Q & A    Archive
Page 153

Name:              Jeannette Aracri
E-mail:             jdlauffs@yahoo.com

Dear Josh,

I have a really good book for you to read "When prayers aren't answered" but you probably will not do it, as that might come too close to something spirital. Not all people that believe in God are nuts you know. But I won't hold it against you for calling me one.
Have a great day.

Dear Jeannette:

Five-sixths of the world's population believes in a god of one sort or another, and I don't think they're all nuts.  Just lazy, and easily led, like sheep.  God is a desperate cry for meaning.  Religion is simply an aspect of the herd instinct.

Josh

Name:              Lee Price
E-mail:             lee.price@gcapmedia.com

Hi Josh

This may be a big ask but here's a link to a short (ish) film I made for £50 on mini dv. It's called Camping. I agree with your and Frank Capra - what people want to see are people (on the screen). I hope you enjoy this story of two mis-matched stepbrothers, shot over a few weekends with some friends. I take the principles of story coming from character to heart. Here's the link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pus_7bO27hE

Thanks

Lee

Dear Lee:

I thought the film was well-performed, and nicely shot, but it seemed like a little hunk of a Mike Leigh picture, with no real beginning or end.  Just because a film is 9 minutes long doesn't mean it can't have a beginning, middle and end.  Or is there more to come?  The bottom line, ultimately, is to tell a story that seemingly needs to be told, a story that I want to see. Your need to make a movie, or anyone else's need, is of no importance to the viewer.  It being about people is important, but telling a good story is more important.  It's your duty to make me care about this tale, and these people.  I think you've got a fair amount of the aspects of a good movie right, and the acting was good, it's the writing you need to work on.

Josh

Name:              Kelly Stone
E-mail:             moxynixy@hotmail.com
Dear Josh:         

How I ended up on your site, who Knows?  But I take exception with what I read.  First of all there was no Sal, there was Sammy and he didn't smoke, he didn't do much but run errands (pick up money), tote bet slips, hang out out the news stand and act tough (which he was not).  Pete had the Sho bar at 228 Bourbon and Pas had the Jazz Corner at 1218 Canal.  Tony Vitale was the HNIC at Lefant's and Frank Caracci, Joe Nuccio, Duke Dugas, Raleigh Vietor, Larry DiMingo, and a guy called "the creeper" (can't remember his name) were the go to guys on one side (buffers, I guess, what the hell do I know.  I was 25 and was along for the ride).  L. J. Delsa and Bobby Buras (Lee's nephew) NOPD cops were the other side, both good guys, they went along with the program but were both square shooters, LJ I'm sure, Bobby; I don't really know, he was a follower, not a leader.  Major Meyerheffer (sp) ran the street (Bourbon) and Guriesso (sp) was the NOPD HNIC.  Jimmy D'Arcy had a place across the street from NOPD Hdqtrs) and Jimmy had a place further down Canal (the bus drivers bar).  Little Joe had a furniture store across the river and was (and still is a pussy< never made his bones).  He always had a boner at the Playboy Club over the oyster bar (Felix's) as I recall.  He played golf and chased skirts, he was better at golf.  I had a crush on Flo (Florence) for at least two years before I realized we were both chasing pussy.  Dinner at the Little Man's was to be avoided but eating at sister Rosa's was enjoyable.  She would saute green peppers, clean the inside and stuff them with crayfish or shrimps, roll them in corn meal and flour, and lightly fry in olive oil.  Oh God, to die for!  Mosca's eat your heart out.  Enough.  Thanks for the memories.  Marco!  Another Zazarac over here.  Over forty years ago, such at time.  I left, went to Vegas, worked for Mario Marino and crew, did my time and retired.  Thabks again for the memories.

Dear Kelly:

First of all, I assume you're referring to my script, "Head Shot: The True Story of JFK's Assassination."  You started off taking exception, then seemed to end on fond memories.  Ah, the good old days when Kennedy got shot.

Josh

Name:              Dominic Salvador
E-mail:             DomTown@charter.net

Dear Josh:         

I just wanted to give thanks for answering my question. I figured that you would have places to rent off the top of your head (causing little to none inconvenience). But no way man, You went above and beyond to actually "Google it". That my friend is cigarette after sex (i.e the little things that bring enjoyment). Much appreciation and thank you sir. Stay Cool!

Dear Dominic:

Not a problem.  I almost rented from Henry Joy once, but the film didn't happen.  He seems to have every kind of camera there is, and everything to go with them, too.

Josh

Name:              Dean
E-mail:

Dear Josh:          

It's as though pure consumerism has replaced intellectual curiosity, and apparently even the desire to see or experience sophisticated art.  The fact that "The Bridge on the River Kwai" and "Lawrence of Arabia" were the biggest moneymakers of their respective years shows you just how far we've descended, right down to this year, where the big films are "Spider Man III," "Pirates of the Caribbean III" and "Shrek III."  Were they the first films of each of these franchises, it would still be a giant, huge, enormous step down, but all of them IIIs?  We've moved to the extreme opposite end away from wanting to see original, intelligent entertainment.


Josh, in regards to the conversation concerning why we do not have a new Kubrick or Lean, I believe it is  nothing to do with consumerism, or even anything to do with Television, I think it is apathy pure and simple, to be Kubrick takes a lot of effort, I am sure he himself wished he wasn't Kubrick a lot of the time, it involves working to be great and working is too much effort it seems ( I say this not as an old man but as a relatively young 25 year old, so it is not some aged' lament ).

I doubt I will every reach the echelon of Kubricks talents with any of the movies I try to make ( as you know its a hard slog getting anything made ), but I am at least going to try and say something I believe in and try and provoke thought with my stuff, even if it comes out as insipid dreck "At least I tried, at least I did that much".

People can't be bothered to be Kubrick because it is hard.

Thats my "Ten Cents".

Also as an aside, is it possible to shoot reverse motion on a single perf 16mm camera ?

Dear Dean:

Turn the camera upside down, then the head's the tail.  And just because one wants to be the next Kubrick doesn't mean one actually has it in them to be great, or even good.  Just wanting it isn't enough, there's more to it than that, there's talent.  There's also having an original perspective, a unique point of view.  As good old Laurence Olivier once said, "You think you're an artist, prove it."  You look at a film like Olivier's 1948 "Hamlet," winner of Best Picture that year, which he directed, starred in, adapted and produced, and he's *really, really* trying.  This is not a half-assed effort in any way; it's the real thing, a truly full-fledged effort.  Creating great art entails great effort, combined with having refined, discerning taste.

Josh

Name:              Tim
E-mail:             NansemondNative

Josh,

According to Al Gore, the "stupid gas" you refer to could very well be a mixture of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and other noxious gases constantly being released into our atmosphere by automobiles and manufacturing facilities.

Could we all be suffering from some type of carbon emissions poisoning?

Could be I guess but I still prefer to subscribe to your original view which is that the decline of our society is reflecting itself in the arts.

People are simply out of touch with themselves and each other.I tend to think that television has installed a lot of false reality into the minds of many and people do not know how to escape and they may not want to. I count myself as one of those prisoners.I consider myself only very slightly free.

My conspiracy theory states that we have been programmed to follow and not lead and therefore ultimately destined to fail. Very negative I know but what the hell. It is not my "world view" but it is floating around between my ears on occasion.

You pose that very interesting question though...What is truly preventing the next Kubrick or Ford from coming forward and expanding our conciousness on a astoundingly intellectual level?

Fuck if I know Josh.

It might be worth contemplating over a piece of grilled chicken and a nice glass of chilled sweet wine.

Tim

Dear Tim:

It's as though pure consumerism has replaced intellectual curiosity, and apparently even the desire to see or experience sophisticated art.  The fact that "The Bridge on the River Kwai" and "Lawrence of Arabia" were the biggest moneymakers of their respective years shows you just how far we've descended, right down to this year, where the big films are "Spider Man III," "Pirates of the Caribbean III" and "Shrek III."  Were they the first films of each of these franchises, it would still be a giant, huge, enormous step down, but all of them IIIs?  We've moved to the extreme opposite end away from wanting to see original, intelligent entertainment.

Josh

Name:              Dominic Salvador
E-mail:             DomTown@charter.net

Josh,

I really Appreciate your book. I feel I paid 17.95 plus shipping for what would have cost me far more at a film school, and probably taught me more (except the hands on experience). Plain and simple YOU ARE MY MENTOR. Thank you sir for such a fine example of informative literature. Ass kissing aside, Where in Michigan do you recommend renting cheap equipment? Once again thank you sir!

Dear Domonic:

I'm very pleased you enjoyed the book.  Meanwhile, I put "Motion Picture Camera Rentals Michigan" into the search engine, and got several choices back.  But there's Henry Joy in Harbor Springs, whom I've spoken with but never rented from, who has everything.

Henry Bourne Joy IV
7156 Rolling Meadow Trail
Harbor Springs, Michigan 49740

Mobile: (231) 881-9798
Studio/Fax: (231) 347-8690
Email: joyiv@aol.com

Good luck,

Josh

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

Hey Josh,

Long time no post. Hope you're doing well.

I just read your review of "Sideways" and I wanted to say that I couldn't agree more. I have a group of friends who deeply love and cherish that film, and when I tell them my opinion (number one: I didn't want to hang out with these guys for ten minutes, let alone two hours), I am met with scorn and ridicule. Obviously I didn't "get it." As someone who has watched literally thousands of films, I "got it." And watching Paul Giamatti (whom I used to admire around the "Safe Men" days) fall into a caricature of himself, was sad.

I'm  waiting for that Magic Hollywood Moment when someone who looks like Paul Giamatti or Camryn Manheim gets to be in a love story that's romantic and not 'quirky' or ironic. I want a dose of what it's actually like to live in this country. People eat, smoke, drink, fall in love, have sex, do drugs, have kids without getting married, and have affairs--without any repercussions. People have romantic dinners and dancing moments under the stars without plastic surgery and veneers and $1000 dresses. I was watching "Marty" the other day and thought--this would never get made now--the girl would be played by Cameron Diaz in glasses, and Marty would be portrayed by Ben Affleck in a fat suit. "I wanted TV ugly, not 'ugly' ugly...."

It's good to see you're still here, sounding the voice of reason in a world of sycophant reviewers who get excited if something doesn't suck. We demand more of cinema. I don't want it to simply 'not suck,' I want it to be excellent--and "Sideways" was not excellent. It broke my number one rule of cinema: I have to want to watch it.

Take care,

Cindy

Dear Cindy:

Good to hear from you.  Even at the time in 1955 (not that I was there, mind you) there was talk that Betsy Blair was too pretty for teacher role in "Marty," although I think she's just fine.  She was married to Gene Kelly, BTW.  Another perfect example is the play "Frankie and Johnnie in the Claire de Lune," the love story of two overweight, unattractive people, which starred Kathy Bates and Kenneth Walsh on stage, then ended up with Michelle Pfeiffer and Al Pacino in the movie.  I know when I read "overweight and unattractive" I immediately think of Michelle Pfeiffer.  In the recent "Stardust" you had Pfeiffer as the witch and the ever-so-plain Claire Daines as the prettiest girl in the world.

Meanwhile, what's not to get in "Sideways"?  Is someone possibly intimating that there are any levels of subtext in that dumb movie?  To me it seemed like truly half-assed screenwriting (quick, give him an Oscar).  And speaking of dumb screenplays, I just saw Clint Eastwood's "Flags of Our Fathers."  The whole movie intercuts bewteen soldiers fighting on Iwo Jima, and three of the guys who hoisted the flag touring America raising money for war bonds because the war's not over yet.  So these three soldiers piss and moan and cry about having to make these appearances before thousands of cheering people at baseball stadiums.  The entire movie I kept wondering, "So what do they want me to think?"  Finally, at the very end we are told in voice-over narration, "There are no heroes."  Really?  Bullshit.  Every single one of those soldiers who fought were heroes, and as we clearly see a soldier like the one played by Barry Pepper is really and truly a hero, he just didn't make it.  I mean, would you rather have 10,000 people cheering for you, or have your ass shot off on Iwo Jima?  I don't see the issue.

Josh

Name:              Jim
E-mail:             j.efilm@aol.com

Josh, is Hollywood on its last legs?

Dear Jim:

Hollywood film and TV production, when not on strike, generates billions of dollars in revenue every year.  Why would you think it's dying, and what do you think would replace it?

Josh

Name:              David R.
E-mail:

Dear Josh:         

Have you read Kirk Douglas' autobiography "The Ragman's Son" or his short but terrific memoir "My Stroke of Luck"? I had the good fortune to be introduced to the latter recently and was really struck by his frankness, guts, and candor. Here is a man once so strong, so capable that he could do (and DID) basically anything he wanted. After his stroke, his world was turned upside down, and it's compelling to read about. Before the stroke that paralyzed part of his face and took away his ability to speak, Kirk dismissed depression out-right as a weakness of character. After the stroke he could no longer speak intelligibly for many months. He went into a deep depression. But he battled back to speak again, walk again, even ACT again. After his stroke he saw the world in an entirely new light, and, thanks to him, I did too. What a great book.

