Q & A    Archive
Page 167


Name:             Paul
E-mail:           
Date:               12/19/12

Dear Josh :

Regarding your comments on Lincoln (the man, not the movie). In film biographies of political and military figures (rarely "Mr. Nice Guys") how would one best balance the nice and not so nice aspects of their characters. I suppose one can just present the all and let the audience take it in the complexity of the individual. Churchill, for example, is a hero to some not to others, but still a great figure. Mother Teresa is either a saint if you ask the Catholic Church, or a fanatic if you asked the late Christopher Hitchens. Ghandi was near holy as seen in Attenboroughs film, but if you look up Richard Greniers 1983 essay "The Ghandi nobody knows" far from it. General Patton was also a prickly sort who by the way didn't sound at all like George C Scott, more like Lincoln. I don't know if there is a good question here.

Dear Paul:

It's a great question and I think you already answered it. Everybody is inextricably caught in the gray area: nobody's all good and nobody's all bad. Even Dick Cheney, who's mostly bad, still obviously loves his daughter and is therefore not against homosexuality. Lincoln, who was able to force through the Emancipation Proclamation due to wartime presidential powers, and was always against slavery, did it mainly to give the Union a military edge. If the south suddenly didn't have four million people doing forced labor for them, they'd have to do it for themselves, plus the former slaves who made it through the Union lines could then join the Union army or go to work for them, thus giving the Union an edge that it desperately needed at that moment. As great of a man as Abe Lincoln was, he certainly wasn't perfect. He was pretty crappy at choosing commanding generals. Anyway, that's what characterization is all about--showing more than one side of a person, and the more sides you can show, the better the character is. It's like getting a plate spinning on the end of a stick. One plate spinning isn't very impressive; six plates spinning is very impressive.

Josh

Name:              Brian
E-mail:            mackbrockton@aol.com
Date:               12/08/12

Dear Josh :

I was also reading your old reviews and came across "Hitler: Rise of Evil." Have you seen the 2004 "Downfall"? It's about Hitler's final days. Apparently, it humanizes Hitler to a degree, perhaps to an extent that most people aren't used to. I haven't seen it however; i've only read about it. I was just wondering if you had, and if you do see it, if you could write a review about it.

Dear Brian:

I haven't seen it. Another film about Hitler that I thought was pretty good was "Max" from 2002. It's the story of young Hitler right after WWI, very well-played by Noah Taylor, when he was still harboring dreams of being an artist. He meets a Jewish art dealer, played by John Cusack, who encourages him. It's a very interesting relationship and time period.

Josh

Name:              Brian
E-mail:            mackbrockton@aol.com
Date:               12/02/12

Dear Josh :

I think I might know what you mean by not liking Spielberg's work. Do you find him overly sentimental? (because that's the vibe i get...it finds its way into almost every movie of his)

Dear Brian:

There's that, but it's more than that, at least for me. A director leaves an imprint on their films and creates a tone, particularly a strong director. Spielberg is a strong director, with a nice visual sense, but he brings a tone that's not only overly sentimental, but somehow false. I don't believe his movies, no matter what they're about. That's simply my preference and clearly many folks disagree with me. C'est la vie.

Josh

Name:              Lucas
E-mail:            lmailing@gmail.com
Date:               12/02/12

Dear Josh :

I'm really looking forward to the web series, and as a Josh Becker fan, I'd also love to see an essay about the making of it. Will you or Joseph LoDuca be selling a soundtrack album for the series? All the best, Lucas

Dear Lucas:

Well, we shot 2/3 of episode #4 yesterday and will complete shooting today. It went very well, if I do say so myself. The cast and crew are wonderful. We'll see about an essay, though. I don't usually write an essay about a film or a TV series until I'm done with it. Regarding Joe LoDuca, they never released the scores he wrote for my features--although there was a record company, LA LA Records, that expressed interest--so I wouldn't count on there being a soundtrack release of "Spine Chillers."

Josh

Name:              Brian
E-mail:           
Date:               12/01/12

Dear Josh :

I just wanted to clarify something about the movie "Lincoln"...it doesn't go into Lincoln's personal racist views much at all...perhaps it was mentioned quickly in passing, but I don't really remember it which pretty much sums it up.

