as an account of their survival, they might wish to push an agenda. But given how tainted the media is in presenting a partisan perspective, that's a null point. By all accounts, you're right--this isn't journalism, just a first-hand recollection--but I appreciate his points and both the thought and clarity that went into his arguments.

Meanwhile, I saw "The Village" the other night and am disgusted in a way I haven't been in a long, long time.

Dear Brett:

I actually sat through "The Village." I'd nominate M. Night Shyamalan as the Most Disappointing Filmmaker of the past ten years.

Josh

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

Josh-

I agree with you on black and white in film. I use b/w often with photography and there is a clearer more defined look to the pictures as far as I'm concerned. B/w is also more forgiving I think. I have seen a few examples of recent use of b/w in film and one in particular that was a mixture of both. Kill Bill Vol. 2 story wise was so-so but I liked what Terentino did with the colors. Especially when Kiddo was driving that little car and everything was b/w except the car which was this really pretty blue/green. On the other side I hate when they add technicolor to old b/w's. It really makes my eyes go funky but some people like it and the thing they did with Sin City's colors really made it difficult to watch. (not to mention the story!) SO I think not only do film makers have to write good stories, pick the right actors, shots and locations but it has to be visually pleasing as well. Do you agree?

Dear Duffy:

Absolutely. They also must deal with the juxtaposition of images and montage, or how those images flow together. As an example, if you watch Billy Wilder's movies, Wilder only cuts into close-ups when he really, really means it. So when he does cut to a close-up it really means something. But if you get close-ups in every scene, then it very quickly means nothing. In "Young Mr. Lincoln," John Ford has five increasing tighter cut-ins on Lincoln standing on his porch, and I've never seen any other director do that since. This stuff means something.

Josh

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

Dear Josh:

nothing is better than flipping through tv at 1 in the morning, accidently flipping to craig ferguson's late late show and bruce campbell showing up. there were 2 full segments with him and he went on some great rants about how all the "A" movies are now "B" movies, citing dukes of hazard ("i didn't like it when it was free"), and war of the worlds ("its been rehashed every fifty years"). he even threw in a bit about alien apocalypse.

hope you caught it josh. glad to hear that you guys have alot of the same view points on things.

the greatest bit though was about the remake of charlie and the chocolate factory.. ferguson commented that johhny depp was cool or something, and bruce came back with "he's scary! gene wilder was funny, johnny depp is scary. if i were a kid i'd run from johnny depp!"

he did a great job considering how all the late night hosts have to interrupt every guest they have on with silly snide remarks that really ruin the flow of things.

sorry about all the bruce stuff. please comment on the interview if you caught it and how many copies of hammer are left?

Dear dustin:

Sorry, didn't see it. But then, I spoke with the actual Bruce Campbell yesterday, who has completed his Bruce-A-Palooza National Tour. The culmination being the all-day Bruce-A-Thon on Sci Fi Saturday, and the premiere of "The Man With the Screaming Brain." He's making about as much stink as a B-actor can make. And now, if all goes well, we'll both veer off into slapstick comedy, where we started.

Josh

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

Josh,

I don't assert that Bradshaw and Konsky are lying; I said explicitly that their personal experiences were valid. What I object to, and the reason I think the article they write should be treated with extreme suspicion, is that they continually make assertions in their article which they have do not document or support. They have a pre-existing, self-declared interest (Classical Marxism, as stated in the mission statement of "Socialist Worker") in presenting a biased report. I assume that you, Josh, read the mission statement of "Socialist Worker". Bradshaw and Kronsky's experiences are not invalidated by their political background, but their analysis is serverely tainted by it.

Their problem is much the same as the Haliburton scandals of recent years; people with a vested interest in a particular story are a poor choice for "objective" reporting on that subject. There is an inherent conflict of interest, I believe, in Dick Cheney writing a report on the activities of Haliburton. Bradshaw and Kronsky, because of their self-professed radical political objectives, have the same conflict of interest.

