Q & A    Archive
Page 166

Name:              molli
E-mail:             fmoc@wanadoo.fr
Date:               01/26/12

Dear Josh :

hello. We have seen your movie called "Stan lee Harpies" , on a french channel. This movie was classified "Horror" or "Science Fiction" . However we have spend more a good time of fun as with "Monty Python and the Holy Grail". We're curious to know in which category you classified yourself this movie. We're sorry for the syntax and the orthograph. Thanks for your patience , apprecitiation and your movies.

Dear molli:

I'd classify the film as "Crap." If you got some laughs out of it, good on you. That's more than I got.

Josh

Name:              silvino regalado
E-mail:             silvinoregalado@hotmail.ca
Date:               01/18/12

Dear Josh :

right on |||||||| couldnt agree with you more, get rid of religion and 99% of the worlds problems would be solved overnight. only agnostisicm,(i dont consider it a religion)but rather a personal belief when someone can say to themselves, I DONT KNOW, what will happen when i die and that it wont influence how i live my life, then this world will finally be a place that i can call home.

Dear silvino:

I don't know about 99%, with all of that race, gender, and sexual orientation bullshit still going on, but a lot of it. And whether you like it or not, this world is still your home. Ine, too.

Josh

Name:              Chris
E-mail:             chriskilgour11@gmail.com
Date:               01/18/12

Hey Josh :

So good to see that TSNKE is finally coming out on Blu Ray. Can't wait to get my copy!! Any chance Running Time will be out on Blu Ray anytime soon? Chris

Dear Chris:

It may very well happen, but not soon. I'd love to see "Running Time" on Blu-Ray, too.

Josh

Name:              David R.
E-mail:            
Date:               01/18/12

Dear Josh :

Have you seen these carved book sculptures? http://thechive.com/2012/01/03/if-youre-going-to-destroy-a-book-this-is-the-only-way-to-do-it-17-hq-photos/

Dear David:

They're very interesting, but I still don't like the idea of destroying books, even for the sake of art. Books are sacred to me.

Josh

Name:              Mareo
E-mail:             Mareo1997@gmail.com
Date:               01/18/12

Dear Josh :

Keep speaking the truth. You open my eyes further.

Dear Mareo:

OK, man. But don't open your eyes too wide or your eyeballs will fall out, which is a hassle.

Josh

Name:              Brian
E-mail:             mackbrockton@aol.com
Date:               01/18/12

Dear Josh :

What are some of the most common reasons why actors are not credited in a movie they were involved in?

Dear Brian:

I'd say the main reason is that they don't want the credit. If it's a SAG film and they are SAG actors, you can't deny them credit unless they don't want it, or whatever reasons of their own.

Josh

Name:              Barbara
E-mail:             southerncomfort@yahoo.com
Date:               01/13/12

Hi Josh :

hope you are well. Renee O'connor said earlier this year that she had a crush on someone that work on the show but he thought of her a younger sister; she said he broke her heart--um that wasn't you was it.? anyway do you having any directing or writing projects lined up-- I would love to see you direct something with Renee and Ted R.. they have wonderful chemistry together--- such fun seeing them on screen together would love to see them in something new..anyways good luck.

Dear barbara:

I wish it was me, but I don't think I was who she was referring to. Renee and I got along wonderfully, but it was strictly an actor-director relationship. I'm presently writing a script for good old Bruce Campbell, which I'm not at liberty to discuss. I'd love to make a film with Renee and Ted, but who knows what the future holds in store?

Josh

Name:              Marc Thalmann
E-mail:            
Date:               01/07/12

Dear Josh :

Happy New Year. What is your take on this "technology" in modern tv's, called TrueMotion or Auto Motion Plus? I personally hate it. Whoever invented it, deserves good Old Testament punishment. But worse are those who love it. I can\'t believe that some people - mental cases - want to tell me, they don't see any difference, but even further, that the picture looks more realistic. Switching between fps doesn't make any film/ series/commercial look realistic, but spastic!!! Movements are far far away from being natural. People walk and talk like squids!!! It looks like camcorderfootage. Maybe they should ask Hollywood to switch.

Dear Marc:

I didn't even know what you were talking about, so I looked it up and they're simply compression systems. Well, compressing the image is never a great idea. That's why Blu-Ray looks so good, it reasonably uncompressed.

Josh

Name:              Diana
E-mail:             upon request
Date:               01/07/12

Dear Josh :

I found young Elizabeth Taylor's cloying pronunciation of "the Pie" the one hindrance in enjoying that classic. Mickey Rooney as a sort of geriatric version of Mi in Francis Ford Coppola's "The Black Stallion" is terrific, as is the dialog-sparse film itself. "Seabiscuit" was worthwhile, although the "2nd chances, and against the odds" theme and the plot of "overcoming lumps life gives you" and "acheving with faith from others" was mitigated for me with the footnote from the book that the trainer may have employed cruel practices to train his racehorses (sponges stuffed up their noses). I think the contribution horses and dogs had in our conflicts is worth examining in a film or two. When Xena wrapped, Lucy supposedly bought, then retired, one of the "Argo"'s(Where? Her own property?)but I wonder which one: Tilly did the close-up stuff, Barbie did the rearing, kicking, tricks, and Mac did the galloping work on 2nd unit. I take it you're talking about "Tilly" not liking Lucy?

Dear Diana:

Always a pleasure to hear from you. Yes, it was Tilly that Lucy had issues with, and was the "Argo" that I generally worked with, the other two were mainly on 2nd unit. I think Lucy simply had some issues with horses after falling and breaking her hip. Luckily for me, I never had to ride any horses on the show. And I think "National Velvet" is a terrific picture and Elizabeth Taylor couldn't be any better. So there. She was a great kid actor. She broke my heart in "Jane Eyre," and I just saw her in "Lassie, Come Home" and she was good in that, too. "The Black Stallion," though beautifully shot, I found to be a rather soulless movie. Jeff Bridges just annoyed me in "Seabiscuit."

Josh

Name:              David R.
E-mail:            
Date:               12/30/11

Dear Josh :

Glad you're alive. Did you ever get around to watching The Social Network?

Dear David:

Not yet. It hasn't been on HBO or Showtime yet. Strangely, I think, neither channel has shown any of the Oscar nominees from last year yet. I'm not sure what's going on. Were it not for the boxing I'd cancel both of them.

Josh

Name:              David R.
E-mail:            
Date:               12/27/11

Dear Josh :

Are you alive? Hope you're having a nice holidays.

Dear David:

No, I've died. I'm the ghost of Chistmas past. Or Hannukah past. The holidays came and went, which is fine with me. Now to just get through New Years and I can reboot for 2012.

Ho, ho, ho.

Josh

Name:              Paul
E-mail:            
Date:               12/27/11

Hi Josh :

Since the big christmas movie was Speilberg's "War Horse" I thought I send in an equine question. [As for "War Horse", I did see an earlier screening and found it like a pinball machine ,plotwise, you shoot out your main character (Horse goes to WW1) it hits all the targets then it lands back where it came from, and as interesting and affecting to me as that, which was not much] Anyways that aside my question is about your experience working on Xena which used a bunch of horses. Or you can talk about to me a better horse opera like "National Velvet", your call.

Dear Paul:

Even though I'm particularly interested in WWI to the extent that I wrote the script "Devil Dogs: The Battle of Belleau Wood" about WWI, I must say that "War Horse" looks particularly stupid to me. Of the trillion and one stories to tell about WWI, that looks like the least interesting. As a little historical note: did you know that at the Battle of the Somme you had Captain Harry Truman, Lieutenant George Patton, and Corporal Adolf Hitler all in the same battle? Anyway, yes, I worked with horses quite a lot on Xena, and though I like horses, I found them to be a big pain in the ass to work with. If you have 10 trained riders on horses ride past, then you need them to all turn around and come back to one to try again, it's a 20 minute ordeal. What was amusing on Xena was that Xena and her horse were supposed to have this telepathically close relationship and that horse did not like Lucy. In "Harpies" I had a bunch of scenes with actors on horses, which is always ridiculous. Within ten seconds of the first scene one of the actors fell off the horse and hurt himself. I liked "National Velvet" very much, but it's not like I gave a crap about the horse, it was little Elizabeth Taylor and Mickey Rooney I cared about. I saw "Secretariat" recently and I didn't give a shit about that horse, either, or the people, for that matter (oh, dear, the rich people might lose their $6 million farm if the horse doesn't win the race). I don't think I've ever given a damn about a horse in a movie, and I've seen quite a few westerns.