Dear David:

Yes, I read both books, and enjoyed both of them.  I'm a Kirk Douglas Fan. I saw a cool documentary recently on HBO about Kirk and Michael.  It told both of their stories, but also got the two of them together to discuss their relationship, and Michael asked Kirk a few difficult questions.  I love the fact that in the Douglas family in Michael's youth the family song was "A Whale of a Tale," the song Kirk sings in "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea."  As far as movie star autobiographies go, I'd say that "The Ragman's Son" is one of the best.  Since we're on the subject, a few other movie star biographies I enjoyed were: "Swanson On Swanson" by Gloria Swanson, "Cagney By Cagney" by James Cagney, and "The Original Sin" by Anthony Quinn.  I recently read Jerry Lewis's book, "Dean and Me," and that was good, too.

Josh

Name:              Mike
E-mail:             reverendweathers@hotmail.com

Dear Josh,

What's your favorite John Candy Film?
Do you like Laurel & Hardy?
You seem like you would like George Carlin - do you?
If you were to vote for one of the Democrats in the '08 election, who would it be and why?
Which 'Man Who Knew Too Much' do you prefer? I enjoyed Hitch's original more.

Thanks,
Mike

Dear Mike:

"Splash;" not really; yes; Obama, because he didn't vote for the war; both, but the first one more.

Josh

Name:              Bob Maplethorp
E-mail:             bbmpms@gmail.com

Dear Josh:         

Check this out:

"I worked on the crew and never received a single dime from them. I have to wait for IATSE to sue them so I can get paid. Scott was not the director, he may be in title but Mars was the gun toting director. I never saw Scott do much of anything. Seemed like a nice enough man but he is the director in title only. That show was one of the worst of my career. Not quite the worst, even though I was never paid. I found the producers to be amateurs at best, fools really. Beware of Big Sky Productions!!!! I will never work for any production that has any of those jokers attached to it!"

This was recently posted on imdb regarding Scott Spiegel's $18 million dollar movie (fiasco). The word on the street is that this movie won't even make it to DTV.

Are you surprised?

Dear Bob:

No, I'm not surprised.  But Scott and I have known each other for a very long time, since 1970, when we were both in 7th grade (along with Bruce Campbell).  Scott and I were good buddies, as well as writing and producing partners, from 1980 to 1987.  We have a lot of history and I don't wish him ill.  But I've also never thought of him as a director.  He really should have been a gag man for Hal Roach or Mack Sennett.  Scott made me laugh many, many times.  He'd sit there quietly at his desk for an hour, then suddenly blurt, "Who's the poorest man in the world?"  I'd ask, "Who?" Scott would answer, "Jean-Paul Ghetto."

Josh

Name:              Dave
E-mail:             ifnilms@concentric.net

Hey Josh. I was a little put off by some of your anti-dv comments until I saw a clip from an old, cheapie 16mm feature by John Waters. The movie was shot over thirty years ago for an extremely small amount of money, but the colors look unbelievably vibrant.

I realize it was shot on a 16mm negative stock that is probably no longer made, but would you mind looking at the brief clip below and telling me how one would go about getting such a colorful look today?  The distributor who released the dvd must have boosted the quality of the images somehow.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FHHeGcD6o_E&feature=related

Thanks.

Dear Dave:

That's my favorite John Waters' film, "Female Trouble."  It's not like it's particularly well-shot 16mm, although it was a big step up from "Pink Flamingoes."  You can shoot almost any 16mm stock made now, and if you light it well it will look better than that.  As I've pointed out on a number of occasions, as new digital technologies occur, like high-def right now, you can always go back to your film negative and make a new transfer that will look as good as anything going at this time.  If Waters had shot on video tape, which was certainly available at that time, it would look like shit, and a high-def transfer would just make it look worse.  In a few years high-def will be outmoded, and everything shot in high-def will basically be worthless.  But we'll still be able to go back to the film negative of "Birth of a Nation," made in 1915, and it'll look great on whatever new technology exists.

Josh

Name:              Tim
E-mail:             NansemondNative

Josh,

I think you might enjoy parts of "Tol'Able David". I'm not so sure you would enjoy it all. Still worth the look though if you get the chance.

Another good one,that I just saw, is "Summer of '42" directed by Robert Mulligan.I found Jennifer O'Neill's performance haunting in some respects.

I also have started reading the book you recommended to another called Myths to Live By. It is truly an interesting book and it is somewhat linking up to a documentary I saw called "The Real Eve".

Who the hell will ever know all of the answers but it does make a lot of sense that all of us started in Africa and made our way out over thousands and thousands of years. It even implies that at one period in history there were only a few thousand of us and that we almost died out. A huge volcanic eruption, Toba, was cited as being the cause of our decline.

So we went from a few thousand to 6 and a half billion.

That's something else isn't it Josh?

Tim

Dear Tim:

I love the fact that right near the end of Joseph Campbell's life, when they were showing the PBS series based on his books with Bill Moyers, the orthodox Jews pitched a hairy fit because Campbell said that the bible is nothing more than mythology.  I am reminded of the wonderful definition by Ambrose Bierce in "The Devil's Dictionary" regarding "Scriptures -- The sacred books of our holy religion, as distinguished from the false and profane writings on which all other faiths are based."

Meanwhile, there were only 3 billion people on the planet when I was born, and now there's 6 1/2 billion.  So, shouldn't there now be two Alfred Hitchcocks, two John Fords, two William Wylers, etc.?  Instead we get none. It's as though there were a stupid gas that's engulfed our planet in the past 50 years.

Josh

Name:              JohnQAnybody
E-mail:

Dear Josh:         

See. Case in Point.

I used a wrong qualifier and it made me look like the butthole that I am. No sweat. I picked up that I need to proof my own proofing.

I stated up front that I make mistakes all the time but I expect mostly excellence when translating ideas into sentences and paragraphs.

I guess I see your point though.I was just wondering if the people that write in with these inaccuracies also submit their scripts in the same fashion.

Does it matter? No. It is just a part of my curious, in everybody's business but still tries to help type personality.

Jeremy Milks? This is the same kid that wrote in all the time with the Spiderman and Superman questions? You told him a hundred times that you didn't give a damn about superheroes. That particular idea could not penetrate his hair to get through to his brain. You stated something to the effect of fuck Superman up the ass with a kryptonite flag pole. I personally thought that your response was the funniest damn thing I had ever read on the site.

Josh! You seriously are DA MAN!!!

JohnQAnybody

Dear JohnQ:

Did I say that about Superman?  I guess I am pretty funny.  You made the same mistake again, by the way.  In your third paragraph you say, "I was just wondering if the people that write in . . ."  That ought to be, "the people who write in."  I seriously believe that the biggest issue in movies these days, aside from all of the painfully unoriginal sequels and remakes, is simply plain old bad writing.  I am constantly watching movies and thinking to myself, "What are they trying to tell me?" and in almost every case, I don't think the writers or the directors have a clue of what's the point of the story they're telling.  As an example, I just watched "Flags of Our Fathers," and for the entire film I didn't have the slightest idea what the point was.  Finally, at the very end they tell you the point -- there are no heroes -- and I don't buy it.  Yes, there are heroes.  Some people just have more guts than other people.  But to have these three soldiers pissing and moaning the whole film about selling war bonds, when instead they'd be getting their asses shot off on some little shithole of an island in Pacific, doesn't seem all that bad.  Not to mention that we really did need to sell war bonds.  So, to me grammer and punctuation aren't the issues in bad writing, it's not knowing what point you're making.

Josh

Name:              anonymous
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

why are you using this "educational" forum to push all your bias beliefs and not even try and educate? worst of all, now you're trying to get money out of everyone here by selling things! this is the biggest example of hypocracy. a long time ago there was a kid who used to post here named jeremy milks and he ended up getting fed up of trying to ask educational questions and only getting smart-ass answers. he stopped coming and now i'm stopping too. i'm not even going to grace you with my name, what's the point, your name is the only one that counts on this website.

Dear anon:

You mean here at Beckerfilms?  As we move into our tenth year on the web, I assure that I've always been pushing my biases and beliefs.  If people find this educational, that's great; if people find this offensive or too critical they frequently write in and tell me so.  But no matter how folks respond to what I say, I'll just keep saying it.

Josh

Name:              John Dough
E-mail:

Dear Josh:         

I was just wondering if there are any films you love, or even just like a lot, that hold no merit as far as films go, but are just so damned fun you find yourself loving them even though in the big picture they're probably shit?

Dear John:

Unlike many people I know, I don't have a fondness for bad movies.  Oddly, I much prefer good or great movies.  About 20 years ago I lived in a little bungalow in Hollywood with Scott Spiegel, who was hanging out with the then unknown Quentin Tarantino.  These guys seemed to never stop talking about bad movies.  "Oh, you think that film was bad, this one was worse."  "No, this was even worse than that."  I finally got so pissed off I yelled at them, "Don't you guys ever talk about good movies?"  Apparently not.  I'm amused by shit like "Plan 9 From Outer Space" and "Robot Monster," but that's not where my mind wants to go regarding movies.  I had a fairly lengthy discussion about William Wyler's "The Big Country" yesterday with my buddy Paul, and a great film like that you can easily discuss for an hour and still not touch on all of the interesting, wonderful aspects of it.  So, no, I don't love any bad movies.  I save my love for great movies.

Josh

Name:              JohnQAnybody
E-mail:

Hi there Josh.

I'm a fictitious anybody because I know I might offend some with this if you decide to post it.

I have this habit of proofing everything I see and that includes material I had nothing to do with.

I would just like to say that I am a big believer in human possibility. I stand by and applaud any individual with enough guts to pursue any dream they might have.

I just think that some of the folks that write to this site talking about scripts and stories need to understand how bad their spelling, puncutation and structure is at times.

I'm not perfect either and constantly catch myself in run-ons and long winded paragraphs.

I'm just saying that if writers want folks to take them seriously they need to know the basics. Your writing can seriously make you look very ignorant.

The one thing I would suggest above all is to NOT spell things on paper the way they sound to you. Get a dictionary or use spell check.

If anybody wants to write bad enough there is no excuse for not knowing how to spell even the most difficult words or not using good structure.

I'm not some high and mighty jerk writing in here about this. I truly am trying to help.

JohnQAnybody

Dear JohnQ:

I don't think spelling, punctuation and grammer mean all that much on the internet.  I was a bit put off at first, but I got over it.   I try my best, English-wise, but I don't impose my standards on anyone else.  As a little note, in your third paragraph you say, " . . . some of the folks that write to this site . . ."  Correctly, that ought to be "some of the folks who write to this site."

Josh

Name:              Tim
E-mail:             NansemondNative

Josh,

I had the pleasure to observe a silent film today entitled "Tol'Able David".

It is more like an action movie and there seems to be a lot of 18fps type things going on in the movie.

There is one fight sequence in particular involving David and this proverbial Lurch type Goliath in a cabin.

The fast action reminded me of so many other films of that era where many scenes are shot at a slower frame rate to give it that fast effect when projected at the normal frame rate.

My guess is that you have seen it. If not, you should check it out.

Tim

Dear Tim:

"Tol'able David" (1921) is a famous silent film that I've never seen.  You make it sound very interesting.  It's the film that really launched director Henry King's career, although he'd already been directing for six years at that point.  King continued to direct without pause until 1962 with "Tender is the Night."  I have a feeling he was a better silent director than sound director, although he made quite a few famous films films, like "In Old Chicago" and "Alexander's Ragtime Band" (both 1938), "Jesse James" and "Stanley and Livingstone" (both 1939), "Song of Bernadette" (1943), "Twelve O'Clock High" (1949), "The Gunfighter" (1950).  King was Darryl Zanuck's most trusted director at 20th Century Fox for about 25 years.  He could handle anything, but I never found him to be very inspired, nor did he ever do an interesting shot.  King liked to set up medium shots and play out the whole scene without a cut.  For him to cut to a close-up was a big deal. Still, I'd love to see his silent films.