An example from the text; Bradshaw and Kronsky declare that the police commander who had advised them to meet buses at the Pontchartrain Expressway had lied to them to get them to move. He may actually have done so, but they have no way of knowing that. He may have sincerely believed that the buses would be there. Many times we have heard about schedules, for buses and supplies, which were not met due to errors beyond the control of the first responders, i.e, bureaucratic blunders, inaccesible roads, etc. Yet Bradshaw and Klonsky state, as though with certainty, that they had been "lied to" by this commander. As I say, they may indeed have been, but they have no way of knowing that; they did not interview him on the issue, for example. It may be that he was simply mistaken, but Bradshaw and Kronsky do not allow for that possibility.

Bradshaw and Kronsky also assert that the sheriffs' officers who fired over the heads of the crowd refused to allow the crowd to cross the bridge because the crowd was Black; "... code words for: if you are poor and Black, you are not crossing the Mississippi River,..." Again, there may be some chance that the motive was racial, but, if it was, Bradshaw and Kronsky, again, would have no way of knowing it. By their own admission they had not, at the time they wrote their article, done any outside research on the situation. They had not conducted interviews or read memoranda. They hadn't watched the news. They do not even quote racial epithets from the officers. Yet they confidently ascribe racial motives to the sheriffs' officers actions.

It is not, therefore, an issue of lying, but an issue of spin for which I have concern. Cultural norms of objectivity can be widely varied, and any group, be they Republicans or Democrats or even Marxists can have extreme elements. The "Socialist Worker" is such an extreme idealogical sub-grouping. Both my undergraduate and graduate history studies focused on Socialist history and thought in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The perspective of "Socialist Worker" are discredited in the wider Socialist and, even more specifically, Marxist movement.

That, then, is my reasoning. I'm sorry if it is over-long, but I thought it important to give a clear reading of my position. I also know you value considered opinion. Thanks, as always,

John

Dear John:

To one and all, brevity is the soul of wit, let's try to be a bit more succinct. Everybody has their own bias. These are disaster survivors, and they're describing their ordeal, in their own way. It need not be put through rigorous jounalistic standards, like they didn't do any outside research, because it's not an article, it's a first-hand account by survivors. If you saw Sheppard Smith's report (there's a link here somewhere [webmaster: here you go, Josh -- http://www.crooksandliars.com/2005/09/02.html#a4763]), he was standing on that bridge watching as the Gretna Sherrif's deptartment was not allowing anyone out of New Orleans. When people are shooting over your head and yelling, "Get the fuck out of here!" just as a human being you're allowed to suppose why they're doing that. I find your entire perspective on this fallacious. In essence I believe you're saying, you can't trust Socialists to tell the truth. I think that has as much validity as blacks are lazy and Jews are greedy.

Josh

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

Josh,

Nobody here has as yet given much response to the link posted to "Socialist Worker". In the interest of fairness, I do think some context and critique should be given to the article.

The article has two aims; first, to describe the experiences of the authors and, second, to place those experiences in the context of their particular world view. As to the authors' actual experiences, there is no doubt that what they experienced was harrowing. Natural disasters are just that; disastrous. Misinformation in the immediate aftermath seems, by general consensus, to have been the order of the day.

The primary focus of the article, however, is not the descriptive element. Rather the focus is to place the authors' experience within their own world view, that of Classical Marxism. The authors are described in the article as active contributors to "Socialist Worker". That publication's mission statement is available on the same site which posts the article. "Socialist Worker" advocates the "revolutionary" overthrow of non-Marxist government, the dispossession of property from individuals (us) and communal ownership, expressed by local leadership committees, of the means of production.

Classical Marxism sees all conflicts as expressions of class, which means it is presumptive as to motive. Mr. Bradshaw and Ms. Slonsky, as Classical Marxists, are predisposed to see existing government as reflective of the upper classes and therefore oppressive and ineffectual. In their article, they repeatedly presume motive, whether selfless heroism (and "sheroism") on the part of the working class, or racism and classicism on the part of local law enforcement and civil officials. They do not, for example, cite operational orders for the sheriff's officers they encounter on the bridge. Rather, they ascribe racial and socioeconomic motives without offering even anecdotal reasons for such assumptions. In short, this is not "reporting" in the journalistic sense of the term. It is propaganda from a group whose self-professed agenda is the overthrow of the government and the establishment of a universal workers' collective.