Josh

Name:              george rice
E-mail:             grice2@myglnc.com
Date:               12/23/11

Dear Josh :

I enjoy watching world war 11 movies. However; based on true stories, battles, etc. In your opinion: What is the best world war 11 movie made? True or Fitctional. Thank you, George Rice

Dear George:

I'm not sure about this "Best" thing, however there are many terrific films set during WWII: The Bridge on the River Kwai, The Longest Day, To Hell and Back, Destination Tokyo, Pride of the Marines, Air Force, Wake Island, Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison, Mrs. Miniver, Bataan, Battleground, Objective Burma!, The Story of G.I. Joe, They Were Expendable, Casablanca . . . It goes on and on. Watch those and let us know what you think.

Josh

Name:              steve
E-mail:             stephen-d-james@hotmail.com
Date:               12/23/11

Dear Josh :

Hi - no question - just a brief email to say your article on religion is brilliant. best wishes steve (UK Norwich)

Dear Steve:

Thanks. Happy holidays.

Josh

Name:              Gus Phillips
E-mail:             diddlymike@lycos.com
Date:               12/23/11

Dear Josh :

I just read an interview with Jay Bauman, who is one of the two guys behind those "Mr. Plinkett" internet videos that dissect the problems in the Star Wars prequels. He mentioned he had done a short film using a few snippets of dialogue from your movie Lunatics: A Love Story. Here it is on YouTube, in case you haven't seen it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oYm9mG3ULWg

Dear Gus:

It's all lines from "Lunatics," although I must say it was much of film.

Josh

Name:              Jason Roth
E-mail:             oxboy30@gmail.com
Date:               12/23/11

Dear Josh :

Awesome, your cartoon voice role will have some choice lines. Site seems a bit quiet lately, hopefully all is well? Best, Jason

Dear Jason:

Yes, it has been quiet, but that's because I was on vacation and not answering my emails. But I'm back, baby.

Josh

Name:              Jan B
E-mail:             1901 Mountain Brook Dr
Date:               12/23/11

Dear Josh :

When you begin scouting locations in another state, who are the first people you reach out to?

Dear Jan B:

The state film commission, which usually has books of locations photos. Also, just go to the states websites that often have photos of the prettiest areas in the state.

Josh

Name:              Jack
E-mail:            
Date:               12/23/11

Dear Josh :

Hi. Regarding your own work, how would you rank your Films in terms of being good, very good or great, and what about the Screenplays you've written but not filmed? Where do you rank yourself as a Writer/Filmmaker? Also, Merry Christmas!

Dear Jack:

From my POV I'd say my best film is "Running Time," although I'm very partial to "If I Had a Hammer," but "Lunatics" and TSNKE are my babies, too. I like many of my screenplays, particularly "Devil Dogs: The Battle of Belleau Wood" and "Teddy Roosevelt in the Badlands." Whether any of these things are any good or not is up to everybody else, not me. Where do I rank as a director-writer? I'm just one more filmmaker in the scheme of things.

Josh

Name:              David R.
E-mail:            
Date:               11/23/11

Dear Josh :

Are you familiar with any of Michael Shannon's work as an actor? He stars in the recent film "Take Shelter", which although I liked somewhat (it was too long), his performance, and one scene in particular, is a powerhouse.

Dear David:

I like Michael Shannon a lot. I think he's very good. He really did a great job in "Bug," "Revolutionary Road," "World Trade Center" and "Shotgun Stories." I'll keep my eyes peeled for "Take Shelter."

Josh

Name:              Jason Roth
E-mail:             oxboy30@gmail.com
Date:               11/19/11

Hey Josh :

It was a pleasure finally meeting you at Flint Horror Con. I'm taking Going Hollywood with me on my vacation trip up North. Good to hear you and Bruce are cooking up some new projects. The American Film Market was quite an experience! Everyone there was more laid-back and amiable than I expected. One finance/distribution company showed some interest in my little animated movie. Whether or not they want to throw $$$ at it is, of course, another matter. My question: would you consider doing an animated voiceover cameo role in my flick? It'd be an honor to have you in there somewhere. All the best, JR

Dear Jason:

It was a pleasure meeting you. I'd be happy to do a voice part.

Josh

Name:              Steve
E-mail:             sdcorder@att.net
Date:               11/19/11

Hey Josh :

Another question. What was the inspiration for "Devil Dogs"? How long did it take from research to script conclusion? Thanks.

Dear Steve:

It was a long process. It took several years. I wrote it, then met the director Noel Black ("Pretty Poison," good movie) at a DGA fuction and pitched it to him. He thought it was interesting and said he'd read the script, which he kindly did. His comment afterward was, "What's the point?" I lamely replied, "Well, we had to win the war." He said, "Not good enough." Maybe two years later I read a quote that said, "Anger is the whetstone of valor" and I suddenly understood my lead character's motivation, so I rewrote the script. I'm very proud of that script.

Josh

Name:              Steve Corder
E-mail:             sdcorder@att.net
Date:               11/19/11

Dear Josh :

Why have you not produced The Battle of Belleau Wood?

Dear Steve:

You got the money? I shoot it tomorrow.

Josh

Name:              Jason L
E-mail:            
Date:               11/19/11

Dear Josh :

Regarding "head shot". The fatal shot came from the Pergola not the grassy knoll. The trail of matter from the bullet visibly on frame 313 on the Zapruder film clearly reveals the trajectory of the bullet as coming from a little to the left of Zapruder. Jack Ruby was sent to Dallas originally by the Chicago outfit, not from New Orleans. He was under Giancana, not Marcello. He killed Oswald because it was his responsibility, not because he owed them anything. He knew that if he didn't, he would suffer a fate far worse than death. Other than that, this is the best I've seen. I hope this gets done. We really need a sensible take on this story.

Dear James:

I say Jack Ruby came from Chicago and worked for Giancana. The head shot clearly came from Zapruder's right. But thanks for liking it anyway.

Josh

Name:              Robert
E-mail:             curtaincall6@gmail.com
Date:               11/17/11

Dear Josh :

Have you ever been 3/4's finished with a film and had to re cast a major role? or have an actor seem to lose intrest in the project. How did you handel it? I would hate to have to recast this part, but I know I've got to do what I need to do. Did you try working with the actor first or just move on? Thanks

Dear Robert:

I've actually never run into that situation. I've recast parts a day or two into shooting, but not that far. Maybe you can try offering them more money.

Josh

Name:              David
E-mail:            
Date:               11/13/11

Dear Josh :

Did you see the Marquez-Pacquiao fight?

Dear David:

No, I'll see it next week on HBO. But it sounds like many people felt that Pacquiao didn't really win. He just squeaked by on the cards with a majority decision. But, as the old saying goes, you have to take the belt from the champion, definitively. If it's close it's going to the champ.

Josh

Name:              David R.
E-mail:            
Date:               11/11/11

Dear Josh :

Pretty tough Final Jeopardy! question today: who are the first 2 sisters to be nominated for the same Academy Award in the same year? Nobody on the show got it and neither did I.

Dear David:

I haven't looked at any book. Olivia de Havilland and Joan Fontaine.

Josh

Name:              David R.
E-mail:            
Date:               11/08/11

Dear Josh :

Who do you think is the best fighter (boxer) of all time? The recent passing of Joe Frazier got me thinking about this.

Dear David:

Farewell, Smokin' Joe. He was a great fighter, and he really kicked the snot out of Muhammed Ali. Joe thought he had the last laugh on Ali by keeping his brain together, but I guess Ali now gets the last laugh. Look, many of the greatest fighters were before my time: Jack Johnson, Gene Tunney, Joe Louis, Max Baer, Jake LaMotta, Sugar Ray Robinson, etc. Sugar Ray Robinson seemed like an exceptionally great fighter from the fights I've seen. Within my perspective, I liked Mike Tyson and Lennox Lewis, and I still like Floyd Mayweather, jr., Carl Froch, Andre Ward, and Manny Pacquiao. There are no interesting heavyweights these days.