Josh

Name:              Joe Biondo
E-mail:             Jobee218@yahoo.com

Dear Josh:         

Thank u so much for your insite as to the posability of my dream. I just finished the adaptation for my book (fiction), "RETRIBUTION - Dead men tell no lies." My screenplay is registered with the WGA. I advised to do that from other writers I talk to on line. I really want to sell this project. I feel strongly about its genre' and story line. We need another vigilante story to make people realize that we must protect the ones we love at any cost. This is a street story from a kid on the streets of Buffalo, NY.
If you have any ideas for me, please, please send them my way. I need all the help I can get.
Sicerely
Joe Biondo
author of "Retribution - Dead men tell no lies"
available at www.authorhouse.com

Dear Joe:

Even more than registering your script with the WGA, I recommend copyrighting it with the Library of Congress, at www.loc.gov/copyright. Meanwhile, we "need" another vigilante story?  It seems to me that there's been one good vigilante movie in the history of cinema, "Death Wish," and that's it.  And it's not like what Bronson is doing is right, it's completely wrong, but he's well-motivated to do it.  However, at the end I think we all know he's crazy.  Anyway, good luck with your book and script.

Josh

Name:              David R.
E-mail:

Dear Josh:         

Can you recommend some of Kirk Douglas' films, particularly from his earlier work? I've seen "Ace in the Hole", "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea", and "Paths of Glory". I thought he was good in "Paths", but absolutely blows that performance out of the water with "Ace". "The Bad and the Beautiful" is on TCM tomorrow but for some reason I can't get myself excited for it.

Dear David:

"The Bad and the Beautiful" is a great movie, and Kirk is terrific in it. It's one of my favorites.  A wonderful, Oscar-winning script, gorgeous, Oscar-winning photography, beautiful direction, and a perfect cast.  Watch it.  Let's see, Early Kirk Douglas . . .  "Out of the Past" (47), "A Letter to Three Wives" and "Champion" (49), "Young Man With a Horn" (50), "Detective Story" (51), "The Juggler" (53), "Lust for Life" (56), "Gunfight at the O.K. Corral" (57) and "The Vikings" (58).  There you go.  I include "The Juggler," which isn't really all that good, but exceptionally weird.  "Detective Story" is by my man, William Wyler, and my just be Kirk's most intense performance, and he could really get intense.

Josh

Name:              Kevin N.
E-mail:

Dear Josh:         

So, tell us about your attempt to turn LUNATICS A LOVE STORY into a stage musical and the twenty musical numbers it was supposed to have...

Dear Kevin:

I gave the project an entire month.  I adapted the script into a play, which wasn't all that hard, then I wrote lyrics for all the songs.  I then gave it all to Joe LoDuca.  His response was one of the nicest cut-downs I've ever received.  I asked, "What do you think of the lyrics?"  Joe paused, then said, "They rhyme."  Anyway, what I really proved to myself is that I'm not a lyricist.  Beyond that, I don't even own the rights to the material.

Josh

Name:              Bob
E-mail:

Dear Josh:         

Have you seen any good movies lately, and if so, are you going to review any?

If not, I wouldn't be surprised, the most creative stuff that I've seen lately seems to be from British TV like Extras and Home with the Braithwaits.

Dear Bob:

The only recent movies I've watched lately weren't all that good, and didn't seem deserving of reviews.  I saw "Blood Diamond," "Hollywoodland" and "The Black Dahlia," and I wouldn't give any of them a thumbs-up, nor did I hate any of them, either.  All three are high-budget Hollywood product, with a kernel of a good idea in each that's not worked out very well.  The story of George Reeves is an interesting one, but sadly Ben Affleck never for one second sells that he's Reeves.  When they digitally insert Affleck into "From Here to Eternity" in a scene with Burt Lancaster, it's completely absurd, and looks like a kid with an adult.  "The Black Dahlia" has lovely photography by Vilmos Zsigmond, some nice direction by DePalma, a good-looking young cast, and a story that becomes murkier and more convoluted by the minute, until it has so many villians and twists it becomes pure boring gibberish.  Meanwhile, I feared that I wouldn't buy Leonardo DiCaprio's South African accent  in "Blood Diamond," but I did, it's just that the movie is about an hour too long, and has an utterly preposterous denoument.  I did sort of enjoy "The Gene Krupa Story" (1959), incongruously starring Sal Mineo as Krupa.  Although Sal Mineo doesn't look a thing like Gene Krupa, nor does he seem like him in any way, he can actually play the drums, so all of the drumming sequences are just great. And Mineo does a mean impression of Krupa drumming.  Probably the best movie I've seen recently was the 2006 HBO movie "Longford" with Jim Broadbent and Samantha Morton.  It's an extremely odd, true story about a British lord and his relationship with a female murderer in prison.  The story itself is believable, if severely off-putting, but the two actors are just great.

Josh

Name: Jason Roth
E-mail: scootermcgurk@yahoo.com

Hey Josh,

Just read that Running Time is screening at the Main Art theater December 4 as part of Mitten Movies. Will you be there to do Q & A or discuss the film?

I read your buddy Sam is doing a public seminar Nov 30 out in Detroit. Should be interesting...

On another note, I premiered Too Dead to Die(my 7 years in the making film) publicly about 2 weeks ago. It drew an audience of 83, who all seemed to enjoy it. No one asked for their money back, at any rate! Quite an ego boost, and a relief.

Take care,
Jason

DearJason:
 
Yes, I will be at the screening of "Running Time" at the Main, and I will do a Q&A afterward.  I had a very good time at the Mitten Movie screening of "Hammer" a few months ago.  It was a good-sized, film-savvy, crowd who asked bright questions.  Congrats on finishing and screening your movie.
 
Josh

Name: Chris Ortez
E-mail: hortha2001@hotmail.com

Dear Josh:

Hey man... I saw "Lunatics..." a thousand years ago and totally LOVED it. I'd kill my own grandmother to get a copy on dvd! There's vhs copies on eBay and Amazon selling for like $50, so with that kind of demand (not to mention all the worthless crap-films that get commited to digital) you'd think "L:ALS" would get its day on dvd already.

Anyways... thanks for making that cool little bizarre movie and thanks for letting me rant a little bit.

~Chris

Dear Chris:
 
Hey, rant away.  I'm glad you liked the film.  Were it up to me "Lunatics" would certainly be out on DVD, but alas, it's not up to me.  That's what you get when you make movies for other people, they do what they want with them.
 
Josh

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

Dear Josh,

IGN.com just reported that Alien Apocalypse (and Screaming Brain) will get a new dvd release the week before Christmas (the link is at http://dvd.ign.com/articles/831/831406p1.html) and sure enough it's at the Anchor Bay site (http://www.anchorbayentertainment.com/index.asp?p=CatalogDetail&SKU=DV15624&PriCatID=3&GenreID=0) as well. Any new features for this? And does that whole non-DGA thing mean you won't see any $$ off of this either?

Thanks,

August

Dear August:
 
You know more about it than I do.  I didn't know the film was be repackaged and re-released.  I would guess that there are no new extras on the DVDs, but of course I don't know.  And yes, I will not receive one cent, nor any residuals because it was made non-union.
 
As always, thanks for the info.  You're very well-informed.
 
Josh

Name: A. Esparza
E-mail: aesparz2@depaul.edu

Dear Josh:

I watched "The TV Set", last night. It follows a pilot from casting through to the production process. From it's account, which completly mirrors so many horror stories I've heard, I can't understand why someone would subject themselves to working in television. Catering to the liking of an entire panel of people you have no respect for seems overwhelmingly brutal. I'm sure the money's great if you're successful, but damn, it seems so emotionally/creatively/physically draining. (Not to say that working in any other artistic medium isn't. But at least with film there's a fringe where people, like you, can still create something on their own terms.)

The question I have is with regard to your experience in directing material close to your heart. It's part of the conflict in "The TV Set". Seeing as a majority of the material you've directed was of your own hand, do you allow your actors to interpret the material according to how they percieve the character? Or, have you had moments where a scene, founded on a real occurence or conversation, is played against how it took place. It seems like the natural reaction would be to guide the actor on how to play the scene. However, this seems to go against a rule I've heard repeatedly, "Don't tell an actor how to say a line." Never having directed an actor, maybe accepting another perspective of a scene is part of becoming a director.

I'll probably find that you dedicated a great section of your book to just this. But, directing talent seems to be the most intimdiating asp ect of directing.

Dear A.:
 
When you're directing a movie or a TV show, you find yourself in some far-flung place, like in the bush in New Zealand or somewhere the woods in Bulgaria, with a bunch of actors, crew people, trucks, cameras, etc. and it's now you're job to make whetever the hell this scene you're about to shoot is come to life.  If that means telling actors how to say a line, I'll happily do it.  If it means telling a joke right before the scene to get the actors in a good mood, I'll do that.  If it means getting furious and throwing my script on the ground, I'll do that.  Whatever it takes.  I've imitated the reaction I want the actor to do one foot in front of their face while we're shooting, just to get them to do what I want.  But I'll also happily leave actors alone if I think they're in a groove and have it.  It's a scene by scene deal.
 
Josh

Name: Tim
E-mail: NansemondNative

Good Morning Josh.

Yep. "The Doors" was just about as lifeless as you can get. I did enjoy the hum job scene in the elevator and the scene where Val and the other actress are running around the hotel room all primal and everything. The fact that my absolute best memories of the film are 2 of the sex scenes proves the point.

I watched "World Trade Center" again though last night and this time with my wife. I carefully noted her reactions and I also wanted to be very aware of mine too.

I think that most people probably have this fear of being pinned down and trapped. I know I have that claustrophobic type fear.If the movie was only 50 % accurate in it's representation then that is why we cared about those 2 characters.

So not only do we have the trauma of the WTC event unfolding but then we have initially 3 then 2 surviving heroes who are trapped in a hell on earth with no water and no prospects of getting out alive.

That's some heavy shit Josh. I think that tapping into that kind of fear will draw your viewer in probably most every time.

You once stated that for something scary to be really effective you neeeded to turn the eyes inward so to speak and truthfully answer your own question about what really scares you.

Now, for me, it is necessary to explore how to translate that exact same claustrophobic, I'm trapped and nobody is coming to help type fear into other venues.

Do you think my perception is on target?

Tim

Dear Tim:
 
Yeah, being pinned down within the wreckage of a skyscraper is a real, honest to god fear.  It's also a very static situation, that I thought "World Trade Center" handled well.  But just getting someone pinned down somewhere is a difficult situation for a feature length film, and potentially boring.  WTC has both the reality of 9/11, and that weird soldier character which I found very intriguing.
 
Josh

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

Dear Josh,

Thanks for the clarification on the whole WGA thing. I recall that you have mentioned that you had to join the DGA in order to work on the Herc/Xena shows. How did that work as far as the two scripts you co-wrote? Are directors sort of extended professional courtesy by the Writers Guild?

And wishing you much luck on the upcoming e-bay auction. Any items you want to let us know about in advance?

And finally, to give your fans an earlier heads-up than usual, Sci-Fi will be showing the edited-down-for-tv version of your acting tour-de-force in "Mosquito" at 1 AM late Saturday night, Dec. 8th, and then "Alien Apocalypse" will air again on Sat. Dec. 15th at 9 AM.

Without going into specifics, I'm just curious - when something like AA gets rerun, how soon do you see a check? And is it a cause for great rejoicing? Or more like enough for a six-pack and a pizza? (One writer/producer whose name I forget commented on how he once got a check for something like $6.15 as a result of some old TV episode he wrote airing in Chad or Upper Volta or someplace like that.)

Thanks,

August

Dear August:
 
The Sci Fi movies are non-union, part of the reason they're shot in far-flung places like Bulgaria, so when AA or Harpies is shown I don't get anything.  Residuals are paid through the guilds.  Thankfully, I'm still getting residuals on Xena.  Being in the DGA has nothing to do with the WGA, and those two oddball WGA co-story credits on Xena generate checks of $2-5 quarterly.  I also get a shitload of paperwork from the Producers-Writers Pension fund, which I am not a part of (you need five qualifying years to get in and I have slightly more than zero, but not enough to equal one).  I'm a member of the DGA, and have been since Hercules started in 1993.  That's a long time ago now.
 
Regarding the Xena-Herc jackets, I got them every single year I worked on the shows, meaning every year the shows were on between 1993 and 2001, and they're all brand-new and unworn.  There were never more than 100 of each of these jackets, sweaters and vests, and most of them stayed down in New Zealand.  Meanwhile, a very good buddy of mine bought them all from me recently when I really needed the dough.  So he's selling them, and I'm helping. 
 
Thanks for the screening info.
 
Josh

Name: Jeff Alede
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

I read your review of "Eyes Wide Shut" and totally agree with you on the pacing of it being just awful. Scenes would linger on and on and on, seemingly with no end. I also felt the same way about many scenes in "2001" (although it's been many years since I last saw it). Do you think the pacing of 2001 has any problems?

Dear Jeff:
 
Yes, "2001" is a bit slow in spots, but the big difference is that "2001" is a great movie and "Eyes Wide Shut" sucks.  Since I stopped taking acid about 25 years ago, the final section of "2001," "Jupiter and Beyond," I can totally live without.  Nevertheless, "2001" remains a milestone in cinema.  The only claim to fame that "Eyes Wide Shut" has is that it's Kubrick's last movie.
 