There will, no doubt, be a great many stories and reports about the hardships, heroisms and failures in the aftermath of Katrina. Those will be important and we should pay attention to them. This article, however, does disservice to both the victims and the responders.

Thanks,
John

Dear John:

Are you saying that because they're Socialists then they must be lying? Have you got some evidence to prove that Socialists lie more often then Democrats or Republicans? Please share it with us.

Josh

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

Dear Josh,

I read your last post, and thank you for your point on the National Guard (we do try). From now on; brevity. Further, "more matter, less art" (I love quoting Shakespeare; the man invented the one-liner!). Speaking of the great bard of Avon, did you see the BBC version of "MacBeth," starring Sean Pertwee in the title role? I thought it was a weird cross of Shakespeare and "The Road Warrior," but the English actors carried it off, much better than Leonardo di Caprio in Baz Luhrman's attempt to modernize "Romeo and Juliet." What do you think?

Darryl [Exeunt]

Dear Darryl:

No, I didn't see it. For he most part, though, I don't like Shakespeare on film because it almost never functions dramatically. The 400-year-old stage conventions and long speeches simply don't translate to film. I'd say the best Shakespeare film adaptations so far are: Franco Zeffirelli's "Romeo and Juliet" (1968), Laurence Olivier's "Hamlet" (1948), Olivier's "Henry V" (1944), then probably Roman Polanski's "MacBeth" (1971).

Josh

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

Josh,

That was nice to post that article. However, I lost interest when the writer referred to heros and "sheros." Ridiculous.

Ben

Dear Ben:

Yo, dude, these people just survived a terrible disaster, cut them a little slack. Sheesh! I think it's an important perspective we need to know about, and I suggest that everybody read it.

Josh

Name:
E-mail:

Dear Josh,

Thanks for helping me to broaden my musical library in whereas Van Morrison is concerned. I must admit I hadn't heard all of the songs you included in your Best of list, but am happy to say that I now have heard them. I especially find myself partial to Tupelo Honey. Wow, what a beautiful love song. In your new book are you going to have information about screen writing? I must admit the two areas of movies that most fascinate me are the writing and acting. Direction is interesting to me, but only in that of the dramatic direction. I have now gotten the chance to see at least two of your movies, "Thou Shalt Not Kill...Except" and "Running Time", kudos to you on doing such a good job on the stories of both movies. I can't wait for my copy of "If I had a Hammer", as I am certain I will thoroughly enjoy it too.

Sincerely,
Beth

Dear Beth:

The tape was mailed and should arrive son. Yes, "Tupelo Honey" is beautiful song, and the lyric goes through my mind regularly -- "You can take all the tea in China/ Put it in a big brown bag for me/ Sail it right around all the seven oceans/ And drop it straight into the deep blue sea." And also yes, the entire first third of my book is about screenwriting.

Josh

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

Dear Josh:

There's really a list of what tier you're on in Hollywood as far A, B, C, etc goes? Jesus Christ. You should be on B. You're work on Alien Apocalypse and Xena alone should merit a B ranking. That really sucks.

Dear Jeremy:

It's in regard to what talent you can attract, and what sized-budget you can be trusted with. Truly, directing TV stuff, let alone non-network and cable stuff, won't get you anywhere onto that list. The list is by and for agents when they're trying to put deals together. As an example, Fred Schepisi, who's an Australian, is an A-list director (his most recent film was "Empire Falls" for HBO, but he also directed "Six Degrees of Separation," "A Cry in the Dark," "The Russia House," etc.). It's not like Mr. Schepisi has made many hit films -- with the exception of Steve Martin's film "Roxanne" -- but any actor in the world will work with him, so you can stick him into any deal. And clearly, he'll always deliver a top-quality product. You can trust him, he generally gets good reviews, and most actors will agree to make the film if he's directing. That's an A-list director.