Dear Brian:

I had a feeling it didn't. Which isn't to say it's not a good movie, I haven't seen it. But I have seen most every other Spielberg film (I haven't seen "War Horse" yet), and I just don't like the guy's work. All of his films have a funky, false tone that annoys me, and, as I've said probably too many times, he has no sense of irony. The book the film is based on (or just a bit of it), "Team of Rivals" by Doris Kearns Goodwin, is very good, and a much bigger story. The Republican convention of 1860 was truly fascinating. Lincoln was everybody's second choice, who had managed to not antagonize anyone or make any enemies, then the three leading contenders--Seward, Bates and Chase--all far better known than Lincoln, all self-destructed in their own way leaving Lincoln as the first choice.

Josh

Name:              Nicolas La Salla
E-mail:            nicholaslasalla@yahoo.com
Date:               11/30/12

Dear Josh :

I am thrilled to hear about your new web series coming in January, I'll definitely be checking it out! Will you be writing an essay on the filming of these as you have with "Running Time", "Hammer" and the other releases? And I hope many more episodes are on the way. :-) Best, Nick

Dear Nicholas:

I might, you never know. We're shooting episode #4 this weekend. The first three are in the can. Ep#1 is off to Joe LoDuca to be scored, ep#2 is fully cut and being tweaked, ep#3 is mostly assembled. We'll now hopefully debut on 1-20-13.

Josh

Name:              Alisa
E-mail:            alisa.myachina@yahoo.co.uk
Date:               11/29/12

Dear Josh :

I am sorry but I think you have a wrong opinion about religion! In any kind of religion evil means devil, in any kind of person there is a bad and a good side! May be you are right in some parts but I don't agree to some of them! I was thinking that any kind of person can be evil themselves like, if you shot anyone or attacked anyone but not just yet killed! Evil should be someone who is believing in the dark side, not the bright side! Christians, always try not to mention the world of devil because they think if you say it too much, something bad will happen to you, and he might appear or she! who knows. What is in your opinion exact definition of "DEVIL"

Dear Alisa:

The incarnation of evil? The dictionary defines it as, "The supreme spirit of evil and enemy of god." Of course, one would first have to believe in the Jewish or Christian god to believe in the devil, and I don't. I think anything that's devisve is bad, evil if you will, and that's at the core of every religion--we're right and you're wrong; our view of the universe is correct and your view is incorrect. I think it's all nonsense and isn't helping anything. We're all part of the religion of mankind, and the man-made difference between us are useless. I say there is no devil except for what humans bring to the party, and relgion is at the core of that.

Josh

Name:             Joe Nittyer
E-mail:           
Date:               11/29/12

Dear Josh :

1st, I'm not a Speilberg afficiendo. I've never even seen Schilinders List and find his other work ultimately too obssessed w/ defining family norms in a post nuclear family battling space aliens. Lincoln is portrayed as a bribe giver, weasly lawyer, political animal liar, and a compromiser on civil right issues. All I really wanted to say was it was made intelligently which felt like cold water on a hot day compared to what's out there. Look forward to yr critical view. That's why I check out yr site.

Dear Joe:

Well, then, perhaps it's a good movie. It's possible; anything's possible. I personally haven't really liked a Spielberg film since "Jaws," which I consider to be more of a Zanuck/Brown film than a Spielberg film. Forgive my skepticism.

Josh

Name:             Joe Nittyer
E-mail:           
Date:               11/27/12

Dear Josh :

"Lincoln was actually the life of the party and the best joke and storyteller that anyone had ever met.." Lincoln is rife with storytelling and jokes and his sense of humor is a key component to Speilbergs film. Danel Day-Lewis is unbelievable, as usual. But that\'s not why I write. I wanted to say that I saw this movie on a Saturday, and at age 43, was the youngest person there. The theatre was backed with senior citizens and mature adults. Maybe the genius of this film will be that Hollywood will start making smart/challenging films for an audience of non-teenagers who care more about explosions, loss of virgininty, and crudity. I await our review as well as your new web based film project. All the best Josh, take care of yourself...