Josh

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

Dear Josh,

One wonders if "Richard Johansen" (probably the same lone haranguer who's been trying to annoy you and your site visitors for this past decade) realizes how utterly foolish he has made himself look to a worldwide audience.

At any rate, curious on your thoughts on the writers' strike?

And, how does that work for someone who is not a WGA member? Like, say, a director such as yourself and many of your colleagues. Would a director (DGA or otherwise) or actor be prevented from writing/selling their own script to a producer, that they were planning to direct? Could producers buy scripts from non-WGA members? (Like some talented recent film-school graduate...or a novelist... or a comic book writer... etc.) And what about overseas writers - could a British scriptwriter now sell a script to some US producer? For that matter, could a WGA member sell a script to some foreign production company?

Thanks,

August

Dear August:
 
Good to hear from you.  Theoretically, any company that's signatory to a union cannot hire outside the union, and all of the big film and TV companies are signatory to WGA.  However, we'll see what they do. The last strike in 1988 pretty much shut the whole business down.
 
Josh

Name: Tim
E-mail: NansemondNative

Josh,

At one point there was a small discussion concerning Oliver Stone which peaked my interest on his movies.

Believe it or not I had never seen "The Doors" which I have just finished watching for the first time.

One of my primary thoughts was that I kept thinking I wish I had been a part of the 60's which I don't think was a point of the movie.

It tells a story I guess but I couldn't escape the feeling that this was possibly a visual masturbation even though there were some very cool elements in the movie.

Did you see it? Any thoughts?

Tim

Dear Tim:
 
I agree, overlong, uncompelling, not very incisive, visual masturbation.  Val Kilmer looks the part, but has none of the animal magnetism of Jim Morrison.  Nice photography, but all in all a failure.
 
Josh

Name: Kristie
E-mail:

Hello Josh,

I was wondering, what are some of your favorite films by Robert Mulligan and Richard Brooks? To me they were two of the finest American directors in the '60s and '70s, and I remember spending many afternoons in my childhood viewing their films.

Also, are you working on any new pieces you might consider sharing on the site (articles, stories, etc.)?

Best,
Kristie

Dear Kristie:
 
In my opinion Robert Mulligan only made one great film, "To Kill a Mockingbird," a beautifully sure-handed piece of filmmaking, with a perfect cast and a heartbreaking score.  But that one film is miles ahead of everything else he ever did.  I liked "The Man in the Moon" with little Reese Witherspoon, and I sort of liked "Fear Strikes Out," with the very young Anthony Perkins.  "Love With a Proper Stranger" and "Baby, the Rain Must Fall" are both interesting early '60s period pieces, but neither is all that good (and Steve McQueen can't sing, and looks silly trying).  Regarding Richard Brooks, I think he made several terrific films, like "Elmer Gantry," "The Professionals," "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, and "The Blackboard Jungle," as well as a number of interesting films, like "In Cold Blood," "Sweet Bird of Youth," "Crisis," "Bite the Bullet" and perhaps even "Looking for Mr. Goodbar."  Brooks was also a top screenwriter, and he wrote one of favorites, "Storm Warning" with Ginger Rogers, Doris day and Ronald Reagan, as well as the classic "Key Largo" with Humphrey Bogart and Edward G. Robinson, and "Brute Force" with the young Burt Lancaster.  I really do admire Richard Brooks.  He he had a great story sense, knew what to do with a camera, and how to handle actors.  I just watched "Elmer Gantry" again and it really couldn't be any better than it is, and it may well be Burt Lancaster's best performance (Oscar for Best Actor, 1960), and he was great in many, many movies, so that's saying something.
 
Josh

Name: Bob
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

I am not here to set you up as you thought happened with a previous post, but my point is, is there anything wrong with enjoying a movie for entertainment's sake without analyzing it. One of the John Sayles movies mentioned was Limbo, which was a box office bust. However, I saw it on DVD and thought it was fairly good. Might there be problems with it? I guess, but for me, if I enjoyed watching a movie and I thought the idea was coherent it is a success. Titanic, the Cameron one, I know you didn't like, but it seemed to be for its violation of history more than for the movie. I liked it myself, and didn't think I would. It was good enough, that I was able to accept its libert ies with history. I agree with you on movies like Schindler's List and Private Ryan, because Steven Spielberg seems to go to such extremes to make the point that this is how it must have been, that I can't accept it. Plus, those two movies I don't think deliver the moral message that they are purported to. Anyway, that is was too long, but does what I say, that if you enjoyed a movie for itself, then it was a success, have any creedence?

Dear Bob:
 
Yes, certainly.  If you liked it, you liked it.  I'd prefer to have electrodes attached to my scotum and receive 110 volts before having to watch "Titanic" ever again, but different strokes for different folks.  That doesn't mean I can't say as much shit as I want about "Titanic," which I thought was a turd of epic proportion, without being attacked, but I guess that remains to be seen.
 
Josh

Name: Richard Johanson
E-mail: rrj371@yahoo.com

Dear Josh:

john cassavettes is certainly the GRANDfather of indie cinema, he is not the GODfather of MODERN indie cinema (ie jim jarmusch, spike lee, todd solondz, etc). meanwhile i'm sure you'll kick back in your cheap ass thrift-store chair and type away a response on your goofy ass ibm computer circa 1993, "Those guys all suck."

well you know something? you suck, with a capital S. what makes you a "hack," to respond to the question you posed to that other guy, is that most people in the business are at least gracious enough to be tolerable human beings so that they can, i don't know, raise funding to make their movi es. even pricks like peckinpah, who weren't gracious to anybody for anything, manage to make their movies because they have undeniable talent.

you may try your dardenst to make good movies, but maybe if you had a better attitude and weren't so busy flipping off the system (that sorry, josh, HAS made some fine films), you'd get your day in court.

as it stands lone star costs a little money, makes a little money, is put on a hundred top-10 lists at the end of the year, gets oscar noms, and makes a whole cult of people who discovered it on dvd feel like there's hope yet for cinema.

and john sayles tried his darndest too.

Richard Johanson: 1
Josh Becker: 0

Dear Richard:
 
So, the purpose of you writing in was for me to agree with you, and when I didn't agree, then you attack. And somehow you've ended up one point ahead of me?  Initially the discussion was about John Sayles, then you turned it around to attack me, but somehow you end up on top?  Seriously, dude, what have you ever done?  John Sayles has made movies, and I've made movies; you've watched some DVDs and written into my website.  That doesn't get you a one, it gets you a nothing.
 
And let me take this all one level larger -- nothing is accomplished by saying you like something that you don't actually like.  That's called lying.  Nobody seems to want to hear critical thought anymore.  I read long movie reviews in the NY Times, and by the end I still can't tell whether they liked it or not.  We're living in a mushy, uncritical, unartistic time that's mainly about blowing smoke up each other's butts.  No, I'm not impressed by Sayles, Jarmusch, Lee or Solondz.  But if I pretended I did, would that make me "gracious"?  Were I less opinionated you think that would make me a better artist?  Or just more successful?  Or just a pandering piece of shit?
 
There once was a time when if someone liked a film I didn't like, they would intellectually try to defend it and we could have an intelligent, critical discussion.  Now, if I don't like something that someone else likes, the very best they can come up with is a personal attack.  It's as dull and stupid as the films coming out these days.
 
Meanwhile, when did you get to choose the terms for filmmakers, like "Godfather" or "Grandfather of indie cinema"?  Do everybody a favor, watch the movies, and if you haven't got something intelligent to say, shut the fuck up.
 
Josh

Name:              JB
E-mail:             sotto1@yahoo.com

Dear Josh:         

Oh, sorry Josh...you're right, it is Xena with a "X".  Just to be sure I looked it up and sure enough you're still a "Hack" with a "H".

Dear JB:

What's your definition of Hack?  To me it's someone who works strictly for the money and doesn't give it a full-fledged effort.  Although all of my work on Xena and Hercules was for the money, I always gave it my best effort.  At least three of my indies, "Lunatics," "Running Time" and "If I Had a Hammer," if not legitimately good movies, are certainly my best effort at trying to make good movies.  Since most directors and writers never even get a chance to attempt making something good, what singles me out as a such a hack?

Josh

Name:              Richard Johanson
E-mail:             rrj371@yahoo.com

Dear Josh:   

i've recently gotten into john sayles movies and think he's pretty good. early stuff like lianna and baby it's you are pretty good, and later stuff like passion fish and especially lone star are even better. matewan too, though city of hope left something to be desired, as did 8 men out. limbo was pretty good, and even casa de los babys. the guy is really prolific and really independent, so like him or hate him, you have to hand it to him. he's managed to "walk the line" for the last 25-30 years as a big hollywood screenwriter, and as the godfather of modern indie cinema.

also hear he lives in new jersey, which is pretty cool.

overall i think he's pretty good.

best,

Richard

Dear Richard:

John Sayles is certainly NOT the "godfather of modern indie cinema."  His first directorial effort was "The Return of the Seacaucus Seven" in 1980.  John Cassavetes started making making indie films in 1960!  Cassavetes' most important films, "Faces" was in 1968, and "A Woman Under the Influence" was in 1973.  George Romero made "Night of the Living Dead" in 1968.  Meanwhile, I've never been particularly impressed with John Sayles.  At his very best I think he's okay.  I truly couldn't stand "Lone Star," which seemed to exist strictly for Sayles to make awkward transitions.  "Eight Men Out" did a total disservice to an extremely interesting bit of history, "Matewan," "Lianna," "Brother From Another Planet," "City of Hope," "Casa de los Babys," etc. just didn't add up to anything for me, nor do I find him a very interesting director.

Josh

Name:              Jeffrey Lui
E-mail:             jlui44@hotmail.com

Dear Josh:         

Thought you might be interested in knowing that Scott Spiegel is currently directing a movie entitled SPRING BREAK '83, starring Jamie Kennedy (KICKIN' IT OLD SCHOOL, SON OF THE MASK) and John Goodman. The film is budgeted at $18 million, easily Scott's biggest budget to date, and it's described as being in the vein of PORKY'S and AMERICAN PIE.

From the literature on the film's website (http://www.bigskymotionpictures.com/) it seems the film will be released theatrically, which is another milestone in Scott's career as a director.

It would appear the HOSTEL films have done him good even though they're arguably bad.

Also, Scott's frequent collaborator, Boaz Yakin (FRESH, REMEMBER THE TITANS) with whom he co-wrote Clint Eastwood's THE ROOKIE, is back in action, directing a movie of his own script entitled DEATH IN LOVE, starring JOSH LUCAS (GLORY ROAD, STEALTH) and Jaqueline Bisset (WILD ORCHID, CLASS).

Thoughts? Also, what do you make of Yakin's other films?

Dear Jeffrey:

Well, good for Scott and Boaz.  They've both been at it forever, they deserve their success.

Josh

Name:              David R.
E-mail:            

Dear Josh:         

Just watched Bruce Beresford's "Black Robe". Pretty good film. I was surprised by the suddenness and brutality of the violence. The score was nice but they repeated the main theme too much I thought. And that midget sorcerer was creepy yet, strangely, also somewhat comical. Quite a downer of an ending, too.

Dear David:

It's an intense film, and it makes a good point, too.  The last thing those people need is Christianity, all that does is take your eye off the ball.  The second they stop thinking about right now and start considering the hereafter, the next tribe over attacks and kills them all, sending them to the hereafter.  "Black Robe" is one of those films that when i watch it -- and I've seen it several times -- I'm *really* glad I didn't work on it.  Northern Canada in the winter?  No thanks.

Josh

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

Hey Josh,

With regards to Nick Cassavetes, you completely forgot about "The Notebook" which I know you liked and me as well and we talked about that film a lot together and I know it was mentioned here a few times.

He doesn't have an individual style like his father, but then again, most children of people who were so individual never succeed to the same levels as their parents. It is a tall order to fill.

-Scott

Dear Scott:

Oh, yeah, I forgot about "The Notebook."  Yes, I liked that, although it was nothing like a John Cassavetes movie.  Try watching "A Woman Under the Influence" or "Faces," there's nothing else like them.  He managed to make incredibly serious, dramatic films that received multiple Oscar nominations for peanuts in his own house.  And though he always poo-pooed film technique, he was a terrific cameraman.

Josh

Name:              Tim
E-mail:             NansemondNative

Josh,

I just mentioned "A Face In The Crowd" recently but the more I see it the more I like it and the balls it had. VitaJex? How funny was that Josh? How "before it's time" was it?

My question though has nothing to do with that movie but more your "Lunatics" movie.

How does this work where something that came from your mind, you wrote, and you directed come up to 100% ownership by Sony whereby you have no further interest or input in it?