Josh

Name:              Scott
E-mail:            
Date:               11/05/11

Dear Josh :

Speaking of Leo's miscasting in J. Edgar, aside from bad scripts permeating Hollywood, don't you think the plague of the man-boys is another large contributing factor to why movies are so terrible these days? It seems as if Hollywood royally fucked up about 15 years ago when they decided to put all of their chips into the youth market. Because of that they've been casting teen idol types in films that need seasoned actors with true chops. Back in the 70s actors like De Niro, Pacino, Keitel, Hoffman, and many others were cast because they were great actors not because they looked like underwear models. I feel if a young Dustin Hoffman made a go of it today, he be kicked out of the casting office, the same goes for John Wayne. In addition to lousy scripts, incompetent directors, and clueless studio executives, do you think this is a contributing factor to why film is becomming irrelevant?

Dear Scott:

I've been bitching about this for years. We no longer have anyone like: Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas, Gregory Peck, Robert Mitchum, John Wayne, Richard Widmark, Victor McLaglen, Anthony Quinn, etc., etc. etc. It's mainly baby-faced boys, with a few exceptions like George Clooney or Javier Bardeem. Which isn't to say that Leonardo and Johnny Depp and Brad aren't good actors, they are. But the actors are much softer and less masculine than before.

Josh

Name:              Jack
E-mail:             jackco08@hotmail.com
Date:               11/05/11

Dear Josh :

Hi, Jack from the UK. Just doing my Christmas List and have put the stuff from your DVD/Bookstore on, but I was just wondering if those Super-Deluxe releases of Thou Shalt Not Kill... and Running Time w/Docs, Commentaries etc. were Blu-Ray only, and if so, what are the "best" DVD's available. Also, how about an Xmas theme this year. Was sad to not see the Halloween one not make a return.

Dear Jack:

I'm not certain of the release date, but the super-deluxe blu-ray version of TSNKE, including all of it's extras, which includes a 34 minute doc I watched and liked, as well as a re-scored version of "Stryker's War," is done. They're simply doing the packaging now. Check out the Synapse Films site.

Josh

Name:              Trey Smith
E-mail:             vgntrey@gmail.com
Date:               11/05/11

Dear Josh :

Have you seen the trailer to Werner Herzog's latest documentary "Into the Abyss", which is about the death penalty in America? I love Herzog and his documentaries are always fascinating, as I expect this one will be. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5uV1_Yc8OSw

Dear Trey:

It does look interesting. Werner Herzog is an extremely good filmmaker, and one of the few left.

Josh

Name:              David R.
E-mail:            
Date:               11/05/11

Dear Josh :

J. Edgar looks interesting. And based on the clips I've seen, Leonardo DiCaprio continues to impress with his acting chops.

Dear David:

Leo tries hard. And even though the film does look kind of interesting, Leo looks severely miscast. He still has a baby face and J. Edgar Hoover looked like an old Bassett hound. Still, Clint is worth paying attention to.

Josh

Name:              Si
E-mail:            
Date:               11/05/11

Hello Josh :

Very long time, no write, but I've been busy. Hope all's well. Currently, I'm three movies into the fourteen disc Hitchcock collection: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Hitchcock-Disc-Box-Set-DVD/dp/B000BND224 So far, I've seen "Rope", which I found straightforward, but slick and enjoyable, with James Stewart as his usual reliable self. (The "one take" gimmick added little or nothing to the film for me.) Then I tried "The Trouble With Harry" which was a little underwhelming. Maybe comedy wasn't Hitch's strong suit. Now I've just seen Shadow Of A Doubt, and I think it's the best of the three, thanks to better atmosphere and characterisation. I also loved the black and white photography, and Joseph Cotten was superb. (What happened to Teresa Wright, though?) Trouble is, the film doesn't seem as fresh now because so many filmmakers (particularly Spielberg) have clearly been influenced by it. What do you think? Next, I think I'll try "Family Plot". I'm saving the supposed "best" ones ("Vertigo", "Psycho" and "Rear Window") til last. What was your favourite film in this box set? Si

Dear Si:

Sounds like a terrific box set, and you've got a lot of great viewing ahead of you. No, Hitch wasn't very good at comedy. Neither "The Trouble With Harry" nor "Mr. and Mrs. Smith (his other flat-out comedy) are funny. "Family Plot," which suspense/comedy isn't funny, either, although it does have a few good suspense scenes. "Rope" never impressed me, other than the one-take gimmick that I borrowed for "Running Time" (if you haven't seen RT, check it out). There are many folk who think "Shadow of a Doubt" is Hitchcock's best film, but I disagree. It's a good one, with nice atmosphere and photography, but it's exactly what what you think it is, and the obviousness always got me down. I love Theresa Wright and she was absolutely great for about a decade, 1941 - 1953. Her first film was Wlliam Wyler's "The Little Foxes," which is brilliant (and nominated for an Oscar). Then she was in Wyler's "Mrs. Miniver" and won an Oscar, then "Pride of the Yankees," where she was nominated again. Three out of three ain't bad. Then she was in Wyler's "The Best Years of Our Lives." She did a few more decent films, then retired in 1959. The best in the set are: Psycho, Rear Window, Vertigo, Saboteur, Frenzy, then Torn Curtain.

Josh

Name:              Amy
E-mail:             amyjohnson.rd@gmail.com
Date:               11/03/11

Hi Josh :

Don't hate me for asking this question, but are you on Twitter? If so, what is your handle? Would be interesting to see you on there. Thanks! -Amy

Dear Amy:

It's a perfectly rational question. No, I'm not.

Josh

Name:              Michael
E-mail:             Otaku2012@gmail.com
Date:               11/02/11

Dear Josh :

I wanted to ask you two questions: 1. Do you have a job for me? 2. Can yo please read my script? Just kidding!!! Here my comment: I\'m reading your book about low-budget feature filmmaking. It is great. At the moment I am working as an actor in a no-budget movie and the director right today made one of the mistakes you mentioned in your books: pissing of he actors - in this case, me! I instantly thougt of your book and understood what you meant, when you say that you always want to create a good atmosphere. hat was a very important lesson for me. Thank you very much and keep up the good vibe. Cheers, Michael

Dear Michael:
 
A movie set is a tense place because of all the pressure to get what you need in the amount of time you have.  It's part of the director's job to make sure that pressure doesn't make its way to the actors.  Actors, for the most part, won't give you their best if you're rushing them or leaning on them hard.  You have to create a space wherein the actors can work comfortably, and without feeling too rushed.  Or you end up with pissed off actors, like you.
 
Josh

Name:              Charles
E-mail:             Chaswe@aol.com
Date:               11/01/11

Dear Josh :

Why haven't you listed "Two Lane Blacktop" or "The Hit (Terence Stamp)" in your best films?

Dear Charles:

Believe it or not, I've never seen "Two-Lane Blacktop." I actually read the script, way back when, and I've met Monte Hellman a number of times. "The Hit" ought to be on the list. Thank you. That's a good picture, with great atmosphere, and great actors. John Hurt, Tim Roth and Terrence Stamp are all great. It was merely an oversight.

Josh

Name:              maddie
E-mail:             astaroth566@gmail.com
Date:               10/31/11

Hi Josh :

what are your plans for this Helloween?

Dear Maddie:

I'll give candy to kids, should they show up.

Josh

Name:              eugen
E-mail:            
Date:               10/26/11

Dear Mister Becker:

where i can find Sam Raimi's ''It's Murder!''


Dear eugen:

"It's Murder" isn't my movie and I don't even have a copy of it.

Josh

Name:              Russ
E-mail:            
Date:               10/23/11

Dear Josh:

Have you ever worked with John Schulian? Was he a good head writer?


Dear Russ:

I ostensibly worked with John Schulian. But I was in New Zealand shooting and he was in Hollywood writing. I'm not sure if we ever made in person.

Josh

Name:              Jack
E-mail:             jackco08@hotmail.com
Date:               10/23/11

Dear Josh:

Jack from the UK. Sent a question about a week ago or more but it seems not to have gone through. I was wondering what your thoughts on Star Trek are? I've only got into it a few months ago and seen a few Eps of TOS, and Wrath of Kahn, Undiscovered Country and First Contact out of the Films, all of which I've greatly enjoyed as Action Films with interesting, developed Characters, and I remember you saying you were a fan of TOS. Were you still watching TV regularly when the later ones were on, and what are your thoughts on the Films?


Dear Jack:

"Star Trek" premiered in 1966 when I was 8 years old. I enjoyed it very much for the three years it was on. "When I was a child I spake as a child; but now that I'm a man I've put away my childish things."