Josh

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

Josh- watched Running Time the other night-and for those wondering where to get it I rented it from Blockbuster online it wasn't that difficult to find so get it!- At first when I saw it was black and white I went "hmm" but once I got into the film it seemed like I didn't even notice anymore isn't that weird? Okay let me say I liked it alot and thought it was fantastically done but two things...1. boy did it ever make me squirm seeing Bruce "get it on" I know it was key to the plot but it was like catching your brother in the act or something and 2. was I ever pissed when Bruce (Carl) drove off from Janie's! I was like "you little pecker!" and then...well I don't want to give it away but I got choked up that's all I'm saying. Well done. Great casting (I wanted to kick that junkie's butt), great camera work, all around great film. Bravo Senor Becker. Oh yeah and a little nod to Bruce as well for that acting thing he likes to do (hee hee)

Dear Duffy:

Thanks, I'm glad you enjoyed it. Meanwhile, I don't know what people's problem is with black & white, I just love it. There's a far greater chance that the film will look good if it's in B&W. Color is much more difficult to make look special in any way.

Josh

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

Dear Josh:

Who says politics is dirty? And is it just me, or does Allbaugh look like Hitler on acid?

http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2005-09-10-katrina-contracts_x.htm

It's amazing that there isn't much of an outcry about this sort of thing. The best this writer can get for a 2nd opinion is:

"The government has got to stop stacking senior positions with people who are repeatedly cashing in on the public trust in order to further private commercial interests," said Danielle Brian, executive director of the Project on Government Oversight.

Is that a slap on the wrist or what?

Dear Jim:

As I've mentioned several times before, during WWII Dick Cheney's war profiteering, and now disaster profiteering, would have landed him in jail by the Truman War Profiteering Committee. But apparently we don't have to live up to those standards anymore.

Josh

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

Josh,

I just watched "A face in the Crowd" today and I am happy to say that it was released on DVD.

It is such an excellent film and I watched the Interview section on the special features.

The film did poorly when it was released, but now it is considered a classic.

I think like most films that are ahead of their time, this one really foreshadows the future of what Television and celebrity have become in this day and age.

It really wasn't very much different then from now, but now we have taken it steps beyond.'

What always amazes me about that film is Andy Griffith's performance; it is like Fred MacMurray's performance in "Double Indemnity". You take these American television icons before they were icons and they do these great dramatic roles.

Anyhow, I also watched "Harold & Maude" as well and I haven't seen that film in years. I have always liked Hal Ashby, and I wonder if he hadn't died so young, what films he would have made.

Nobody really mentioned this too much, but I think that "Forrest Gump's" basic premise is the same as the basic premise of "Being There", but on a much bigger scale, although, I think "Being There" is a much better film, and I have a friend who went to see "Forrest Gump" like five times and then I told him to watch "Being There" and he just didn't get the parallel.


Is it just me or don't you feel the same about these films?

Scott

Dear Scott:

No, I don't feel the same about both of those films. I think that "Being There" is a much better film that actually knows what it's saying, whereas "Forrest Gump" is a stupid piece of crap. They're so gutless in "Gump" that at the moment when he should have explained himself, at the peace rally in Washington, he steps up to the microphone and it goes dead. The woman I was with just stood up and walked out, which I found shocking. The headline of the NY Times review of "Gump" was "A celebration of idiocy," which is succinct. But "Being There," as far as I'm concerned, is severely flawed in that the character is supposed to be maybe 30 and Peter Sellers is at least 50, so it makes no sense, he's not a child of the TV age. Wondering what Hal Ashby would have done had he not died is a waste of time, beside those last several films he made, like "Lookin' to Get Out" and "Second Hand Hearts," were truly hammered shit. I think Hal got while the gettin' was good. And "A Face in the Crowd" is great. Andy Griffith couldn't be any better. When he meets 18-year-old Lee Remick as a baton-twirler (to his song, "Mama Guitar"), I think it's stupendous.