Is it really just a matter of Sony bought it and tough shit if you don't like it? You had no say whatsoever in this?

I do not want to pry or piss you off but you get absolutely nothing from "Lunatics" Josh?

I agree with your other fan. "Lunatics" should be put back into circulation on DVD with you providing an alternate commentary track.

I know that in writing this the questions may appear to have a critical tone. I just want to assure you that they are not critical. I truly am just a curious small time chump who shoots Super8 B/W and DV on the weekends with his kids and 16mm when I can afford a few rolls.

Thanks for your time.

Tim

Dear Tim:

You're not pissing me off at all, nor do I see why that would piss me off.  I made the movie for Sam Raimi and Rob Tapert.  They optioned the story, paid me to write the script, then paid me to direct it.  It was their movie, and then they made a deal with Columbia and sold it lock, stock and barrel in perpetuity.  I personally wouldn't have made a "in perpetuity" deal, but I didn't make the deal.  There you have it.  And yes, "A Face in the Crowd" is a terrific movie.

Josh

Name: Liz
E-mail: spuggy222@hotmail.com

Dear Josh:

I love "Lunatics"! A definite favorite for me. I know in your writing you said the movie has basically disappeared, but they're resurrecting all kinds of things to DVD these days. Has there been any talk about this going to DVD? I already have the video, and would love to have something that will last longer... and maybe has "extras" (hint hint).

Dear Liz:
 
I'm glad you like it, but it's not up to me since I don't own the movie, Columbia/Sony does.  If they wanted to put it on DVD I suppose they would.
 
Josh

Name:              David R.
E-mail:

Dear Josh:         

Have you read any of the biographies of Roman Polanski? I saw one in the bookstore called "The Roman Polanski Story", but when I checked the reviews online they were rather mixed. Just wondering if you can recommend any of them. Thanks!

Dear David:

I always prefer an autobiography, if one exists, and in this case it does. "Roman" by Polanski, which I enjoyed.

Josh

Name:              Johnny Nicholas
E-mail:

Dear Josh:         

I was just wondering what you think of the director Nick Cassavetes? How do you think he compares to his father? Do you like any of his films? :)

Dear Johnny:

I saw "Unhook the Stars" when it came out, and thought it was okay, although I can't seem remember any of it now.  Other than he has the same name as John, I don't think there's anything to discuss.  John Cassavetes was an important figure in American filmmaking.  He was obsessed and driven to make certain kinds of films that nobody else had ever made, nor will they.  John Cassavetes' films, like them or hate them, are art, and are very specifically his films, just like Hitchcock's films are totally his.  Either filmmaker, in 10 seconds you know it's their movie.

Josh

Name:              Dean
E-mail:

Dear Josh:         

Hello Josh, it was a pleasure to read the essay about meeting Rick, though bittersweet as we already know how the story unfortunately ends, he seemed like a good man and a better friend, I should imagine you feel priveleged  to have known him.

I do have two very quick questions that I wonder if you could help me with.

Is Rushes coming out soon ? ( Your a strong essayist and I am eager to have a collection of your essays ).

Also on the literature note I was wondering what the legality for showing books on screen is ? I can't find anything as to if it would be a copyright violation that you could get sued for if you showed a book on screen such as "farewell to arms" in Evil Dead 2.

Oh I also wanted to thank you for always answering the questions that I and fellow film makers have, with this web site and your book, you should know your influence stretches overseas ( sitting here in the U.K ) and that I am set to shoot my first feature in January next year ( for good or ill you have inspired people for that I personally thank you )

Dear Dean:

It truly is my pleasure when I can actually be of some service or inspiration to those who also feel they must do this crazy, nutty, ridiculous thing, making movies.  Go make the very best movie you can. Meanwhile, you can show any books you want, as I did in "Lunatics," and I actually had her pulling individual books out and looking at the covers. That completely falls under the doctrine of "fair use," meaning you're allowed to film the world around you without having to pay anyone because their billboard or brand of automobile or book cover is in it.  If you start reading from the book, that's copyright infringement.  Regarding "Rushes," my editor says it's nearly ready to go to the the printer, so pretty soon. Unlike movies, there's apparently no great hurry in publishing.

Josh

Name:              Johnny
E-mail:             JohnnyBBadd@goodoleboys.com

Josh,

Long time reader, first time writer.

Mr. Alien Apocolypse, I'm almost sure, is a guy that used to write to you all the time and usually making dumb comments.

You pissed him off one time concerning characters like Superman or Spiderman. The language pattern seems to be the same anyway.

When you get right down to it though who gives a damn? He was stupid then and he's stupid now.The proof is in the massive run on sentence prior to his "judge me" statement. If he in fact made a movie it is probably one big run on "horror"ible piece of crap.

Not that I'm judging anybody though.

I saw a movie last night that was pretty good.

It was called "The Lady from Shanghai" with Rita Hayworth and Orson Welles. It falls into the Film Noir category you appreciate so well.

It might not be the absolute best Welles but the cinematography was beautiful.

I think everyone should watch it at least once.

Johnny

Dear Johnny:

I'd say it's 3rd rate Welles, which still means it should be seen, but I don't think it's very good.  I found Mr. Welles's accent in the film unbearable.  The scene in the funhouse with the mirrors is a classic, though.

Josh

Name:              Patti
E-mail:             esl4@msn.com

Hey Josh,

Was there another film titled, "What ever happened to RoseMary's baby" ? I thought there was but maybe I'm wrong. Or is there another movie that follows after that titled something else. Just wondering, I liked RoseMary's Baby and would love to know what happened after if there was a after movie,  thanks for your time.

Dear Patti:

For whatever it's worth, 18 years later there was a TV movie sequel called "Look What's Happened to Rosemary's Baby," which I have no doubt is a worthless piece of crap.

Josh

Name:              Bunny
E-mail:             BunElmore@aol.com

Dear Josh:         

Is there ANY chance you might consider writing/directing a revamp of Matt Helm (w/for Bruce Campbell)?

Dear Bunny:

Why, you have the money to make it?

Josh

Name:              Alien Apocalypse
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

I was just watching Alien Apocalypse and I was astounded by the fact that you ripped off the standard Raimi zoom shot (as they first put the gags on the space crew) that he made famous in the ED movies. What are you, a poser?

And as I'm watching the movie, seeing all the silly bullshit, I'm thinking to myself...you know, if I was directing this, and because of budgetary reasons couldn't do certain things--I wouldn't have done them! Why did you go ahead and DO them, making your film look irreparably stupid in the process (the most basic example of this is the ridiculous wigs and shaggy beards--there are some bald guards, and not everyone has a beard, God forbid you exerted some proper judgement and said, "My movie will be laughed at because all these fake wigs and beards make it seem like a farce. Nix the Goddamn hair pieces."

And P.S. Mr. "Who-the-fuck-are-you-to-judge-me-BECKER" I happen to have directed a horror movie that got picked up for distribution at Toronto. Look for a Fall 08 release.

And I also believe in GOD. And believe you're going to HELL. How do you like them apples?

Dear AA:

Yes, I'm poseur pretending to be Sam Raimi.  Meanwhile, I don't recall judging you, or even knowing who you are.  Are you under the delusion that Sam Raimi invented the zoom, or the snap-zoom?  You need to see more movies. And I have no doubt that making horror movies will put you in tight with your god.  By the way, what was the name of that picture I was supposed to be looking for?  Or would that give away your secret identity?

Josh

Name:              Steve
E-mail:

Josh,

All I can gather from reading about some of these events is that they were allegedly real and that the people involved in them believed that what they were witnessing was real.

The Bell Witch haunting is another example. The story is even taught in the Tennessee school system as part of the history of Tennessee.

Hell, I don't know. Just another person looking for answers I guess.

I would have to tend to err on the side of cautiousness and at least state that things happen in this world that seemingly cannot be explained and these events do not fall into any specific category.

Mythology or not...Some of these stories have made for some fairly decent Cinema.

Thanks for the tip. I'll try to find the book.

Another excellent book, completely off the subject, is "Deliverance" by James Dickey ca. 1970. It was as good as the movie. Dickey was a very powerful writer.

Steve

Dear Steve:

I haven't read the book, but I sure do like John Boorman's movie of "Deliverance."  Although it was an A-picture with a big star, Jon Voight, and a major up-and-coming star, Burt Reynolds, it's really a tiny little movie with four guys, two canoes, and two bad guys, until the very end when you have a few scenes in town with James Dickey as the sheriff.  The film is beautifully written, directed, acted and photographed, proving you can make a great film with almost nothing, as long as what you do have is the right stuff, like a story that's worth shooting, and direction that's incredibly well-conceived and executed, and isn't just raggedy-ass handheld bullshit. I seriously recommend the film to anyone who hasn't seen it, or hasn't seen it recently.

Josh

Name:              Kristie
E-mail:

Hey Josh,

I just wanted to drop you a quick note and let you know that your piece on Rick was outstanding in every way. I absolutely can't wait for your book - I will be the first in line to order.

Best,
Kristie

Dear Kristie:

Thank you.  I'm glad you liked it.  The book should be out next year.

Josh

Name:              Tim Culhane
E-mail:             tjcinla@aol.com

Dear Josh:         

I noticed a particular format (font, spacing, etc.) with scripts.  Is there a template to follow/use when typing a script?

Appreciate the assistance.

Dear Tim:

Yes, screenplays are all formatting.  I have 20 scripts online for you to inspect.  It's really nothing more than four tap stops: The far left margin is where the slug-lines begin, as well as the scene descriptions; Tab #1 is 20 spaces in and is where the dialog begins, and it ends at 80 spaces, before hitting the right margin; Tab #2 is 25 spaces in, and where the emotional despcription goes in parenthesis; Tab #3 is 30 spaces in and where the character's name goes, in caps; Tab #4 is 80 spaces in, and where the transitions are stated, in caps, like DISSOLVE or CUT TO.  That's it.  As has been said, a proper-looking page of a screenplay should be mostly white. Good luck.

Josh

Name:              Alice Schultz
E-mail:             aeschultz333@hotmail.com

Hi Josh,

Just a couple more things, somewhat at random.  It's fair game to challenge conventional religiousness on moral and philosophical grounds, but it's dubious at very best to attack religious people themselves by setting up their sense of their source material --  its historicity, reliability, integrity etc. -- for a fall, just for the satisfaction, figuratively speaking, of watching their faces as your meaning start to sink in.  I've done enough of this in my time to know exactly what's wrong with it, and what's more I knew while I was doing it.  "The soul of man is a far country," and sacred. As you know -- agreed.  But I believe now that there may perhaps be exactly one way to "educate" along the lines in question and be innocent of a really ugly kind of wrongdoing, and that would be if you were good enough to love whatever God you know with all your strength and your neighbour as yourself.  Few achieve this, so there are few honourable examples of the kind of thing I mean at large, and none of them are my stuff, and none of them are yours. Even so, all that being said, it does sometimes strike me that this site could be behaving a lot worse about this than it does, overall.

Also, I know what you're driving at about conceding that there may be a God but no-one knows him or his attributes.  But that's having it all ways.  If you can persuade others to drop the God they knew and loved and thought loved them, you presumably will call this progress.  If you offer them this anonymous unknowable God as a substitute, you can tell yourself you didn't just try to take away some fellow human being's bread and offer them a stone.  But actually, that's what you did.  Again, I knew this at the time.

Alice

Dear Alice:

I am reminded of a recent interview with John Mellencamp, who said something along the lines of, We average Americans believe what we're told.  To Mr. Mellencamp I think he thinks this is a good thing, whereas I (and Bill Maher, who was speaking to him), both think this is a sure sign of idiocy, and it ultimately makes you culpable to the bad things done with you're ignorant acceptance.  Just because you were inculcated from the time you were born with propaganda like, "Jesus is Lord" or "Yahweh is Lord" or whatever, don't make it true, nor do I have to blow smoke up your ass because you believe in nonsense.  You may actually believe that a loss of faith in fairy tales is a big loss, but I don't.  Being rational is far more important.  Discovering that there's no Santa Claus isn't being handed a rock, it's called growing up and accepting reality.  Nor will I accept for one single second that people 2,000 years ago had a greater understanding of how the universe functions.

Josh

Name:
E-mail:

Dear Josh:         

I just read your article Religion is Evil and couldn't have agreed more.  I was raised in southern fundamentalism and I know from experience what a lying crock it is.  It is a scary hateful and ignorant doctrine.  I am starting a personal blog and wish to post some of my favorite articles there for friends to see. May I post that article? I will, of course, use it as written with your name clearly presented as author along with the link to your site.