Dear Joe:

Well, kudos to Steven Spielberg and screenwriter, Tony Kushner, for that. Now here's the real test--does the film show the side of Lincoln, who was indeed a great man and a shrewd politician, that was self-avowedly racist? This is where I believe Spielberg falls down on the job consistently, as he did in "Schindler's List." There's never a gray area: people are good or people are bad, there's nothing in between. Although Lincoln freed the slaves, which was great act, he was also quoted as saying, [Lincoln avowed that he had] "no purpose to introduce polictical and social equality between the white and the black races. [He had never been in favor] "of making voters or jurors out of negroes, nor qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry." [He acknowledged] "a phyiscal difference between the two [that would] "probably forever forbid their living together upon the footing of perfect equality." Lincoln said, "My first impulse would be to free all the slaves, and send them to Liberia--their own native land." He advocated forced deportation, which was ridiculous since there were already three million black people in America. My point is this, Schindler didn't go from being a bad man to a good man; he went from being a bad to man to self-serving man who was mainly looking out for his own ass, thus causing him to do a good deed, and knowing the war was about to end allowed him to not be hung after the Nuremberg trials. Lincoln was a very good man, but he was never for equality, didn't believe that black people were as smart as white people, and wanted to forcibly deport them. Most white people, even the abolitionists, were racists at that time so Lincoln is simply of his time. He believed in freedom, not equality. Does Spielberg's film go into that?

Josh

Name:             David R.
E-mail:           
Date:               11/20/12

Dear Josh :

"Lincoln" looks interesting, especially Daniel Day-Lewis' performance. "Robot & Frank" with Frank Langella is a good indie film. It's based on the idea that in Japan they have a problem of too many elderly and not enough people to care for them, so they have taken to developing robot caregivers. Frank's son gets him a robot as a way to look after his dad. For a relatively low budget indie, it looks excellent. And Frank Langella is terrific.

Dear David:

I'm reading the book "Lincoln" is based on, "Team of Rivals" by Doris Kearns Goodwin, and it's a shame that apparently they only used a very small portion of the book for the film. Also, I just bet you that Spielberg doesn't really understand the character and makes Lincoln a dour, melancholy, downbeat guy which he wasn't. As Ms. Kearns points out again and again, although he had a very melancholy expression, Lincoln was actually the life of the party and the best joke and storyteller that anyone had ever met. Daniel Day-Lewis is certainly a fine actor, but he's definitley not the right physical type for Lincoln, who was 6'5". Henry Fonda made a great Lincoln. I'll keep my eyes peeled for "Robot & Frank." I like Frank Langella.

Josh

Name:             tom
E-mail:            southerncomfort@yahoo.com
Date:               11/18/12

Dear Josh :

Rumors has it you dated Renee O'connor.If true,how was that?

Dear Tom:

I never dated Renee. I would have liked to, but I didn't. She's an absolute joy to work with.

Josh

Name:             Brian
E-mail:            mackbrockton@aol.com
Date:               10/16/12

Dear Josh :

I was thinking of Vietnam War movies and i had to ask your opinion...aside from the "Big Four" (Platoon, Born on the Fourth of July, Apocalypse Now, and Full Metal Jacket), what do you think is the best Vietnam War movie? Also, do you think that good Vietnam War movies that carry a neutral or pro-war message even exist?

Dear Brian:

Well, nobody needs to be making pro-war films, but it's difficult not to take sides when you're writing a war story. Which ever side your lead character is on, that's the side you've taken. I don't think that "Platoon" is anti-North Vietnamese, but we're definitely with the Americans because they're our characters. Another good Vietnam war film is "Go Tell the Spartans" with Burt Lancaster, about the very beginning of the war.

Josh

Name:             Brian
E-mail:            mackbrockton@aol.com
Date:               10/16/12

Dear Josh :

I was thinking of Vietnam War movies and i had to ask your opinion...aside from the "Big Four" (Platoon, Born on the Fourth of July, Apocalypse Now, and Full Metal Jacket), what do you think is the best Vietnam War movie? Also, do you think that good Vietnam War movies that carry a neutral or pro-war message even exist?

Dear Brian:

Well, nobody needs to be making pro-war films, but it's difficult not to take sides when you're writing a war story. Which ever side your lead character is on, that's the side you've taken. I don't think that "Platoon" is anti-North Vietnamese, but we're definitely with the Americans because they're our characters. Another good Vietnam war film is "Go Tell the Spartans" with Burt Lancaster, about the very beginning of the war.

Josh

Name:             Bob
E-mail:           
Date:               10/22/12

Dear Josh :

In the Magnificent Ambersons, as far as the acting and characters are concerned, do you think George was too non-chalant in the scene where he told Lucy he was going away? I mean if he really loved this girl and she was going on if she didn't care, I myself would be unable to function, being around 21 years old or so as in the movie.

Dear Bob:

She's the one acting completely nonchalant; he seems kind of desperate to me. But he is an utterly spoiled brat, very used to getting his own way. Well, he got his comeuppance.