Josh

Name: David Goulard
E-mail: Davidecscifi16@yahoo.com

Dear Josh:

Is it hard to direct films? How did you get to meet Bruce Campbell?

Dear David:

I was very, very lucky. Bruce was seated behind me in 7th grade study hall, and we were both in the drama club, and we were both in the play "The Lottery." His locker was also just a few down from me, since they were alphabetical.

Josh

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

Dear Josh,

I was just wondering if any sort of picture or link to a picture came through last time I wrote.

Beth

Dear Beth:

Yes, it was a photo of you having something signed by Bruce Campbell.

Josh

Good Folks,

Josh asked me to post a link to this story from two survivors of Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath in New Orleans, here on the Q&A page for you all to read. http://www.socialistworker.org/2005-2/556/556_04_RealHeroes.shtml

- webmissus Shirley

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

<<I'm doing research on old Hollywood, and came across this photo of the men who founded Famous Players-Lasky, which became Paramount Pictures. From left to right: Jesse Lasky, Adolph Zukor, Sam Goldwyn, Cecil B. DeMille, and Albert Kaufman, and notice how all of them are smoking.>>

I don't know if this is any use to you or not but I found Catherine Wyler's email:

cwyler@aol.com

I bet she could probably tell you things about old hollywood... if she were interested. She said her favorite Wyler film is BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES.

Dear Q:

In regard to what I'm researching, Catherine Wyler wasn't born yet. I'm working on the very earliest history of Hollywood, from 1907 through the teens and twenties. I'm tracing the earliest history of the Hollywood studios.

Josh

Name: Tim
E-mail: nansemondnative@wmconnect.com

Josh,

I just wanted to share a few comments about your film "If I Had a Hammer".

Josh I think this is an awesome film.

The main point may be about the passing of an age and the ushering in of a new one but there are so many other things about the movie that are appealing.

I think it accurately portrays both the naivity and the passion of the 60's. It has a certain kind of "Jones next door" feel to it.

Pot was a no-no but I think damn near every character in that movie was smoking a cigarette. It seemed like pot was reserved for the beatnik crowd that was still hanging on.Everybody for the most part was clean-cut.

It was a rite of passage so to speak for the young female lead who was so passionate about freeing the wrongly imprisoned blacks only to find that nobody gave a damn. When faced with that reality , though we do not see it, we have to assume she might have become cynical after that. The poor thing had to dump out 5 pounds of potato salad.

I thought you also had a good mix of charaacters in there who also represented different facets of 60's society.I found every act appealing and they were beautifully shot. I thought the sleazy club owner was value added as well. Who could blame him for trying though. She was a hottie. He just added to the overall realism of the story.

The most hilarious part was when old boy there got up on stage stoned and accidentally hits the microphone and gets the feedback. The lightbulb just went off! (mental flashback to the beginning of the movie in his bedroom) He then proceeds to put the mic in his acoustic and does his completely crazy Elvis/Chuck Berry version of the song. Me and the old lady laughed our asses off at that Josh.

Why this film never got picked up is beyond me.I suppose if you had Tom Cruise in there and then Meg Ryan playing the young passionate socialite it would have made you millions.

Personally, I liked the fresh faces you brought to the screen and I liked the story too.

Josh, you may not be on any ABC list but this film clearly shows your evolution from "Thou Shall Not Kill" to now.It was beautifully shot and it absolutely tells a story. A story within a story even.

For anyone to even suggest that you are not a high-quality director is a load of shit.

On your gravestone there will be no mention of your credit score, the bills you left behind, and whether or not you were on the ABC list of directors. So, in the final grand scheme of things I do not see where it makes a difference except possibly in the minds of those individuals who come up with the list.

You've spent your life in the medium and made sacrifices some of these folks could not imagine to make your scripts a reality on film.

Without getting to goo-goo here you are fucking "A-List" in my perceptions of what you have accomplished.

Have a good one!