I will be waiting your reply. Becky

Dear Becky:

Sure, go ahead.  I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Josh

Name:              s. winston
E-mail:

Dear Josh:         

Your essay on meeting Rick Sanford is glaringly homo-erotic. Maybe that's the point but I kept waiting for the scene where you guys just fucked already.

Dear s.

But we didn't.  And he was my very good friend.  So what does that mean?

Josh

Name:              Kevin N.
E-mail:

Dear Josh:         

I got PENTIMENTO, and I've already watched JULIA. Even though she did a good job, it kind of pisses me off they cast pretty Jane Fonda as mediocre-looking Lillian Hellman.

I have THE WAR on my queue; since you don't keep a favorites list on PBS documentaries, do you have any special ones you like that can be tracked down.

I don't have cable, but if I did, I'd have the History Channel on 24/7.

Dear Kevin:

Mediocre-looking?  With all due respect to Ms. Hellman's writing abilities, that's probably the kindest assessment of her looks ever.  Let me just remind you that "Julia" was a *movie,* where they get movie stars to play regular people.  It's like when they asked Alvin York, the great American hero of WWI, who was a truly geeky-looking guy, who he wanted to play him in the movie, he immediately replied, "Gary Cooper," and they actually got him. Come on, do Carl Bernstein or Bob Woodward look like Robert Redford or Dustin Hoffman?  That's movies.

Meanwhile, I liked Ken Burns' "The Civil War," "Jazz" and "Baseball."  Get through with those and you'll be a year older.

Josh

Name:              Total Sincerity
E-mail:

Dear Josh:         

I read the article on Rick. He seemed liked a very lovely man. May I ask how exactly he died?

 

Dear TS:

Rick died of lymphoma brought on by AIDS.

Josh

Name:              Kurt
E-mail:

Dear Josh,

I am currently having a script produced in LA and was wondering if you could offer some advice. The producer in charge of production has just aquired the funds to make the film of my script, which we agreed a sale price of just below WGA min. He was all set to pay me my fee when suddenly he is short of funds and only wants to pay me 10k now and the rest later. Our option agreement ran out some months ago and I demanded the correct fee now as hes having the script rewritten and my credit seems to be in serious doubt. Now he wants to reoption the script for the 10k for 12 months (although hes already in prep right now) He claims I should just be happy that hes producing my script..
Am I right to think that I'm being screwed on this deal? Any advice?

Regards
Kurt

Dear Kurt:

If you have the copyright to the script, as you ought to, and you haven't signed it over to the producer yet, which you shouldn't have since you haven't been paid yet, tell him you won't assign him the copyright until he pays the fee in the option agreement.  The rewrite's not worth shit without the copyright.  Since you're obviously not putting this deal through the WGA, meaning there will never be a WGA credit arbitration, simply demand that in the copyright assignment form that you are assured of at least a co-writing credit, or, once again, you won't assign him the copyright. Legitimately, he can't go into production until he has the copyright assignment.  You might want to write him a letter, or better yet, have a lawyer write him a letter.  Good luck.

Josh

Name:              Paul Linder
E-mail:             storch60@yahoo.com

Dear Josh:         

this article really hits the nail on the head  I am so glad I am not the only one that stands for the same point of view just a pitty not to many people are honest enough to confront this issue !   Well done!! greetings Paul

Dear Paul:

I assume you mean "Religion is Evil."  Thanks.

Josh

Name:              Kevin N
E-mail:

<<that the sheer horror of war utterly denied the existence of god>>

Just an added note, you're comment reminds me of HELL IS FOR HEROES. That was a pretty grim and unheroic anti-war film.

Dear Kevin:

Yeah, and given the cast and director, not all that good, either.  It's probably Steve McQueen's least appealing performance of his whole career. McQueen was teetering on the dge of becoming a star, but that film didn't do it for him.  It wasn't until the next year with "The Great Escape" that he finally shot to stardom.

Josh

Name:              Steve
E-mail:

Josh,

I was reading over your site and there seems to be quite a few discussions on religion here in addition to movies.

You classify religion and the like as being fairy tales.

That being the case, I have a question for you related to a book I tried to read a few months back.

It was called "The Devil In Connecticut" and frankly there was something about the book that completely creeped me out and the feeling didn't leave for quite some time. As you might have guessed it was about a case of alleged possession that occured in the 80's in Connecticut.

If there is no higher power and the associated fallen angels are not real then why do you think this book creeped me out so much? Not just me but many others from all the on-line reviews I have read about it.

Do you think it is possible to write a book in such a fashion as to put a psychological whammy on the reader so to speak?

To one with your expanded awareness this might seem like a stupid topic but I swear to you that I only got half way through it and then removed it from my house and it has never been back. As bad as "The Exorcist" scared me when I saw it as a kid it cannot even come close to this book and I don't know why.

I would assume from your writings that you don't believe these things are real.

Being an avid reader did you ever read this book?

Steve.

Dear Steve:

The Judeo-Christian world indoctrinates children from their earliest memories with stories from the bibles, both old and new, just as the Islamic world indoctrinates their children with stories from the Koran, etc.  These are our earliest memories, and what many of our deepest fears are based on. That's how scary stories work, playing on our inner fears.  But Judeo-Christian horror stories don't mean dick to Hindus, who don't bury their dead, have no graveyards, and a completely different vision of the afterworld.  It's all an issue of mythology, and the man to read is Joseph Campbell.  I recommend beginning with his book, "Myths to Live By."

Josh

Name:              Bob
E-mail:

Dear Josh:         

Congratulations on your new job. Based on your writings and the knowledge you project, I always thought that teaching would a logical avenue for you.

I have a question too.  Is there a difference between the terms Cinematography and Photography?

Dear Bob:

Let's see . . . photography is still pictures, and cinematography is moving pictures.  There simply happen to be several names for that position on a film crew: cinematographer, director of photography, or lighting cameraman, but they're all the same thing.  It's the person who's the head of the camera and lighting department who's in charge of the lighting and the camera crew.

Josh

Name:              David R.
E-mail:

Dear Josh:         

Did you pick up the new Springsteen album?

Dear David:

I have not.  Nor did I buy his last album.  I have heard most every cut on "Magic" and they all sound like other songs of his.  One of the songs took me about a half-hour before I realized it was the same tune as "No Retreat, No Surrender."  The songs seem both lyrically and melodically unadventurous. It drives me nuts that in the documentary that came with the 30th anniversary edition of "Born to Run" Springsteen explains that because he really, really wanted the songs on that album to be great, and "mini-epics," he wrote them all on the piano, but he's never done that again.  Why?  Too much effort?  But Bruce, just like the Rolling Stones on their recent recordings, seem to have never heard their own early records.  Or at least they haven't listened to them in a long time.  Bruce seemingly couldn't write "Jungleland" now if he had a gun at his head.

Josh

Name:              Jonathan Moody
E-mail:             Jondoe_555@hotmail.com

Dear Josh:

I don't think this has been asked yet but what are your feelings about producer-writer-director Judd Apatow. He was the one who directed, "The 40 year old Virgin" and "Knocked up" which everyone I know loves. He's also responsible for producing, "Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgandy", "Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby", and "Superbad". He's also produced three tv series' that I have really enjoyed: "The Ben Stiller Show", "Freaks and Geeks", and "Undeclared". Have you seen any of those and if so what were your thoughts?

Your fan,
Jonathan

Dear Jonathan:

I've only seen "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" and was extremely unimpressed.  Mr. Apatow's writing ability seems very limited.  I thought he had a good premise that he had no clue what to do with.

Josh

Name:              Jeff Alede
E-mail:

Dear Josh:         

Have you seen The Documentaries of Louis Malle? A boxed set of them was recently released under the Eclipse label (a sub-label of the Criterion collection). Just wondering if they're worth checking out.

Dear Jeff:

I saw his six- or eight-hour documentary, "Phantom India" (over the course of two nights at the theater), and I enjoyed it very much.  Parts of it really stuck with me, too.  They come across a tribe of people who rarely see outsiders, laugh constantly, are polygamous and have sex with everybody all the time.  These seemed like the happiest people on earth.  You also get to see a Zoroastrian burial ceremony, where they put the corpse on a wooden tower and let the birds eat it.  Interesting stuff.

Josh

Name:              Kevin N.
E-mail:

Dear Josh:         

I saw a good film recently called THE PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS. Even though you know the ending before it even starts, I was still moved when it happened. I like how Will Smith's bosses always asked him for favors at the worst possible moments, he'd always help them to a fault, and it turned out they were testing his character even though its never said out loud. I like all the things he learned over the course of the movie, how to save time by not drinking water and not hanging up the phone in between calls. I like how he learned to finish up early, because he had no choice if he wanted to make it to the shelter. I like how important it was him that he didn't lose those bone-density scanners, and I like how because he cared about his quest, I cared about his character. I thought his son did a good job too. I think its his best film since SIX DEGREES OF SEPARATION, and that's not too much of a stretch, he made a lot of crap between the two films.

Dear Kevin:

Well, I liked "Six Degrees of Separation."  I'll check it out when it comes past me.

Josh

Name:              Tim
E-mail:             NansemondNative

Good Morning Josh.

I just watched an old Clint Eastwood movie (1971) entitled "Play Misty for Me".

I liked it Josh and Eastwood directed it.

I thought the whole premise of this female antagonist was cool as hell.

In addition, the way this stalker wove Annabelle Lee into her scheme was cool too.

We have this very visible villian who is consumed with this DJ and goes to great extremes, including kidnapping his on again off again girlfriend, to get this guys attention. Very "Fatal Attraction" to me.

They didn't get any cuter than Donna Mills in 1971 either.

Neither her character or Eastwood's deserved the misfortune that came their way and I think that is one of the big things that hooked me about it.

Now I already know that "Unforgiven" is tops on your Eastwood list and you are fairly critical of his other efforts.

What did you think about this movie Josh? Do you think it served to establsh later trends as far as other infamous female villians goes? Or do you think it's influence was of minimal impact?

Tim

Dear Tim:

I think "Play Misty For Me" was a helluva an impressive first directorial effort.  By the way, the bartender in the film was played by director, Don Siegel, who had already directed Clint in "Coogan's Bluff" and "Dirty Harry."  And yes, "Fatal Attraction" is a rip-off of "Play Misty For Me." As far as Clint as a director goes, he's very hit-or-miss, and generally misses.  I liked "Play Misty For Me," then didn't like another one until "The Outlaw Josey Wales" five years later (which he took over the direction from Phil Kaufman), then not again until 1992, sixteen years later with "Unforgiven."  I haven't liked anything he's directed since then, either.

Josh

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

Josh,

I read the book "Into the Wild" when it came out in 1997 and I liked the book. The author is John Krakhauer who oddly enough wrote another book called "Into Thin Air" about his disastrous trek up Mount Everest which was documented and filmed in 70mm for IMAX. There was also a made for TV film based on the book called "Into Thin Air: Death on Everest”. t the IMAX film was better, but I had problems with connecting to the climbers in the film.

One of the problems I had with the IMAX film is that they never really gave much of a nod to the camera crew who lugged that 70mm camera and equipment up there with these bozos and almost basically abandoned making the film to help with the rescue and donate many of their oxygen tanks.

I think that would have made for a better story because you don't really connect with the guys who are climbing too much as they are so self absorbed and in the end, you really only care about the guides from Nepal who are far more interesting and the little nod they give to the camera crew who were really the heroes of the expedition.

Anyhow, the kid that the story is about in "Into the Wild" definitely had the energy to do what he did and he was pretty resourceful up until the last bit in Alaska which was his biggest blunder of course.

I hope Penn does a good job with the book. My friend just sent me mp3's of some of the songs from the soundtrack and the whole soundtrack is performed by Eddie Vedder from Pearl Jam. It's pretty good and he does a cover of that 70's song "Hard Sun". I am sure when you hear it, you will remember it.

Good Luck with teaching Film History and I am absolutely sure that it will be the best Class at the MPI.

-Scott

Dear Scott:

Thanks a lot.  It's like reading the behind-the-scenes accounts of making "Lawrence of Arabia" and shlepping 70mm cameras into the Jordan desert, and building their own half-track camera dolly.  Meanwhile, though, I've been watching Ken Burns' "The War," and he has really dug out a lot of incredible footage, and cut it together well.   The way he goes back and forth between color and black and white, like on a tank crossing the foreground, is clever.  And you do get a feel for the mindset of the time, which I think is really important.