Josh

Name:             V
E-mail:            whoizit_861@hotmail.com
Date:               10/25/12

Dear Josh :

I just happened to read your treatment \'Hyderabad\' and I was intrigued by it. I was wondering how you came across writing it and why you chose to make a story set in India. I like how you killed off Raji at the end and decided not go for the conventional \'happy ending\' and also liked the fact that Marion chose to go back to India where her true heart lies. Oh, and I was also curious to wheather you actually viewed any Indian films prior to writing this, and if so which one(s)?

Dear V:

I wrote it with my good buddy, Gary Jones, who had just returned from Hyderabad, where he had directed the film, "Crocodile 3: Death Roll." All the stuff about the bandit in the jungle kidnapping the movie star was based a real character and an article I read. I like that story, if I do say so myself.

Josh

Name:             David Kashfi
E-mail:            davidkashfi@yahoo.com
Date:               10/14/12

Dear Josh :

Could you please tell the story of you and Lucy Lawless on set of Hercules and the Amazon Women in 1993? The one where you said to her "Lucy you have some 'splainin to do" and she later brought her husband to the set. That one was pretty interesting. It would be great if you could add any details you did not before. Thanks. David Kashfi

Dear David:

That's the story. I saw her for the first time in her Amazon woman outfit and she was 24-25 and it was immediate unrequited love at first sight. I then dogged her heels for days attempting to be charming by doing my Ricky Ricardo impression until she finally said, "That's from an American TV show with Lucile Ball?" I smiled and said yes. She said, "We didn't get that show down here." Still I wouldn't let up following her, so she brought her husband at the time, Garth Lawless, to the set. That slowed me down. There it is.

Josh

Name:             Chris
E-mail:            chriskilgour11@gmail.com
Date:               10/20/12

Dear Josh :

I wanted to ask about how the web series is coming along. Is it coming out anytime soon? Chris

Dear Chris:

I think the first three episodes went very well. It premieres on 1-13-13 on YouTube.

Josh

Name:             Nick el Ass
E-mail:            therealnickelass@yahoo.com
Date:               10/20/12

Dear Josh :

The question(s) have been kind of slow. What the hell have you been up to lately?!? Hopefully, off working on some kick ass project.

Dear Nick:

Yes, "Spine Chillers." I think you'll like it.

Josh

Name:             Jesper Moerch
E-mail:            moerch@anotherworldent.com
Date:               10/23/12

Dear Josh :

I have a couple of very rare behind-the-scenes photos from THE EVIL DEAD shoot, with (I think) you on them. Do you want hi.res scans? Oh, and thanks for all the entertaining hours spent watching your movies! Jesper

Dear Jesper:

Sure, I'd love to see them. And I'm glad you've enjoyed my shit.

Josh

Name:             Trey Smith
E-mail:            vgntrey@gmail.com
Date:               10/29/12

Dear Josh :

Branching off from my question earlier about digital projection, what advice would you give a young filmmaker preparing to make his first feature films given the current shift toward digital: still try to shoot on 16mm/35mm, or digital?

Dear Trey:

I've been converted. I say, digital. I've been shooting with a Canon DSLR and it's great. I went out to shoot at magic hour and through the camera it looked like noon. I shot the entire first episode of this show I'm doing with available light and it looks pretty damn good. I have instituted the concept of the cinematographer since then and things look even better. But with digital there's about 90% less hassle and it's much cheaper. I put the first episode in the can for $70, and that's because we had a scene in a bar and I picked up the tab, then I bought McDonald's. Our second episode was a runaway at $400, but it had specialized props and a creature. The third episode came in at about $300, and that included a full Klingon outfit and mask. I'd say there's no question at this point: digital.

Josh

Name:             Trey Smith
E-mail:            vgntrey@gmail.com
Date:               10/29/12

Dear Josh :

Branching off from my question earlier about digital projection, what advice would you give a young filmmaker preparing to make his first feature films given the current shift toward digital: still try to shoot on 16mm/35mm, or digital?

Dear Trey:

I've been converted. I say, digital. I've been shooting with a Canon DSLR and it's great. I went out to shoot at magic hour and through the camera it looked like noon. I shot the entire first episode of this show I'm doing with available light and it looks pretty damn good. I have instituted the concept of the cinematographer since then and things look even better. But with digital there's about 90% less hassle and it's much cheaper. I put the first episode in the can for $70, and that's because we had a scene in a bar and I picked up the tab, then I bought McDonald's. Our second episode was a runaway at $400, but it had specialized props and a creature. The third episode came in at about $300, and that included a full Klingon outfit and mask. I'd say there's no question at this point: digital.