Josh

Name:              Chet
E-mail:             chettercheese@gmail.com
Date:               10/23/11

Dear Josh:

have u seen the trailer for the new kevin sorbo film? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DeMFwbKM_Hc looks pretty indie but pretty awesome. u should team up like this. chet


Dear Chet:

I like Kevin. He's got good screen presence and an easy, engaging, big guy swagger. That movie, however, didn't look like a much of anything to me.

Josh

Name:              Saul Trabal
E-mail:             ghost_kingdom@yahoo.com
Date:               10/23/11

Heya Josh:

Just an observation...were Bruce Campbell & Mitt Romney separated at birth? The resemblance is rather frightening. What's even scarier is that they're both from Michigan. Mitt Romney is Bruce minus the personality. Can you see Romney say, "Give me some sugar, baby"? Naaah. Me either.


Dear Saul:

Funny you should bring that up. As I was having lunch with Bruce two days ago the waitress pointed at him and said, "Hey, you're somebody." I said, "He's Mitt Romney" and for a second she almost bought it. She returned later to say, "You're Bruce Williams from 'Resident Evil'." Bruce nodded politely and "Yes, I am. Nice to meet you."

But yes, Bruce and Mitt, both Michigan boys, do bear a slight resemblence. When Bruce and I were kids Mitt's Dad, George, was governor here.

Josh

Name:              Lucas
E-mail:            
Date:               10/23/11

Hey Josh:

What do you think of Tom Waits? Lucas


Dear Lucas:

Good songwriter, not a bad actor, but I can't stand his singing voice.

Josh

Name:              Jeff Anelade
E-mail:            
Date:               10/23/11

Dear Josh:

So do you think high-end movie cameras will become collectable/valuable after those companies cease making them? It seems there is still some serious demand for them.


Dear Jeff:

Old movie cameras are collector's items now. They thought sound movies would kill radio, but it didn't; then they thought TV would kill movies, but it didn't. Just because they're no longer manufacturing them doesn't mean that there aren't tens of thousands of them around. The big camera rentals will continue to rent them as long as folks ask for them.

Josh

Name:              Pablo
E-mail:             pablocampbell2@hotmail.com
Date:               10/15/11

Dear Mr Becker:

Were "Alien Apocalypse" and "Harpies" filmed on 35mm or digital? I was thinking that if the films were made for the tv, paying 35mm is not necessary...don't? Thank you once more. Pablo R.


Dear Pablo:

They were both shot on 35mm, even though they were both made for TV. They both look pretty good, me thinks.

Josh

Name:              Will
E-mail:             wdodson52@hotmail.com
Date:               10/15/11

Dear Josh:

Have you seen this news? http://entertainment.salon.com/2011/10/13/r_i_p_the_movie_camera_1888_2011/ Major companies are ending production of film cameras. Of course, so few good movies get made anymore that I suppose it's not so great a tragedy. Nevertheless, I'm sad to hear it.


Dear Will:

It's a drag. Movie cameras are cool items. Digital is not the same thing. There's nothing wrong with it, it's just not the same thing. C'est la vie.

Josh

Name:              Marc
E-mail:             Streamerlx@web.de
Date:               10/15/11

Dear Mister Becker:

last week I finished "If Chins Could Kill" and that's how I came about to order your book: The Complete Guide to Low-Budget Feature Filmmaking. I'm at page 46 right now and I enjoy reading it very much. You are sharp, honest and direct and in many ways I can see we have something in common. My questions: 1.what is your opinion on independent moviemaking with the DSLR's? 2.you mentioned in your book that whoever tells you that he made a feature film with a budget of 7000 $ is a lier. What about "El Mariachi"? Thanks for your patience, all the best Marc


Dear Marc:
 
"El Mariachi" had a lot of money put into it in post by the distributor.  My book is out of date I wrote it in 2002 and it finally came out in 2006).  I believe you now can make a feature film for $7,000, although you won't have 35mm prints, which doesn't really matter anymore.  I think you use whatever equipment you can get your hands on that will achieve what you're asking of it.  DSLRs seem great, other than there's no camera there to hold onto.  You're kind of just aiming a lens at things.  But they have great, high-resolution images.
 
Josh

Name:              Trey
E-mail:            
Date:               10/05/11

Dear Josh:

I watched Edward Dmytryk's 1959 western film "Warlock" last night on a blind watch on Netflix and I was completely blown away by it. It is such a mature, wonderfully complex film and all of the characters are just great. The development between Fonda and Quinn is just so damn good on its own, but that there is also so much more going on in the film (such as Richard Widmark's character and the conflict with himself, his brother, their gang of outlaws, and eventually Fonda) makes it endlessly compelling. I loved the scene in which Fonda was forced to gun down three outlaws, the look on his face when he realizes he can't get out of this, the tone of his pleas to get them to reconsider, and then the final act of violence was gut wrenching for me. I also loved DeForest Kelley's character, who really surprised me at the end. I love stumbling across films like this, something that is clearly made for adults...it's so satisfying watching them. Shame we don\'t get much like it these days, if at all.


Dear Trey:
 
I've seen "Warlock" many times and it's a film I really like.  The whole "back-shooters" concept was interesting.  Many westerns of the 1950s, with the help of TV writers, got very psychological and interesting.  There's also a big dollop of Wyatt Earp in the story.
 
Josh

Name:              Mark Fairclough
E-mail:             mfairclough1@hotmail.co.uk
Date:               10/05/11

Hi Josh:

Mark from the UK. How are you what can you tell me about the Scott Spiegel film shorts curse of the werewolf and manhunt the synopsis maybe and will these ever see the light of day and i read your screenplay the horribleness the other day which i thought was very funny thanks Mark Fairclough.


Dear Mark:
 
I don't even know what "Manhunt" is, other than a 1941 Frtiz Lang film.  As far as I recall, "Curse of the Werewolf" was just a few shots that was never completed into a whole film.  I'm glad you enjoyed "The Horribleness."
 
Josh

Name:              Dari Murd
E-mail:             resyue4o@frontier.com
Date:               09/25/11

Hey Josh:

just wanted to thank you for coming to the Fanfare today. I was so happy to meet you (I was the annoying brunette with the long black coat).Very much appreciate you tolerating me today. Happy to see Alex made it over to talk to you and buy a dvd. Love your work and your enthusiasm. Looking forward to seeing more of your talents soon. Thanks for making my first convention a memorable one.


Dear Dari:
 
Well thanks for coming all the way to far end of the convention hall to visit my table.  I'm like a mile from the entrance.  I enjoyed your enthusiasm, too.  Good luck to you.
 
Josh

Name:              David R.
E-mail:            
Date:               09/25/11

Dear Josh:

Wait a minute, you actually thought Juno was a good movie? I for one thought you would hate all the hipster dialogue. I did enjoy it too though.


Dear David:
 
I felt like I hadn't seen it before, it was well performed and made me laugh a few times.  It sort've went in one ear and out the other, but, yes, I liked it.  And I just heard yesterday that Diablo Cody is doing/has done a rewrite on "Evil Dead," the remake, which ought to be interesting.
 
Josh

Name:              Jason Roth
E-mail:             oxboy30@gmail.com
Date:               09/17/11

Hi Josh:

Thought you might enjoy this article regarding Harlan Ellison, still fiery as ever: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr-esq/harlan-ellison-sues-claiming-foxs-235987 Regarding Mike Nichols saying "kindness is the new porn," I can't help but agree. One of the many refreshing things about Running Time on my first viewing was the last-minute switch from downer ending to an upbeat one. Happy finales feel like they're more daring these days. And on one more earlier topic, it\'s always shocked me how good of an actor Art Garfunkel is. He blew me away in Carnal Knowledge and Nic Roeg's Bad Timing. Hope to meet you at Detroit Fanfare! Best, Jason


Dear Jason:
 
Harlan Ellison is a litigious son of a gun, you've got to give him that.  If he thinks you've ripped him off, he's coming after you.  I was just discussing the "Outer Limits" episodes he wrote that James Cameron ripped off to make "Terminator."  My Buddy Paul says that every copy of "Terminator" now gives Ellison credit at the end.  He's not a man to be fucked with, which is part of why I've always admired him.  Meanwhile, thanks regarding RT.  I'm proud of that emotional change up, and Anita Barone really went for it.  It's a joy to watch an actor perform your work and really nail it.  And yes, Art Garfunkle is great (and has a beautiful voice), I wonder why he didn't keep acting.
 