Josh

Name:              Alice Schultz
E-mail:             aeschultz333@hotmail.com

Hi Josh,

Yes well, I've been sort of wishing anyway, you bet, that never having gone to the Front, I hadn't gone there now.  As for Fuller's atheism, CS Lewis would have said it is "almost infinitely superior to fatuous contentment with a profane life." If/when such a person ever does convert, though he then kneels down to God he never does that with respect any human being, because he knows that his atheism was more accountable in its season than many a theist's faith ever will be in this life.  I only continue to contend what I was trying to say, that a faith position that really is accountable to human misery is credible,

Alice

Dear Alice:

Okay, whatever you say.  And don't for a minute believe that I'm an Athiest, either.  I don't deny the existence of god, I just think that every human explanation of it is a crock of shit, each as nonsensical and fatuous (to use Mr. Lewis's word) as every other.   Human religions remind me of the bi-ped, human-looking aliens in science fiction stuff like "Star Trek."  Is that really the best you can come up with?  A human form with an extra wrinkle on the forehead and a fake nose?  That's an alien?  Or the messiah is coming?  Or god is judging us and taking notes?  Or we need to kneel and genuflect to invisible beings?  Come on.  How about we all just try to be more friendly and leave god out of it.

Josh

Name:              David R.
E-mail:

Dear Josh:         

I saw "The Road Home" on your favorite films list. I was wondering if it's referring to the film directed by Yimou Zhang (released in 1999)? I quite liked that film, although it is a bit slow at times. When did you last update your favorite films list anyhow?

Dear David:

Yes, I was referring to the Zhang Yimou film.  It's not his best, but it's still a good movie, I think.  I wish he'd stop doing epic historical stuff and get back to dramas, which I believe is his real forte.  As for updating the fav list, Shirley and I have a number of times over the years, as well as adding pages onto the end of the complete film list, that continues to grow, though much more slowly these days.  I'm up to 4,251 with "Factotum." As my buddy Paul said, "'Factotum' would be a pretty good movie if 'Barfly' didn't exist."  Sadly, though, Matt Dillon is just miscast.  Henry Chinaski, just like Charles Bukowski, must be somewhat repellent, but proud.  He's the Greatest Drunk of All, in a world loaded with many drunks.

Josh

Name:              Total Sincerity
E-mail:

Dear Josh:         

I've been reading your forum for years now and I've noticed several mention of your deceased friend Rick. I don't mean to bring up any sad feelings but I was wondering if you could maybe explain Rick's story. I've never fully heard it told, only snipets here and there.

Dear TS:

I'm posting an excerpt from my upcoming memoir, "Going Hollywood," wherein I meet Rick Sandford.  This will give you a tiny bit of Rick when we first met in L.A. in 1977 when I was 18 and he was 26.  Rick was a very good friend and a big influence on me for the eighteen years we knew each other, up until he died in 1995.

Josh

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

Dear Josh:         

I was considering going the Day for Night route, but was curious if in your experience you learned of a cheap way to actually shoot for night. However, day for night here I come!

It's interesting that you say you are starting a teaching job at the Motion Picture Institute of Michigan as I was considering going there and still hope to after I finish up 2 year college here in GA. While it might sound silly to uproot from GA and head to Michigan to a little school like MPI of M, it's actually exactly what I'm looking for. Not too costly, offers housing and focuses on a hands on approach at teaching filmmaking. We don't have anything like that here in GA.

Anyway, maybe I'll be in your class sometime in the near future. How long do you plan on teaching there?

Have a good day!
Trey

Dear Trey:

MPIM has a lot of film equipment, I saw it.  Many 16mm Arriflex cameras, as well as many computer editing set-ups.  They also have a small camera crane and a sound stage.  But they really do need someone teaching film history, and I'm happy to feel that void.  Maybe I'll see you there.

Josh

Name:              Paul 2.0
E-mail:             on request

Dear Josh:         

Have you seen the film "The World's Fastests Indian" starring Anthony Hopkins ? It is a bio pic about New Zealander Burt Monroe who travelled to the US in the early 1960s to race his motorcycle at Utahs Bonneville Salt Flats, and set land speed records there. It was directed by Roger Donaldson and was a long planned project for him. I thought it was mighty fine. Yes it seemed contrived and formulaic like most bio pics but at least it was a rare sports film that wasn't about a heroic underdog american high school boys basketball or football team that WINS THE BIG GAME.  Do you bike by the way ?    I also read that this might be hopkins last movie project. Anyways check it out if just for the New Zealand and Utah landscapes.

Dear Paul 2.0:

I saw the trailer several times, and Hopkins seemed like he had his NZ accent down perfect.  I'll catch it when it's on cable.  I met Roger Donaldson a few times, back when he was making "Marie," then "No Way Out," and he was a very friendly guy.

Josh

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

Dear Josh,

Well congratulations of the teaching gig, and about freakin' time, given that this is a natural calling for you, whether you know it or not.  It really does look like if you hustled like crazy, you could get "Hammer" circulating on the art house theatre circuit, but my guess is that you don't want to expend that much time and effort on it, since that could eat up months of non-income-producing time.  When you say "civilian," would this still be vaguely film-connected, as in industrial/commercial work?

On one tangential note, I saw in USA Today that absinthe is once again legal in Amercia - just go to their site and look in last Friday's Food & > Wine section for details.

And on another, I see from the IMDB that a large number of your crew from "Harpies" worked on Declan and Renee's film "Genesis Code."  In particular, your PA Asya Chakarova, your steadicam guy Nikolai Kerezov, your first AD Ivan Mitov, and the makeup artist Mariana Love (presumably responsible for the crack whores from hell.)  In general was this a good crew to work with, given the limitations of time and $$, and of course the language barrier?

Regards,

August

PS - hoping that Prof. Josh has young co-eds blinking with "I Love You" written on their eyelids....

Dear August:

These screenings just end up costing me money, between shipping the print, making posters (that I never get back), making press kits, etc.  Meanwhile, I bought a bottle of absinthe from Czechoslovakia, that cost $100, and it was so awful I couldn't drink it.  It tasted like mouthwash to me.  You can't blame Mariana for the crack whores.  She would definitely have done a better job with more time, and a little bit of money.  The crack whores were entirely the responsibility of the executive producer, Jeff Franklin, who decided it was a reasonable idea to make an FX movie with no FX budget at all.  As for the rest of the crew, we got through that little nightmare on time, so they did fine, for the most part.  Further details are revealed in "The Making of 'Harpies'," in my upcoming book, "Rushes," if and when it ever comes out.

Josh

Name:              Alice Schultz
E-mail:             aeschultz333@hotmail.com

Hey Josh,

Just want to interject this about the motive for religion:  there are some who think it is plain callousness to profess belief in a loving God when there is so much suffering in the world.  But some say the opposite --  that it is careless to *dis*believe when there is so much suffering --  that disbelief is the ultimate act of desertion of our fellow creatures.

I think when they say there are few atheists in the trenches, this is what they mean.  It's not that a soldier can't look his/her own agonies straight in the face and just be stoical and resign it all to dust.  He could, I bet -- about his own sufferings and death.  He just can't do that to his comrades, about theirs.

As I told you once, I'm a professing RC, so no way will I be trying to deny the Church's own organized crimes against humanity.

Regards,

Alice

Dear Alice:

In writer-director Sam Fuller's autobiography, "A Third Face," where he relates his war experiences at length, and he fought in WWII for over three years, from North Africa, through Italy, across Europe into Germany, he said he never heard a soldier pray once.  He completely disputed the "there's no Athiests in the trenches," saying there were *only* Athiests in the trenches, that the sheer horror of war utterly denied the existence of god, and the only reference he ever heard to god during the war was the contstant use of the epithet "goddamn."

Josh

Name:              Calvin Gray
E-mail:             justadude@home

Hey Josh,

I doubt you remember me from previous correspondences, but I felt like checking in on the Q&A after an extended absence from my mediocre contributions. And I was recently struck by an itch to present you with the following topic.

Film critics and criticism are a frequent subject here on the site, as you often cite the likes of Pauline Kael as worthy names in cinematic analysis. So now that Pauline's no longer with us, and knowing your distaste for the likes of Ebert and even Maltin (though he makes for a much better historian than a critic), are there any currently working critics whom you turn to? If not ones you necessarily agree with, ones whose writing and espoused opinions interest you?

I myself have taken particular interest in "The A.V. Club," an arts & entertainment off-shoot of humor periodical The Onion. They review film, music, books, and even video games (which, like it or not, are becoming a valid form of artistic expression), as well as producing clever blogs and essays on pop culture and various abstract topics. I will say that some of their reviewers don't quite hit the mark for me; they tend to be too lenient towards today's usual manipulative trash art, and sometimes dismissive of more honest efforts.

In particular I've taken a shine to reviewer Nathan Rabin. Not only do most of his opinions mesh well with mine, but he comes up with many of the most intriguing topics for essays. Currently he writes twice-weekly a column called "My Year Of Flops," wherein he searches through overlooked or maligned films for what he calls the "Secret Successes." The column ignores anything with a cult following and any loud trash made for the sake of being trashy, in favor of those which simply died a quiet death. His findings are both funny and enlightening - he's uncovering not only the crap that the public rightly passed up but moreso the hidden gems and honest intentions of filmmakers who couldn't get their due.

If you're at all interested, you can find the "My Year Of Flops" series here: http://www.avclub.com/content/blog/flops

Take care. And good luck with your latest scripts; I'm still holding out hope we get to see The Horribleness in the next couple years.

- Calvin.

Dear Calvin:

I looked it over and it didn't do anything for me.  He's either picking on very bad movies, that have already been sufficiently picked on, or he's trying to convince me that some very bad movies aren't as bad as all that, like that piece of completely unfunny bullshit by Albert Brooks, "Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World."  It seemed to me that Mr. Rabin was simply trying too hard to be funny, which I find annoying.

Josh

Name:              Jeff Alede
E-mail:

Dear Josh:         

Your Alaska Journal (1977) reminds of the newly-released film, "Into the Wild". Of course, you made it back alive. I'm excited to see this film. It seems like Sean Penn really put his heart and soul into it, and Emile Hersch is getting glowing reviews for his performance. You gonna check it out?

Dear Jeff:

The difference is that I hitchhiked to Alaska 20 years earlier than the guy in the movie, and I got out alive.  "Into the Wild" does sound interesting, though, and I'd like to see it.

Josh

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

Dear Josh,

I recall at one point a few years back when you had a number of irons in the fire, you described yourself like the characters in Casablanca, where you wait...and wait...and wait...  Hoping that some things speed back up. I get the impression that your screenings of "Hammer" have gone well, but that you had to do all the legwork to make those happen.  Do you plan on doing more of this?

Also, I'm curious - how have sales of your first book gone?  And what sort of feedback have you gotten?

Regards,

August

Dear August:

Always good to hear from you.  I've run into some serious financial difficulties lately, but I'm powering my way through them.  I'm actually looking for a civilian job, my first in about fifteen years.  I'm also going to be teaching film history at a film school called the Motion Picture Institute of Michigan starting in November.  After the last screening of "Hammer"  I was approached by a person from the Detroit-Windsor Film Festival to show "Hammer" there, and of course I'd be happy to.  Otherwise, that's about it.  Although things seem a tad bleak at the moment, I may still get "The Horribleness" made next summer, when Bruce becomes available once again.  Regarding the book, the sales of the first printing were good, thus causing the second printing, but I'm still waiting on the results of that.  The check and statement are overdue.  As they said in "Aliens," "Stay
frosty."

Josh

Name:              Jeannette Aracri
E-mail:             aracridomenico@libero.it

Dear Josh:         

If you would read about the use of Latin in the Church service you would see that it is allowed. I feel sorry for you and will keep you in my prayers. Would like to see how you change your tune on your death bed.

Dear Jeannette:

Wow, the religious nuts came out today.  Maybe it's an autumnal thing.  Do me a favor, don't pray for me, and I won't pray for you.  I watched my good buddy, Rick, who was ten times the athiest-rationalist that I am, die a very slow painful death, and he never once called out for god, Jesus, Yahweh, unicorns, hobbits or any other mythical creatures.   Everybody doesn't become religious on their deathbed.  Go feel sorry for someone else.