Josh

Name:             Paul
E-mail:           
Date:               10/30/12

Dear Josh :

No questions in a couple months ? Well here's one to break the silence. Are you a movie quoter kind of guy ? If so or if not so what is your most quotable movie line that you use now and then ? Or a movie that has your favorite lines.

Dear Paul:

I am an avid movie quoter. The line I probably use the most is from Woody Allen's "Love & Death" when his father says, "I have a piece of land" and pulls a hunk of sod out of his pocket and Woody says, "No one can say you've wasted your life." I do rather like Bogart's line in "Casablanca," "Of all the gin joints in all the world, she has to come into mine." I can actually do almost every line from "Bridge on the River Kwai" and "Lawrence of Arabia," and I sort of drive people nuts. I actually did Anthony Quinn's big speech from "Lawrence" for him. He was amused.

Josh

Name:             Tim
E-mail:            nativeblood66
Date:               09/01/12

Dear Josh :

Are you sick of us? You haven't posted anything in almost 2 months in the Q&A forum. You doing OK? Tim

Dear Tim:

I'm back and better than ever. We shot three complete episodes of this new web series I'm making, "Spine Chillers," and have fully cut one episode, rough cut the second, and partially assembled the third. Almost all of the shooting took place at my house, which basically got destroyed. I've finally got it back in shape. Anyway, we will premiere all three episodes on YouTube on 1-13-13.

Josh

Name:             Tom
E-mail:            tomsbiz@gmail.com
Date:               09/02/12

Dear Josh :

Is your book "THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO LOW BUDGET FEATURE FILMMAKING" available in DIGITAL (PDF) FORMAT? Thanks, Tom

Dear Tom:

It is available in a digital format on Amazon for the Kindle or whatever, but it's not PDF.

Josh

Name:             Steve
E-mail:            mr5
Date:               09/07/12

Dear Josh :

How do you feel about the results of tonight's election? And how are you doing? --sm

Dear Steve:

I guess I'm a tad late on this (I've been busy filming) but it turned out exactly as I hoped and expected. I'm surprised Mitt Romney got as many votes as he did. But I'm much more comfortable with a Democrat in office than a Republican. Republicans destroy the economy and start wars.

Josh

Name:             Ukfilmer
E-mail:           
Date:               09/09/12

Dear Josh :

What are your thoughts on co-directing/co-writing a feature film? Can it work? have you ever been in that position? Thanks S

Dear Ukfilmer:

I've co-written and co-directed short films and it didn't work all that well, as far as I was concerned. I think there needs to be one voice of authority.

Josh

Name:             mike
E-mail:            booeman5000@Gmail.com
Date:               09/06/12

Dear Josh :

I was just wondering if there will be a dvd or blue ray version of the movie mind warp also known in the uk as brain slashers staring bruce campbell released in 1993 I think...... all I can find is vhs and bootleg copies and I don't belive in buying bootleg movies..... will their ever be a copy on dvd or blue ray and if not why not its such a great movie

Dear Mike:

I know nothing about it, nor have I even seen it.

Josh

Name:             Harry Callahan
E-mail:           
Date:               09/06/12

Dear Josh :

Clint Eastwood...thoughts?

Dear Dirty Harry:

Clint has clearly become senile and now talks to empty chairs. And I thought he was a Democrat.

Josh

Name:             Ian Reid
E-mail:            itr5010@yahoo.com
Date:               09/05/12

Dear Josh :

My son Robert Reid appeared as a supporting actor in If I Had A Hammer (younger brother of male lead in 1999) I know the film was never released and I was wondering if it was possible to aquire a dvd copy of the film so I could have it for my private collection? Thanks Ian Reid

Dear Ian:

It's available right here on this very website. Robert was very good in the film.

Josh

Name:             Trey Smith
E-mail:            vgntrey@gmail.com
Date:               09/05/12

Dear Josh :

Agreed. It wasn't hard to get over my disappointment that "The Godfather" was being shown on a digital print rather than 35mm like promised. It's still a great movie and drew me back in immediately. You're right, in the end what really matters is that you're watching a good film. Speaking of which, "Lawrence of Arabia" is getting a new theatrical release on October 4th at the multiplexes for one day. They will be showing the new digitally restored prints. Any chance you'll drag yourself back into a movie theater for that? It ain't 70mm (which I believe you've seen), but who knows, this may be the only chance I ever get to see one of my favorites movies in a theater. And hell, at least I'll being going to see a great film in a multiplex for once . Hope all is well and you had a great birthday.