Josh

Name:              Jack
E-mail:             jackco08@hotmail.com
Date:               09/17/11

Dear Josh:

Which Writers currently working, either in Hollywood or the wider industry, do you admire? I remember you mentioning a while back you thought Aaron Sorkin was one of the best, and having seen "The Social Network", "Charlie Wilson's War" and every Episode of "The West Wing" several times over, I definately agree; he's my main influence with regards to Dialogue and Characterisation. I'm guessing this list is going to be pretty short but there's got to be some you know of who have even a basic grasp of Plot, Structure and Logic.


Dear Jack:
 
Well, wait, let's see . . . there's Aaron Sorkin.  Oh, that's right, we mentioned him.  Alvin Sargent is still working and he wrote (and won Oscars for) "Julia" and "Ordinary People," and he also wrote some comic book thing about a cross between a kid and a spider, but I forget the title.  David Webb Peoples wrote "Unforgiven" and should have gotten an Oscar,  but that's 20 years ago already.  Oliver Stone used to know how to write.  So did Francis Coppola.  I can't think of anyone else.
 
Josh 

Name:              Paul
E-mail:            
Date:               09/15/11

Hi Josh:

Have you come across this sad movie study ? http://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/The-Saddest-Movie-in-the-World.html What would be your pick for your favorite sad movie or two. Not necessarily a good movie by Josh standards just a flick that gives you the weepies. Or since there is a certain maybe slight saddness to some of your work (Running Time and Hammer) what are your thoughts on working emotion into a scene sucessfully. Thanks


Dear Paul:
 
Interesting subject.  By the time Jon Voight dies in "The Champ" I think I was imagining a giant burning cigarette floating in space between me and the screen.  I found the 1931 version more affective.  I do agree with "Bambi," however, and that gets me every time.  In the article they mention "All Mine to Give," which I recall was pretty sad.  One of Cameron Mitchell's few lead roles, BTW.  The end of "Hammer" is sad for a moment, but doesn't really stay there.  The final emotion the film attempts to leave you with is nostalgia.  "Running Time" goes for it, but of course it doesn't stick with it.  I guess I'm just not a tragedian, although I'm perfectly happy to watch them (ha ha).  There's a paradox: he was happy watching tragedies.  I'm always moved near the end of "Marty" when he's supposed to call her and hasn't and it cuts to her and her parents watching Ed Sullivan.  It's sad in "East of Eden" when his Dad won't take the money, although it didn't make me cry.  In fact, now that I really think about it, I'm not sure any movie ever has made me cry.  It's sad when her father dies in "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn."  I've often been moved by movies, but I don't cry that easy (just when my cats get run over or my girlfriend dumps me).  But as far as I'm concerned the idea of going for emotion in drama is the whole point.  Getting the viewer to care about the characters and the plight they're in.
 
Josh

Name:              David R.
E-mail:            
Date:               09/15/11

Dear Josh:

The new 70th Anniversary Collector's Edition release of Citizen Kane Blu-ray also includes The Magnificent Ambersons for the first time on dvd.


Dear David:
 
That's wonderful news.  If I had a blu-ray player I'd buy it.
 
Josh

Name:              
E-mail:            
Date:               09/15/11

Dear Josh:

"The other day Bruce and I were discussing Benny Hill, and I mentioned that he died poor and destitute in some shit-hole flat in London." Don't want to spoil a joke but I'm guessing the laughter has died down now. Just for the record. Benny Hill was a multimillionaire when he died despite turning down many lucrative contracts plus he spent money generously on himself and others. He lived in a comparatively modest flat but it was by choice not forced on him by circumstances. After he died piles of money and un-cashed cheques were discovered stuffed into drawers. Another sign of disinterest in money - his will named his parents as the beneficiaries despite both having dies many years earlier. The sad things about Benny Hill were a (presumably) unhappy private life; he never married, appeared to have a mother fixation and lacked confidence with women. Worse still he was devoted to his career but three years before his death his beloved TV show (which had run 40 years) was cancelled after years of increasing complaints about its political incorrectness and supposed incitement to rape. He died aged 68, rich and, a professional comedian, he had Charlie Chaplin as a fan.


Dear Anon:
 
You certainly sound like you know what you're talking about.  I'm glad Benny Hill didn't die poor, although he didn't sound happy.  At least he wasn't found naked hanging in his closet, wearing clown shoes and a red rubber nose.
 
Josh

Name:              Chloe
E-mail:            
Date:               09/14/11

Dear Josh:

Oh my god, I love you! I'm trying not to cry tears of joy from hearing a response from you, haha. I absolutely love Rushes, it's really cool to see your perspective on the whole Evil Dead situation, and to see that it was a whole lot harder than it looked, and I can relate to the whole thing about them not letting you contribute your ideas, (By the way, the end shot where the camera looks up from the leaf is killer). Even when you talk about how shitty it is to be a PA, it makes me want to do it more. I was cracking up today during study hall reading the part where you had to tell the girls on the Hercules set to have orgasms. I like the fact that in the book, it seems as if you're pretty adamant about the fact that money doesn't make you happy. I'd rather be spending all my money on making a movie I really liked, and living in some sleazy apartment rather than sitting in some boring ass 9-5 job. I have so many questions, but I think I'd get carpal tunnel if I typed them all out for you. And once more, I love you!


Dear Chloe:
 
Ah, those cute models playing Amazon women.  A true highlight in my filmmaking career.  What astounds me is that some of the footage I shot that day actually made it into the final cut of the film, although, sadly, not the orgasms.  Being a PA is a shitty job, but it's also an important job.  It has been said that a film crew is only as good as its PAs.  I'm proud to say that I was a helluva good PA in my day, as well as being the highest-paid PA in Detroit for a while.  I think it's very valuable to see what a production looks like from the bottom up.  However, by the time I got to be 35 years old, I couldn't tolerate being yelled at by asshole ADs anymore, which unfortunately is part of a PA's job description.  Money doesn't make me happy, but then I'm rather a manic-depressive character.  I like good movies, a nice buzz, and laughing like an idiot.  Bruce Campbell makes me laugh like an idiot, which is part of why I value his friendship so much.  I'm proud to say that I make him laugh, too.  The other day Bruce and I were discussing Benny Hill, and I mentioned that he died poor and destitute in some shit-hole flat in London.  I added, "He was probably wearing clown shoes and a red rubber nose."  Bruce then added, "And hanging naked in a closet," and I'm still laughing.
 
Josh

Name:              Jeff Burr
E-mail:             JeffCBurr@AOL.com
Date:               09/14/11

Hey Josh:

I just found out that John Calley passed away today. Just as the passing of Sydney Lumet was more or less an end of an era of directors, certainly Calley's passing is the end of an era of studio executives. He really deserves to be mentioned in any discussion of American cinema of the 1970's...he played an integral part in so many filmmakers careers...a short list would include Kubrick, Scorcese, Eastwood, Boorman, Nichols. I really dont believe we\'ll see the likes of his kind again, as it is virtually impossible to do what he did in the corporate culture of films today. But behind every successful mainstream filmmaker of that era, there was a guy such as Calley who deserves the praise too. Also, in reference to a much earlier post about cat movies...there was one that I think was missed. A movie called THE UNCANNY, written by a guy I knew named Michel Parry. The only reason I know about it is that I was going to work on a project with Michel around 1990, with Peter Snell producing. Died on the vine, but Michel was a gentleman to work with, as was Snell. THE UNCANNY is something about the fact that cats want to take over the world, and each episode in the anthology made that point in different ways. Hope you are doing AOK and your essay on the (un)making of the Eric Roberts film was exquisitely painful. I have been there too, in a similar situation. I laughed and shuddered in equal measure.


Dear Jeff:
 
Always a pleasure to hear from you.  John Calley did seem like one of the few rational, intelligent studio executives who actually had taste (to a degree, I mean, "The Da Vinci Code" sucked).  But it's difficult for me to truly give a shit about studio executives or agents.  They're obviously a necessary part of the machine, but just seem creepy to me.
 
Josh

Name:              Christine Wheeler
E-mail:             chris.wheeler@talk21.com
Date:               09/14/11

Dear Josh:

Re: Hollywood Film Studios Have just read the 2005 information on the Hollywood Film Studios and found it really interesting. There are several mentions of Robert Brunton Studios, but I can find no information on the internet so far on who Robert Brunton was. Am in the UK so will keep trying, but wondered if you had any further information? Or where else I could try? Kind Regards, Chris


Dear Christine:
 
Other than mention of the studio, as well as several producer credits, I can't find anything about Robert Brunton, either.  Here's a link to a contemporary aerial shot of Paramount and how Brunton fit over the top of it -- http://wikimapia.org/7351995/Former-Peralta-Studios-Robert-Brunton-Studios-United-Studios-Historical-site
As I mentioned in the essay, the sewer covers at Paramount still say Brunton, and having worked on the lot I've actually seen them myself.
 