Josh

Name:              Cliff Purcell
E-mail:             cliffpurcell@hotmail.com

Josh,

I just read your article.  Thanks for allowing comments.
I disagree with your article at a number of points as follows:
1.  While not real big on the idea of the Latin Mass, freedom to worship (or not to worship) is an important ideal.  Castigating Gibson and other Catholic Traditionalists for the way they worship isn't exactly noble.
2.  I've never been a fan of Gibson's "blow-'em-up" movies, but I think he did a fine job of acting in Galipoli and The Man Without A Face.  I was raised in an area of the U.S. where the accent might best be described as "rural American south goes country via lack of education"; they haven't mastered the American accent the best, but they're decent folk.  Probably none of them direct as well as Gibson, though-- I thought the music, lighting, and interpretation of Renaissance art were masterfully done in "The Passion of the Christ".  And if Jewish actors can be cast as Gentiles in scores of TV and movie productions, what's the problem with a Gentile depicting Jesus?  Do you really have a moral or artistic objection to Gibson's casting of Caviezel?  It seems like since we're talking about acting-- a person portraying someone they're not-- that genetics shouldn't be determinative.
3. Do you know any good religious people?  There are millions of them out there.  There are millions of idiots and poor examples, too, but that doesn't negate the good hearts and deeds of the genuine folks.  To make blanket generalities like you did might be a better example of "mindlessness" or people who are too lazy to think or speak accurately. And judging anything by its worst examples is foolhardy and prejudicial. Surely you wouldn't want the world to discount your work because of the existence of the people who made "The Dukes of Hazzard" or "Talladega Nights" or "Little Nicky"?
4.  I know many religious people of the Evangelical Christian variety; I pastor a few hundred of them.  What I see among the people I serve is precious little of the "I'm right and you're wrong," thinking that you project upon all religionists, and more of the "I've been wrong and done wrong; God, please help me to change so that I can make the world a better place, rather than riding it as it spirals into the dirt."  You should meet and get to know some good religious people.  They're not hard to find.  They are hard to dislike, however, because they don't fit in the stereotypes in which they've all been cast.
5.  Should you ever want to meet such people, just email me-- I live in a great resort town on the wilderness fringe... an ideal place for shooting a movie... perhaps a movie about a guy who prejudges religious people, then meets some in a small town who are the real deal, and convince him to reconsider his own hatred for them.
6.  I'm not angry, and hope that my pointed remarks aren't mistaken for being venemous in intent.  I simply wanted to point out that there seemed to be some problems with the integrity of your argument.  If you'd like to discuss these things further, I'd be glad to do so.  And since I worked as an auto mechanic while working my way through seminary, the f-bombs and other profanity won't exactly shock me.  So just be the real you if you want to discuss these things.  Again, thanks for taking comments.  I'm eager to hear your response.

Dear Cliff:

To me religion is voodoo, all of it.  You're basing your life and your morality on fairy tales.  And if you're willing to suspend rational thought and allow superstion to rule your life, then you and your flock are probably easily swayed by TV news and our idiot government into believing horseshit like fighting in Iraq has something to do with the "war on terror" or avenging 9/11.  To me being religious means you're a sucker, and that you're willing to believe things that have absolutely no basis in reality.  I am not for one minute saying that all religious people are bad, and I have no doubt that many, many of them are very good people, but they're still suckers.  As Mark Twain said, and I quote for the hundreth time, "Faith is believing in what you know ain't so."  Faith is the suspension of rational thought, and as soon as you do that you're open to any irrational concept, like Yahweh is the real god and Allah, Zoroaster and Vishnu are the false, profane gods.  Meanwhile, Mel Gibson's "Passion of the Christ" is nothing but violent, moronic pornography, as far as I'm concerned, and a severely bad film.  Although the cinematographer, Caleb Deschanel, is a great DP, that is an example of his lesser work (check out "The Black Stallion" or "The Natural" for his better work).  I am a Rationalist, and if you don't find that "noble," I don't care.  I sincerely believe that religious people are at the heart of far too many problems on our planet.

Josh

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

Dear Josh:         

Quick question.

Do you know of a cheap way of lighting a night scene that takes place outside with no light sources other than the moon?

Thanks!
Trey

Dear Trey:

Yeah, it's called Day for Night.  You actually shoot in the daytime, stop down and add a blue filter.  If you're shooting digital you can stop down and add the blue in post.  You can actually do the same thing in post with film as well, during the color timing.  If "cheap" weren't the key word here, you could also achieve what you're looking for with an item called a China Ball, which is an inflatable white balloon that you illuminate with a movie light from the ground and it lights up a big area all from one direction, like the moon.  But the China Ball, the helium, and the movie lights all cost money.  Shoot Day for Night.

Josh

Name:              David
E-mail:

Hi Josh,

Thanks for the "3-F" tip with regard to shooting with a wind-up Bolex.  I used that on a short narrative shoot before every shot so at least I didn't screw that part up.

On this little no-budget shoot, I used a 250-watt photoflood light, and I was barely getting exposures unless the light was right up on the actor and I was framing pretty tight (with fastest Kodak B & W reversal stock, ASA 160).  This is partly due to the reflex cameras losing light to the viewfinder, but still...

My question is, wasn't the bolex intended to be a "memory machine", a tool for home movies?  If so, how did Joe Blow deal with not being able to shoot his indoor family Xmas because of lack of light?  I guess faster b & w stocks used to be available, just like faster color stocks now, but those are too expensive for my stuff.  I guess film used to be cheap enough that everyone could buy the stock they needed...?  How is your pal Paul handling this (of course, perhaps issues like this are why it's at 10 years and counting)?

Anyway, hope you're not bored by my bolex questions.  Thanks for your time.

Dear David:

I think that Bolex cameras were always a bit too expensive for the average family, and if they did buy one, I'll just bet that 99 times out of 100 they never figured out how to use it properly.  That's why there's still quite a few used Bolex cameras for sale that are almost brand new.  The first one I found, that Paul bought, was $125 with three extra lenses.  When I finally bought one myself a few years later, the cheapest one I could find on the internet was $1,000 with three extra lenses, one of which was a large, electric zoom.  Meanwhile, a 250-watt photoflood isn't a very strong light. Clearly, you need to move up to at least 500-watt bulbs, and it might be a wise idea to beg, borrow or steal a couple of small, 1,000-watt movie lights, like mini-Moles.

Josh

Name:              A.J.
E-mail:             ajky1111@hotmail.com

Hey Josh,

  I just got through watching Dvid Lynch's "Eraserhead" for probably the 100th time.Its absolutley one of my favorite films ever.I noticed it was on your list of favorite films.I love how its left for everyone to have a diffrent interpretation. So I have to ask you, whats your interpretation of what "Eraserhead" is about?

Dear A.J.:

I saw it twice 25 years ago, and other than the cool visuals, I have no interpretation.  I guess skull matter makes the best erasers.

Josh

Name:              Kristie
E-mail:

Hello Josh,

I know you're a Harlan Ellison fan, so I thought I'd pass on some links to you.

First and foremost, a brand new radio interview with the man from September 21 (he was in Cleveland, Ohio this week for a tribute and a screening of a new documentary on his life):

http://www.wcpn.org/index.php/WCPN/an/2007/09/21/

Here's the official website about the aforementioned new Ellison documentary, "Dreams With Sharp Teeth":

www.creatvdiff.com/harlan_ellison.php

There you can view a trailer for the film, as well as footage from a recent screening, and videos of Harlan Ellison performing various writings.

And a three part "Dark Dreamers" interview from a few years back is on YouTube and is also much worth noting:

Part One: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IFJX7LP_dxQ
Part Two: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tZgsW_pAs80
Part Three: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lI2XuMoQOCU

Good old Harlan...

Dear Kristie:

Thanks.  I listened to the interview and, as always with Ellison, I had fun.

Josh

Name:              I just watched Running Time
E-mail:

Dear Josh:         

Hiyo! I just watched Running Time and I loved it. I only have two parts of the movie that kinda bothered me. Nothing serious though. I'm not a cock hole who's gonna come on here and bash you. You did better than I could do.

The two areas of question though are the part where the friend keeps saying "pfft, fuck it." when he's trying to convince Bruce to go through with the robbery. I thought the second time the "pfft" wasn't important to say again, but no big worry.

The other part was when the hooker towards the end of the movie talks out loud to herself like a soap opera actress. I loved her acting, but that just wasn't good for her to speak aloud. A friend while watching it said "They couldn't do a voice over?" and I kind of agreed.

I was just wondering what made you decide to do things this way, instead of more conventional ways. I hope it doesn't sound like I'm being a cocky bitch or anything, that was never my goal when I decided to post.

I love you, but not in a queer way,
Running Time Fan

Dear IJWRT:

There are no "pfft"s in the script at all, Jeremy Roberts put them both in during that take.  And voice-over thoughts didn't seem appropriate to me, whereas if you're alone, talking to yourself isn't all that weird, I don't think.  Anyway, I'm glad you enjoyed the film.

Josh

Name:              Susan Reno
E-mail:             renomom@gmail.com

Dear Josh:         

When will "If I had a hammer" be available on DVD?

Dear Susan:

Seemingly never.

Josh

Name:              Kevin N.
E-mail:

Josh,

Are there any specific good books you know of on Lillian Hellman, Gregg Toland, and John Huston?

Dear Kevin:

Lillian Hellman wrote several autobiographies, including "Pentimento" and "Scoundrel Time," both of which I enjoyed.  John Huston's autobiography, "An Open Book," was also very good.  I haven't seen a book on Toland.

Josh

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

Dear Josh:

Just bought the book, "Adventures in the screen trade". And am getting, "Which lie did I tell". I think William Goldman has had a very fantastic career. He was at the golden age where movies were actually worth making and not just rehashing the same crap. Princess Bride is by far one of my favorite films of all time. I know now he has kind of lost his way and his last picture being, "Dreamcatcher" was quite a disappointment to me. But at least to me he can say he wrote a few really good movies. And has had a lot of insight to share. What are your thoughts on Goldman?

Your fan,
Jonathan

Dear Jonathan:

Lost his way?  He's old.  It's amazing he still works.  William Goldman and Alvin Sargent are certainly the two oldest working screenwriters. Meanwhile, I liked both of those books a lot.  The last part where he has his short script broken down by all the various departments I only found moderately interesting, but his stories about the film business are great. It's been about 20 years since he codified the law of Hollywood, "Nobody knows anything," and it's only become more and more true with each passing year.  Also, in case you're interested, I thought the book of "The Princess Bride" was better than the movie, and I liked the movie.  In fact, I liked all of Goldman's early novels, like "Boys and Girls Together" and "Temple of Gold."

Josh

Name:              Jeff Getrost- USMC
E-mail:             57lowel@cfl@rr.com

Dear Josh:         

Never Give In and Never Surrender. I love this site. I am planning an re-enactment of this Battle for a bunch of Middle Schoolers and High Schoolers. They need to see that their freedoms were bought and paid for by men of outstanding moral and tough fiber.

Semper Fi and there is no such thing as a former Marine.

Jeff Getrost

Dear Jeff:

I assume you mean the Battle of Belleau Wood, right?  My buddy Gerry Kissell, who started this website and is a retired (not former) U.S. Army combat medic, may just get that script made into a graphic novel.  He works almost entirely with veterans, and they've got two Iraq War graphic novels done, or nearly done.  The artwork is terrific, and I really hope he does Belleau Wood. [http://www.charliefoxtrotfilms.com] Speaking of Marines, (this is a spoiler if you haven't seen the film) I was amazed by that whole plot thread in "World Trade Center," that a Marine Staff Sergeant walked right into the smoldering rubble of the WTC on the night of 9-11, when all of the other rescue workers had stopped for the night, and found those two Port Authority policemen -- the 18th and 19th out of only 20 survivors.  When he finds them and the cop yells, "Don't leave us!" and the Marine replies, "I won't leave you, you're my mission now," it's a great, great moment.  You know they're getting out of there because this Marine has made it his mission, and he sure as hell isn't going to fail.

Josh

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

Hey Josh,

I must disagree with your assesment of the Bolex cameras as being "cheap pieces of junk" when in fact they are built like tanks and you could probaly drop the thing from three stories and it would still work (although the lens would be trashed), and if you compare these cameras with all the pro-sumer video cameras that are made now, the Bolex is like a Rolex when it comes to quality in design and longevity as everything that is made now is made with friggn' plastic and will break at the drop of a hat.

Also, the movement in those cameras is very good and very solid which makes sense as they are made in Switzerland and I have actually been to Bolex in Switzerland and it is a really cool place to visit.

On the other hand, I do agree with you about the standard lenses for the Bolex as they are pretty bad, but the fact is that Paul has been shooting his film with this camera for 10 years, so he has a lot of experience with knowing how that camera captures images and it is great to see that he has shot some beautiful images with it.

There is something about the images you can get with a Bolex and I think it is pretty special really and something that will most likely be totally forgotten in about 20 years from now.

Just my two camera cents.

-Scott

Dear Scott:

Man, you keep calling me out and being right and I'm going to have to come to Brazil and bitch slap you.  No, Bolexes are not cheap pieces of junk --  I'm a Bolex owner after all -- but they are the very low-end of 16mm cameras.  I'd trade mine in for any Arriflex camera any day of the week. I'm always surprised as hell when I see the footage and it frequently looks so good.  But yes, Paul and I have both been shooting with Bolexes now for quite a few years and we both have the hang of it.  Also, Paul generally chooses beautiful days on which to shoot.  On our last shoot, Paul made me do a pan and a zoom and find him on a wooded ridge hidden among the trees, and even though my Bolex is a reflex model, once you've stopped down you can't see anything.  The fact that shots like this actually work is a miracle.  But they do.

Josh

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