Dear Trey:

I've seen "Lawrence of Arabia" many, many times, and quite a few times in 70mm. I just watched it on DVD again a few weeks ago, so no, I probably won't see it at the multiplex. But they sure don't make movies like that no more. But if you haven't seen it in the theater, run, don't walk, and go see it.

Josh

Name:             chris mccasland
E-mail:            chrismccasland@hotmail.com
Date:               09/05/12

Dear Josh :

You come off as an arrogant snot but I agree with you. religion is the curse of mankind. Not everyone wants your help in a school paper, or to interview you or even to ASK you anything.

Dear Chris:

I'm glad you liked the essay.

Josh

Name:             David R.
E-mail:           
Date:               08/25/12

Dear Josh :

"The Hanging Tree" with Gary Cooper is finally available on dvd from the Warner Archive. It's pretty amazing how many obscure catalog titles are being released these days with those manufacture-on-demand programs that most of the studios now have going.

Dear David:

Sadly, it's not a very good film. It's only real claim to fame is that it's George C. Scott's first film. And yes, it's cool they're finding new ways to sell film since the old ways don't seem to be working all that well. I just read that very few films--other than Batman and The Avengers--made any money this year. Yet people still want to see films.

Josh

Name:             Elise
E-mail:           
Date:               08/24/12

Happy Birthday Josh :

I sincerely hope that you had a good one. I've posted a set to celebrate it on my Evil Dead/Michigan Mafia fan site here: http://thedeaditeslayer.tumblr.com/post/29647898032/happy-birthday-joshua-matthew-becker-august-17th#notes I hope that you enjoy it and I hope your birthday was a good one!

Dear Elise:

I found your collage highly amusing. You sure can see me get older. Oh, and I'd never seen the clip of me running slate on ED before.

Thanks,

Josh

Name:             Jason Roth
E-mail:            oxboy30@gmail.com
Date:               08/24/12

Dear Josh :

Thanks for the info on music score price range. Time to hunt for a new investor (or 6!) I'm sure you're busy as hell with your webseries- if you do have time to do that quick animated voice role this year, I'd still love to have you in the mix. No pressure at all though, my film is going to be in production quite a whiiiiile... the joys of animating. All the best, Jason

Dear Jason:

I'd be happy to do a voice role in your film, just so long as I don't have to go anywhere to do it.. Honestly, though, I don't think you need a full orchestral score. If you've got a talented composer it's simply amazing what they can do with electronic instruments. And, as Joe LoDuca often does, he adds a some real instruments into the mix, like the brass in "Lunatics" or the bass and lead guitars in "Running Time." Good luck.

Josh

Name:             Paul
E-mail:           
Date:               08/24/12

Happy Birthday Josh as well :

Do you remember Bart Pierce who did FX for the Evil Dead ? Anyways I just caught up with a film that his sons Drew and Pierce mad called "Deadhead", kind of a zombie film mess but certainly the most romantic zombie film I ever saw. Even has clips with Bruce C in it. Oh and for your cat film loving friend a gallery in Minneapolis is having a Internet Cat video Festival on August 30 ! http://www.guardian.co.uk/theguardian/shortcuts/2012/jul/12/internet-cat-video-film-festival-heaven

Dear Paul:

I suppose I remember Bart considering I assisted he and Tom Sullivan on a number of the "Evil Dead" FX shots. Bart also did the animation FX for mine and Scott Spiegel's short films "Torro, Torro, Torro!" and "Cleveland Smith," and I spent weeks in his basement cutting the negatives for both films. I might also mention that he lived with my elder sister for maybe a year. So, yes, I remember Bart quite well.

Josh

Name:             Stan Wrightson
E-mail:           
Date:               08/24/12

Dear Josh :

As you may remember, I am perhaps the biggest TSNKE fan on the planet. I am, however, a little confused about your opinion of the film. Some years back, someone wrote in and called the film a "blunder", and you took issue with that. But since then you've called the film "a curiosity" and "shitty". Can we get, once and for all, your final opinion of TSNKE, including what you liked and didn't like about the film? I hope you won\'t be too hard on the film. I think it is a work of considerable energy and invention. Thanks.