Josh

Name:              Chloe
E-mail:             h3ychloelolz@aim.com
Date:               09/12/11

Dear Josh:

My brother just recently got me into the whole Evil Dead thing, and since then I decided I should check out some other stuff Bruce was in. That's when I came across Running Time. I just wanted to tell you that is right now my hands down favorite film. I love the use of the steady cam, and the story is great. I love the dialogue as well, I mean the robbery scene is genius when they're bickering about the football game. I just wanted to thank you for making such a kick ass movie. I'm also currently reading Rushes, and I am seriously considering doing something in the field of directing after I finish high school. I just wanted to say you're a big inspiration and keep up the good work!


Dear Chloe:
 
How sweet.  Thank you.  I'm highly amused by people who get into arguments in front of other people.  I try not to do that.  Please write back and tell me what you thought of "Rushes."  We writers and filmmakers create all of this junk and it's always gratifying to hear that people actually watch or read it.  And if you want to make movies the best thing to do is make a movie.
 
Josh

Name:              Tom Beck
E-mail:            
Date:               09/12/11

Dear Josh:

I liked your essay "Reading Books" very much, you brought me to read Luis Bunuel's "My Last Sigh", which is now one of my favourite books. I'm very interested in how your bookcases look, could you perhaps upload some photos? Tom


Dear Tom:
 
That would entail taking pictures, which smacks of effort.  I have twelve bookshelves, most of which are six feet tall, and the books are categorized by: fiction, non-fiction, science fiction, music, sports, humor, poetry, drama, Pulitzer Prize-winning novels, and the biggest section is movie books, which are broken up into specializations, like: directors, producers, screenwriters, cinematographers, etc.  There are about 2,500 volumes, I'd guess.
 
Josh

Name:              Saul Trabal
E-mail:            
Date:               09/12/11

Dear Josh:

I'm watching the reading of the names in New York City. There is this very weird dichotomy at play here. While enough time passes after a while so that you can move on to dealing with the daily activities of life, the loss of a loved one in one way gets harder with the passage of time. Why? It's because the passage of time underscores the permanence of death. Before the reading of the names started, Obama was talking about how God provides comfort in times like these. Well, whatever. If it gives believers some comfort, that's fine. But people like me who believe otherwise don't have any sort of comfort zone. And all the well-wishing from those who feel bad for our pain and our lack of belief isn't going to make us feel any better. We'll just have to soldier on-alone. And despite what others say, we really are alone. People can say otherwise-but those are just words. They don't really mean anything. In the end, we have to manage our grief and the lack of belief alone-or not. And we can't always expect others to support us. Folks have their own lives and problems. And if that pain becomes too much that it destroys some of us? Well-that's the law of the jungle. There are those who say that God doesn't give us more than we can handle. To that, I say-bullshit. There are plenty of examples to the contrary. But no one likes looking at those examples. Those are truths that are too hard for some of us to deal with.


Dear saul:
 
I just watched the new documentary "The Tillman Story" about Pat Tillman, and it's HBO or Showtime, and very well made.  But there's that amazing moment at his funeral in Arizona where John McCain gets up and spews a boatload of crap about how Pat's in heaven now with all of his late loved ones and his live loved ones will all meet up with him when they get there, etc. etc. etc.  Then Pat's little brother, Steve, gets up and basically just lays it all on the line, saying Pat didn't believe in god, neither does he, there is no heaven, Pat's just plain old dead and that's all there is to it.  I wish there had been a reaction shot of McCain.  Meanwhile, there was a whole stink about whether or not there should be a prayer service at the 9/11 ceremony that was apparently nixed (thank goodness).  All these religious leaders got all pissed off, one of them (a Christian minister, pastor, priest, whatever) said (approximately), "This isn't France!  We're not a secular country!"  Yeah, motherfucker, but this isn't a Christian country, either.  This is a melting pot.  They brought up that G.W. Bush led a (Christian) prayer service at Yankee Stadium right after 9/11, so why didn't Obama do the same thing?  Why?  Because a lot of people in this country aren't Christians, that's why.  And apparently what these dumbass motherfuckers can't get through their heads is that if you hold a Christian prayer service you're basically insulting everybody else.  To me, as a completely non-religious Jew, the sight of a Jewish man nailed to a cross is offensive.  Quite frankly, the sight of any human being nailed to a cross would be offensive to me.  I'm with Steve Tillman -- religion is bullshit, and when you're dead you're dead.
 
Josh

Name:              Nick
E-mail:            
Date:               09/09/11

Dear Josh:

"I just watched a film that was so awful it's slightly put me off film watching for a bit -- "Villa Rides" (1968) with Yul Brynner, Robert Mitchum and Charles Bronson, and written by Robert Towne and Sam Peckinpah. Just terrible." Yeah, speaking of which, I just watched Peckinpah's "Major Dundee" (the restored version). Pretty lousy movie. Richard Harris was quite good in it, though. Have you seen it?


Dear Nick:
 
I've got that exact DVD sitting next to my TV and I just haven't had the oomph to watch it.  I've seen the old version a few times and never liked it, but I feel I owe it to old Blood & Guts Sam to watch it.  I hear the score is better.
 
Josh

Name:              David R.
E-mail:            
Date:               09/09/11

Dear Josh:

Here's an interesting interview with Mike Nichols: http://blogs.indiewire.com/theplaylist/archives/2011/06/14/mike_nichols_thinks_the_movie_theater_experience_is_dying_carnal_knowledge/ He says that movies on the big screen are dying but does praise several TV shows: "We’re not the only ones seeing a renaissance on the small screen. Though Nichols may think the theatrical experience is on its way out, he, like many other filmmakers, believes great things are happening now on the small screen. He said there were about four or five shows he loved and cited AMC’s “Breaking Bad” as being reminiscent of Tolstoy, making the comparison to the Russian author of epics like “War And Peace.” “A great thing is happening in cable TV which is that you see characters changing like in Tolstoy. That’s a whole thrilling new form that I really enjoy, about four to five shows, that really are Tolstoyan in their endless development and surprises and changes. “Breaking Bad” for instance... There are terrific things happening.”


Dear David:
 
Thank you for sharing that.  Since the demise of Sidney Lumet, Mike Nichols is one of the very few remaining great directors.  Everybody else is gone.  Did you know, BTW, that Mike Nichols wears a wig?  He's been bald his whole life.  And it's sweet that a young director like Jason Reitman actually knows a good movie like "Carnal Knowledge" when he sees it.  And it was also sweet Mike Nichols telling Reitman that "Juno" was good, because it was, but so incredibly minor in comparison to Nichols work.  "Juno," a movie where people are nice to each other, which is kind of unique at this late date, but not a lot to think about.  Whereas, say, the scene where Jack Nicholson gets mad at Ann-Margret, who won't get out of bed.  She says, "I want a job."  He says, "You want a fuckin' job?  I'll give a job.  Make the fuckin' bed!  Open the window, it smells like a tomb in here!"  This was back in the days when movies regularly had these things that no longer exist -- GREAT SCRIPTS! (in this case by the wonderful Jules Feiffer).  Then you'd get a great director like Mike Nichols, who would hire the perfect cast (Jack Nichsolson, Candice Bergen, Ann-Margret, Rita Moreno, Carol Kane) -- as well as Art Garfunkle (who could have known?) -- then get the master Italian cinematographer, Giuseppe Rotunno, to shoot the film.  Nor was it a particularly expensive movie.  Considering that movies keep doing worse and worse every year -- 4 years in a row, and of the 18 films released in 3-D this year, 15 lost money -- maybe it's time to change approaches.
 
Josh

Name:              Bob
E-mail:            
Date:               09/04/11

Dear Josh:

Couldn't you incorporate your time in Oregon as a chapter or as the introduction to the Michigan memoirs?