Tim

Dear Tim:

Thanks, I'm very pleased you liked it. Regarding smoking cigarettes, it really seemed like most everybody used to smoke. I'm doing research on old Hollywood, and came across this photo of the men who founded Famous Players-Lasky, which became Paramount Pictures. From left to right: Jesse Lasky, Adolph Zukor, Sam Goldwyn, Cecil B. DeMille, and Albert Kaufman, and notice how all of them are smoking.

Josh

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

Josh,

I thought you might find this interesting. The September 3 edition of "Science News" describes a study by Dr. Karan Omidvari, et. al. Dr Omidvari and his team reviewed 447 movies made during the 1990's. They tracked the portrayal of smokers in those movies and found the following:

48% of smokers depicted were lower-range socioeconomic, 23% middle class and 11% upper class, numbers not reflected in the real US population. 21% of protagonists were smokers while 36% of antagonists smoked. Smoking was depicted in "R"-rated and "Independent" films at higher prevalence than in the actual US population. Dr Omidvari's conclusion was that movies tend to portray smokers "unsympathetically". I think that says a lot about perceptions and expectations in the movie biz.

On a completely different note, I was watching "The Naughty Nineties" this evening and spotted Ben Johnson as the cabbie as Bud and Lou pull in front of "The Gilded Cage" casino in Saint Louis. He was on-screen for all of three seconds and had no lines but it was him without a doubt. I know he worked as a wrangler for years.

I was also struck by the number of African-Americans in the film. No major roles, of course, but African-Americans were everywhere in the film; on the boat, in the streets, as performers. I've noticed that before in Abbott and Costello films and wondered if I was just reading significance into happenstance. Do you know if there was some sort of studio policy? There seem to have been a fair number of African-American Vaudeville acts in Abbott and Costello's movies, at least those from the Forties. Was it, perhaps, budgetary? Thanks,

John

Dear John:

I think people who do studies like that have too much time on their hands. Ben Johnson was champion rodeo rider, and was also a stunt man and a stunt rider. Even in "Kid Blue" in 1973, which I just saw, Ben Johnson, who was 55 at the time, comes riding up fast on his horse and jumps off like it was nothing. John Ford gave him many of his early roles (like in "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon" and "Wagonmaster"), although an important early part was in "Mighty Joe Young." As for A&C working with black actors, I don't know what that was about, although they did make the somewhat notorious film, "Africa Screams, which was banned for quite some time due to its depiction of the African natives. I saw it quite a few years ago and it seemed like a big nothing. I must admit, I'm not an A&C fan, who really seemed like lame knock-offs of the Three Stooges.

Josh

Name: Roger Orr
E-mail: inkblotusa2000@yahoo.com

Dear Josh:

You probably hear this all the time but I am working on an 80s style horror movie screenplay and I'm very serious about but I kind of hit a rut and I just wanted a professional opinion on it to see if it was worth pursuing or not could you give me your opinion on it that is all I ask

Dear Roger:

Explain your problem and I'll try to answer it. But no, I won't read your script.

Josh

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

Dear Josh,

I've noticed through some of your nonfiction writing a certain level of self-loathing. You also seem to be-moan your lack of ability to talk with women. I must admit this baffles me. I find you attractive and through writing you come across as a sensitive and very intelligent person, both qualities being very attractive.

I'm going to try and send a picture along. I don't know about you, but I like knowing what the person I'm talking to looks like.

Cheers,
Beth

Dear Beth:

That's called growing up. I believe I've gotten over both of those issues. The problem with being a writer is that you then have a record of who you were throughout the years, because whoever you were at the time you wrote something, it comes through. But as I've reached 47 years old I now think I'm the best Josh Becker I can be, which may not be all that much, but it's the best I can do. Thanks for the encouragement.

Josh


BACK TO Main Archive Page

BACK TO Current Q&A




Click Here To Submit Your Questions or Comments



BECKERFILMS SITE MENU

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

This site is the property of Josh Becker Copyright © 2005 Panoramic Pictures, All Rights Reserved.
Panoramic Pictures Logo