Dear Stan:

Thank you. I guess it's all based on how I feel that particular day. It's a pretty ambitious no-budget first film, I'll give it that. And the new Blu-Ray version looks better than it probably has any right to look. But all of those phony-baloney weapons in Vietnam really get me down. Jackson is supposed to have an M-60 with a belt of bullets across his chest. Probably my biggest problem with the film is that I've seen it too many times. After a point all I can see are my mistakes.

Josh

Name:             August
E-mail:            joxerfan@hotmail.com
Date:               08/17/12

Dear Josh :

Happy freakin' birthday, you b-b-b-b-b-b-thing from another world, you! Hoping it's a great day, full of zaftig Dutch bombshells bringing you gigantic legal doobs and cold beer. Really excited about this web series. Some years back, everyone was saying that was the future of film making, but in retrospect, the ones that seem to have actually succeeded are basically the equivalent of indie films, released first in smaller installments online, and then released on dvd. (And hopefully making a profit as a result of the web exposure.) Is that your long range plan? Or do you hope to use this series as a way to generate interest and potential funding for a larger/longer project? And I recall you said it was local friends involved in this - anyone we would have heard of, or seen in your previous work? Regards, August

Dear August:

Good to hear from you, as always, and thanks for the find (if unrealistic) birthday wishes. Right now my hope is to make a web series that people want to watch. Beyond that, who knows? One of my friends whom you may have heard of, Bruce Campbell, has offered to be in an episode. So has Ellen Sandweiss. And though I haven't asked them yet I intend to contact Tom Sullivan and Hal Delrich for an upcoming episode, too. Th-th-that's all, folks!

Josh

Name:             Sergey Poplavsky
E-mail:            patrick@poplavsky.com
Date:               08/14/12

Hello, Dear Josh :

i want to ask you about a movie "Control", 2007 year, by Anton Corbijn. have you any licenses for this movie ? cause i want to show this movie in Russia, but only in English. and so russian distributors cant help me with this, cause they have licenses only for showing in Russian, or with russian subtitles. i want to show only in English, so can you help me with this? maybe, if you have licenses - it`s ok for me to show this movie, if i have your agree. or not?

Dear Sergey:

Although I had nothing to do with that film, nor have I even seen it, I say it's OK for you to show it. I just asked my cat and she thinks it's OK, too.

Josh

Name:             Tim
E-mail:            nativeblood66
Date:               08/11/12

Dear Josh :

Wow! You sure do seem to attract the really vicious nutcases at times Josh. I sure you hope you don't seriously entertain the notions of clowns like that - referring to "Spielberg" obviously. We have all your movies and have enjoyed watching them all. In addition, I went back to your page 1 in the archive section to date it. No dates but you mention Sam's "new" movie "A Simple Plan" which was out in 1998. Question here is if nobody has ever heard of you then why in the hell have people been writing to you for at least 14 years now? Schmuckatelli Spielberg obviously is not a good detective. He's put himself out there as the troll he is. What if he's a she? Kudos to you though. You'll put negative posts up on your site as well as positive ones. We know your stance on free thought and rights to expression by now for sure. Over the years I've appreciated your responses not only to me but to mostly anyone that takes the time to ask. I have personally learned a lot from this blogging with you and I\'m sure many others would say the same. Keep up the good work Josh and delegate the Spielberg trolls to areas where they fit in the most - The garbage can. Peace. Tim

Dear Tim:

Thanks for the kind words. As Kevin pointed out, the guy didn't even spell Spielberg right.

Josh

Name:             Trey
E-mail:            vgntrey@gmail.com
Date:               08/10/12

Dear Josh :

What are your thoughts on movie theaters showing classic movies on digital prints? I ask because a local theater just announced it will be hosting a Stanley Kubrick month in September, with all films being presented digitally rather than through film projectors. On one hand I can't help but feel disappointed that because studios are choosing to cease distributing 35mm prints of classic films, I may never get a chance to see my favorites on the big screen in that format. While on the other hand, one would hope this would allow theaters to show more classic films since it is much cheaper to distribute the films digitally. Sadly, this isn't happening, but the possibility of it happening in the future is the one silver lining I can find. Still, it just feels like less of an event when I go see a film projected on the big screen digitally. I saw "2001" a few years back projected on 35mm and it felt very special. I experienced the same feeling when I saw "Psycho," "The 400 Blows," and "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly." However, when I saw "The Godfather" last month, the print was digital and while it looked very good, it just didn't feel as special. It never felt like a big event. In fact, it felt only slightly better than popping the blu-ray in and watching it on my flat screen TV.