Dear Bob:
 
I could, but that's not where it feels like it goes.  I was just reading my 1981 essay "Wandering," located in the Old Stuff section.  It would be "Going Hollywood" Part 3.  I had made the super-8 "Stryker's War," had written a feature version of the script, and was trying to whip up some interest.  I never had a real place to live during that stay.  I went from crashing on my buddy Sheldon's couch to staying at the Hollywood Bowl Motel to crashing at my buddy Marvis's house.  I did have a few meetings with an agent at ICM, and I pestered the shit out of Roger Corman's company (which was New World at the time), finally culminating in a meeting with Mr. Corman himself, but nothing came of it.  After a few months I slunk back home with my tail between my legs.  But I think "Wandering" is an interesting piece of writing.  I wrote it by hand, then typed it on an old manual typewriter, and since it's a PDF file you can actually see the type of the old typewriter.  That was a particularly low-budget period of my life.  That's when Sam, Bruce and Rob showed up in Hollywood for the first time, with "Evil Dead" under their arms.  I was their Hollywood tour guide.
 
Josh

Name:              Tom Beck
E-mail:            
Date:               09/04/11

Dear Josh:

I'm interested in your daily working process for writing? How much time do you use for watching films? I read you have a job renting film equipment, does it go well? Tom


Dear Tom:
 
I generally write early in the morning.  If it's all going very well I may keep going, but I'm usually done by noon.  I do keep adding to my journal all day.  Renting film equipment was just fine until our new Republican governor, Rick Snyder, killed our film incentive program.  Once that kicks in in 2012 I don't expect business to improve.  Regarding film watching, that goes in spurts these days.  I only watch movies in the evening.  I just watched a film that was so awful it's slightly put me off film watching for a bit -- "Villa Rides" (1968) with Yul Brynner, Robert Mitchum and Charles Bronson, and written by Robert Towne and Sam Peckinpah.  Just terrible.
 
Josh

Name:              John
E-mail:             victorfrost@hotmail.com
Date:               09/04/11

Dear Josh:

Well, I suppose since you answered another question dated today instead of my question from a few days ago about the quality of your versions of the shorts you have for sale versus the quality of the same ones on youtube that yours aren't really any better? I'm not trying to be an arsehole.... just wanting to know in advance whether or not I'm gonna have buyers remorse if I purchase from you.


Dear John:
 
I don't have the exact specs to answer your question.  But I can tell you that the transfers of the films look MUCH better on the versions I'm selling than the old, crummy transfers on YouTube.  Nevertheless, the originals are still super-8 movies so they're never going to look great.  That's the best I can tell you.
 
Josh

Name:              Bob
E-mail:            
Date:               09/03/11

Hi Josh:

I was watching the movie "Good Bye Lenin" and in the commentary the movie One Two Three was mentioned, which I was surprised by since it was 20 something actors, even though it was about their own city. Then I started reading the exerpt on Amazon from your book Going Hollywood and nearly from page one you mentioned Billy Wilder, so it inspired a question. Both Amazon and IMDB reviewers give "One Two Three" a high rating. I haven't seen it in years but did not think it really worked as a movie. I thought the premise was great, James Cagney made a good executive, and the special effects of the Coca Cola map of the world were outstanding, however, ultimately I think the film fell flat. One sticking point for me was the East Berlin boyfriend. He was just too cool while pretending to be an oppressed proletarian at the same time. He reminded me of some of the annoying people in high school. I haven't seen it in years but from my memory the first 30 minutes or so were good, and then it went downhill. Another example of movie that I thought had a good premise but fell flat was the "The Russians are coming, The Russians are Coming". However, I thought the "It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World" did work. So just to phrase a question, what do you think of each or any of the movies, "One Two Three", "The Russians are coming, The Russians are coming", or "It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World" ?


Dear Bob: 
 
That's a half dozen questions.  Of the three films you mentioned, I'll take "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World" hands down.  I completely love that movie and I forgive all it's sins, like being way the hell too long.  But there never was a cast assembled anything like it before that, nor will there ever be again (unless a lot of great comedians get born quick).  I remember coming out of the theater after seeing "The Russians Are Coming" at the ripe old age of eight, and thinking, "It had its moments, but the script was ultimately weak."  Then I probably lit a cigarette and puffed on it plaintively.  Regarding "One, Two, Three," Cagney's in top form (though he retired for the next 20 years after that film), and it's a funny, highly contemporary premise for 1961, but when all is said and done it's really a lot of yelling.  Basically, Horst Bucholz yells every single line he has, and Cagney yells most of his.  For my money I'll take Billy Wilder's movie right before it, "The Apartment."
 
Josh

Name:              Tom Beck
E-mail:            
Date:               08/29/11

Hi Josh:

"Going Hollywood" was great. The explicit sexual stuff reminded me of Klaus Kinski's autobiography;-) What about your second time in Hollywood and the time in Oregon? You have to write a sequel! All the best!


Dear Tom:
 
Thanks, I'm glad you liked it.  There could be five sequels, were I sequel-minded kind of guy.  I moved back to L.A. in 1979, then again in 1981, then again in 1986, then again in 1991, then again in 1995.  Although it's advised to never say never, I seriously believe I'll never live in L.A. again.  Considering how much time I clocked up there, I never for one second felt like I was home.  Michigan is my home and I like it here.  I'm actually writing another memoir right now, tenatively entitled "Going Crazy," about the past six years.  Although I'm a long way from finishing it, I have written about 13,000 words which isn't chopped liver.  I already took a crack at the Oregon interlude entitled "The Middle of Nowhere," and got 50-60 pages out of it, but it ultimately didn't hold my interest.
 
Josh

Name:              Mike
E-mail:             crashpix@yahoo.com
Date:               08/26/11

Dear Josh:

Long time, no pester*! I'm glad to see you're still alive, kicking, and pontificating. I read this article where a Hollywood exec came right out and said "fuck story": http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118041020 Not news to you I'm sure, but some of the folks here might get a good read out of it. So what's in the works for you film-wise? Is there any forward movement on "The Horribleness"? Thanks! Mike *as in, it's been a while since I've pestered you.


Dear Mike:
 
Yep, still alive and kicking.  You're right, that's not news to me.  After two tries I'm an hour into "Inception."  If that's the present-day version of a good movie, then there's truly no hope.  It hasn't got a decent thing in it.  Pure gobbeldy-gook, with with a bunch of silly-looking kids waving pistols, saying meaningless shit like, "Extraction is much harder than inception!"  Western civilization has collapsed.
 
Josh

Name:              Chuck
E-mail:            
Date:               08/26/11

Dear Josh:

I am currently Producing a television series about the Amish in Missouri. I can make your buggy whip manufacturing dream a reality... I greatly enjoyed the "Intent" essay. Keep up the fight and don't get too discouraged about the film industry. Art's a tough thing to keep down--it just doesn't always like to stay in the same neighborhood. Maybe America's toast, artistically, but it doesn't mean we can't find inspiration elsewhere. Long time reader, first time poster-- Chuck R.


Dear Chuck:
 
Seriously, good, bad or indifferent, I'm an artist.  If I can't find my inspiration in art, where do I find it?  I look at a book of the Dutch Masters and can only think, "This stuff is so much better than what anyone could possibly to do today it's ridiculous," and I haven't even heard of 99% of these guys.  I'm looking at a painting my Johannes Hackaert called "A Wooded Landscape with Hunters (The Avenue of Birch Trees)" from the 1660s.  The picture is 8 inches wide and 11 inches tall (actaully 26 1/4 x 21 1/8 inches), and is of birch trees that form an avenue around a lake.  It's probably dawn or early morning.  The sky reflects in the water.  The composition is as tall as the birch trees.  The lake is at the bottom center, with a few ducks swimming around, and all of the action with the hunters and their dogs takes place down at the bottom left eighth of the whole picture.  The composition is both audacious and awe-inspiring, at least to me.  I remember coming out of "Easy Rider" in 1969, desperately needing to sew an American flag on the back of my jacket, which I did, but really thinking about the audacious editing, and instead of just cutting to the next scene, sometimes it would cut back and forth faster and faster until it settled on the new scene.  It's really cool and I don't know if it means anything, but I liked it.  Hopper and Co. were trying something.   There's also a moment in the church in New Orleans with Karen Black and Tony Basil, when Peter Fonda looks at a picture and flashes on his flaming chopper sailing across a field -- his death -- just for a quick second, that chills me.
 
Josh

Name:              Trey Smith
E-mail:             vgntrey@gmail.com
Date:               08/25/11

Dear Josh:

What are your thoughts on the Ken Russell film "The Devils" from 1971? I recently watched a video blog from British film critic Mark Kermode about his frustration with WB for not releasing the uncut version of the film on DVD. As of now the uncut version is only available when it is screened in theaters at various festivals and Russell retrospectives. Seems like an interesting film.


Dear Trey: 
 
I've seen "The Devils" quite a few times in the theater, it's a tough, grueling movie, with a lot of memorable images.  Ken Russell was making exceptionally interesting movies at that point.  "Women in Love," "The Music Lovers," "Mahler," and nonsense like "Lisztomania" and "The Boyfriend."  He was a force to be reckoned with for a while there.
 
Josh

Name:              Brian
E-mail:            
Date:               08/22/11

Dear Josh:

What is the best movie you have seen that has been released within the last decade?


Dear Brian:
 
They don't make good movies anymore.  Movies aren't an art form anymore.  Movie companies are just divisions of conglomerates that make noisy time-killers for kids.  At their very best now a movie can be OK, meaning it didn't completely suck, but that's rare.  In 2007 there were two movies I enjoyed, "Charlie Wilson's War" and "Before the Devil Knows You're Dead," both last gasps of old filmmakers (the very last gasp for Sidney Lumet), but not good enough for me to want to go on and on about them.  I'm sure they're are few others hidden within the decade, but so what?  Jazz, the most popular and interesting musical form for 50 years, died an ignominious death by the 1980s.  It's not that there aren't any jazz bands anymore, they simply don't matter.  At their best now jazz bands sound like Miles Davis from the '50s or Louis Armstrong from the '20s.  The same goes for rock & roll.  The second an artform stops pushing its bounderies it withers up and becomes formulaic and nostalgic.  It's the sad irony of my life that everything I've studied and dedicated myself to to, the art of filmmaking, hasn't got the slightest meaning anymore.  I may as well be a buggy whip manufacturer.

Josh

Name:              Trey
E-mail:             vgntrey@gmail.com
Date:               08/18/11

Dear Josh:

http://www.soundonsight.org/the-%E2%80%9Cgray-ones%E2%80%9D-fade-to-black/ I think you might enjoy some of the points the writer of this article makes. It's sad that in a time when classic movies are readily available, even ones that are rare and out of print, people are seeing less and less of them. I have Netflix and there are hundreds upon hundreds of great movies streaming that people can access for a mere 8 bucks a month. And yet they are watching the new films, not the old. I saw a film a few months back with Peter Lorre called "The Stranger on the Third Floor", which wasn\'t even available on DVD at the time, with old VHS copies running up to 100 bucks on ebay (you can order it from Amazon now, though it is manufactured on demand). I had to download it from a torrent website to get a hold of it, but it was still readily available and I downloaded it in less than 20 minutes. Unless the film is lost, you can find pretty much every film in existence now in some form or another, you don't have to wait for it to show up on tv or in a dive theatre on fourth or fifth runs. Everything is available, but no one cares. Anyway, let me know what you think of the article; parts of it remind me of your own essay "Confessions of a Film Geek." And belated happy birthday!


Dear Trey:
 
I've got "Stranger on the Third Floor" on VHS.  The paranoia fantasy is terrific.  The female lead, Margaret Tallichet, would marry William Wyler and remain his wife for the next 40 years.
 
Josh

Name:              August
E-mail:             joxerfan@hotmail.com
Date:               08/17/11

Dear Josh:

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, you b-b-b-b-b-thing from another world you! Hoping that you are celebrating in your own inimatable style. A couple of random thoughts - I suspect that a lot of your regulars like me come to the Q+A section first, and so don't immediately realize that you may have a new essay or screenplay posted on the main page. Also, the interesting thing about your stage version of "Hammer" is that you automatically take care of the budget issues that the movie had, since most of the set is simply implied via a few props or backing flats that just suggest the setting. Wondering how expensive and/or complicated it would be to get the songs rights for a small-venue live performance of something like that? (Or would a general venue fee that most theatres already pay to people like ASCAP cover those?) Where I live has a thriving theatre scene (you can see a ton of reviews I've done at http://www.onstagecolumbia.com/reviewarchives.html) where things like this are done all the time. Anyway, looking forward to your next project, whatever that may be! Regards, August


Dear August:
 
Thanks for birthday wishes.  The songs in "Hammer" are all public domain.  I wouldn't worry about the song rights.  I'd love to see it staged.
 
Josh

Name:              Trey Smith
E-mail:            
Date:               08/17/11

Dear Josh:

Your recent comment about film criticism being useless nowadays struck a very personal nerve with me. I've been in love with film since a young age, but only became obsessed when I was about 17 or 18 (I'm 25 now). Since the revelation that occurred around that time of just how good movies could actually be, I've watched as many as I've been able to get my hands on. Not new shit like Transformers or all of these comic book films (though I have been dragged to them), but films by Lean, Welles, Kurosawa, Kubrick, Hitchcock, Bergman, Fellini, Wyler, Wilder, etc. etc. My favorite film is "The Bridge on the River Kwai" and my second is probably "The Magnificent Ambersons." For a while, I wanted to be a filmmaker, but I'm not so sure anymore. I understand that it's such a difficult job and that if I'm not willing to convince myself I want it 110%, I probably shouldn't waste my time or energy. So what to do? I ask myself this question often. I know I want to do something that relates to film; I honestly can't see myself doing anything else. Naturally, I began to consider film criticism as a viable alternative, which brings me back to your comment. It is useless. How can I watch all of this new drivel and give them positive reviews when I've seen films like "The Big Country" or "Bicycle Thieves", movies that I feel are truly deserving of high praise? Those are great films to me, not the movies audiences consider good today. I've tried my hand at writing reviews for modern movies, allowing myself to be soft on them, pretending that I liked them as much as I do the films I truly love. It felt dishonest and dirty; I felt ashamed. I can't imagine anyone wanting to hire a critic who blasts all of the big movies out there. Nor do I think such a job would be fun. So again, what to do? I've also considered teaching, but after reading articles written by film professors about how their students are mostly disinterested in watching films "they've never heard of", I have doubts about that, as well. The idealistic dream of influencing young minds to delve beyond the movies of today and into the many, many great ones of the past just seems hopeless. Just as hopeless as I'm sure it feels actually trying to make good, solid films in today's screwed up, shit spewing industry. I apologize for ranting to you here, as I'm not sure if this is the correct venue to do so, nor do I expect you to have any answers. But I've always viewed you as sort of a compatriot or even a mentor ever since I started falling in love with the movies. I've always found your reviews, articles, and pages upon pages of Q&A comforting and I'd like to thank you for that. It all reminds me that there are still sane, like-minded individuals in this world when it comes to movies. C'est la vie. At least I still have thousands of great movies to watch, no matter where my life takes me. That thought is always comforting.


Dear Trey:
 
No, this is just the right place, and you're just responding to my earlier rant.  We've hit a point of pure worthlessness.  It overcame me earlier.
 
Josh

Name:              Kat Bauer
E-mail:            
Date:               08/16/11

Dear Josh:

This upcoming remake of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy looks very good: http://www.imdb.com/video/imdb/vi495819801/ And what a cast! Colin Firth, Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman, John Hurt, etc.


Dear Kat:
 
I never finished reading the book, nor did I finish watching the Alec Guiness TV version, therefore I'm not particularly interested in a remake.
 
Josh

Name:              David R.
E-mail:            
Date:               08/16/11

Dear Josh:

Ah, okay. Reading your past comments it did not seem at all like you were a fan of Siskel\'s. Has your opinion of him changed over time? Also, although Ebert is a hack, he and Siskel had a good chemistry; their back and forth made for some entertaining discussion as with the Woody Allen vs Mel Brooks who-is-funnier video I linked to.


Dear David:
 
I've always like Gene Siskel.  I don't think he was a great film critic, but I often agreed with him.  He wasn't a sucker for garbage like Ebert.  But the Siskel and Ebert show existed because of an actual rivalry between those guys, it wasn't manufactured; they rarely agreed on movies, which was fun to watch.  Since the death of Gene Siskel I don't think movies are even worth reviewing anymore.  I fast-forward through all commercials for new movies now since I just don't even want to know.  Everything looks like putrid regurgitated drivel.  If art is ineed the early warning alert system of a civilization, our civilization has already completely declined.  The peak of our art at this point is "Pawn Stars" and "Celebrity Rehab."  Art went from realistic to impressionistic to abstract to worthless.  Pollack and Rothko won out; it's all just paint haphazardly thrown at the canvas now.  I just watched "Casablanca" again for the 175th time and guess what?  That's a good movie.  Every line is great, every actor is perfectly cast, the direction couldn