Dear Trey:

Watching digital or film are different experiences, firing different synapses in the brain. There's something a bit more active about light being projected on a screen then boucing back into your eyes. I have no issue with digital photography, and I'm presently shooting this web series with a Canon DSLR and it looks great, with very little lighting. But I agree, there is a difference--seeing "2001" in Super-Panavision 70mm is the way to go. However, having watched all the films you mentioned on TV many times, a good film is a good film, even if you're not seeing it in the exact form it was shot in.

Josh

Name:             pablo
E-mail:            pablocampbell2@hotmail.com
Date:               08/07/12

Dear Mr Becker :

Nice to write you again. I just wondering if you use Step Outline or something like that to write you scripts. Or Do you start your writing process in the script itself? Thank you.

Dear pablo:

Good to hear from you. I start with a 12-14 page treatment that indicates the act breaks. Although some say you shouldn't, I put in as much dialog as I can think of. Once I've told the entire story in the treatment, then I sit down and write the script.

Josh

Name:             S. Speilberg
E-mail:            Whatamovie@sstudios.net
Date:               08/06/12

Hello Mr Becker :

In your case I can clearly see the curse of Hollywood has manifested itself truly in your character, especially in your guidelines for questions. 1) Hardly anybody has ever heard of you, why would they seek you out for a job. One can only imagine that those of the populace dull enough go watch Xena or Herculese haven't the wherewithal to know what a 'director'' is let alone have the competence to use the Internet or any other means to seek you out... Furthermore, I doubt you even got a job for yourself at the moment, let's not butch up by pretending you disappoint hundreds a day... 2) Same old story as above really, why the hell would anyone send you a script? It may be good to keep you warm through the winter months I suppose, yet that doesn't really give anyone even that reason to send you a script... Why would they want to keep you warm when they have absolutely no idea who you are. Once again, please try not to pretend that people send you scripts (I doubt you'd receive one a year unless from a close relative). And finally, 6) From what I see of your immensely limited, low-rent output, I doubt anybody would benefit even slightly with your help on a school paper. But again, that's if anyone has seen your work, or noticed you had anything to do with it for that matter. Which I doubt. Sorely. So my question for you is, 'Why do you think you have this foul attitude?". You aren't even a minor cog in the wheel of the film industry, far from it. Yet you seem to be under the impression that you're really quite something. Which, if we're being entirely honest, is a heinous corruption of the truth. Like many an unsuccessful actor, The bad attitude I think comes from the fact that, like them, you've had lots of small roles that have never really garnered any real attention. The though that you are getting older every day and time is running out are ever-present in your mind I suspect. You also, I assume, know that you have missed your oportunity for any reasonably well-financed output, possibly due to aforementioned attitude, but also e quad of your terrible back catalogue of 'work'. So to sum up, why would people ask you for a) a job, b) for you to read their script or c) for help with a school paper? They haven\'t even heard of you! You wouldn\'t ask the guy who played a waiter in GoodFellas, for sound career advice in acting now would you? So why would anyone ask you anything, especially after reading your questions portion of the website. Am I right or wrong Mr. Becker? Honesty please Mr. Becker... Thanks for reading, S. Speilberg P.S. 'Private' was a load of crap really, there was hardly any Americans there on D-Day, a fact that you missed the opportunity to criticize me on... However, it did make a fair bit of money... How'd you do from Xena? Thanks again Mr Becker, let me wish you the. Ery best of luck in your future career, I think you may need it!

Dear S.:

I appreciate the time and effort you put into thinking about me. Thanks.

Josh

Name:             Mike Zenatta
E-mail:           
Date:               07/24/12

Dear Josh :

I finally bought "Going Hollywood", and I really enjoyed it. It was very entertaining and extremely well written. Thanks for writing it! But I think my copy of the book may be faulty, as it ends quite abruptly at the end of page 194, seemingly in mid-conversation. Is this how the book actually ends? Or do I need to get a replacement copy? What is the official page count for "Going Hollywood"? Thanks in advance for your reply.

Dear Mike:

I'm glad you enjoyed the book, but that is indeed the ending at the bottom of page 194. So then you found the ending aburpt, I take it.

Josh

Name:             Jason Roth
E-mail:            oxboy30@gmail.com
Date:               07/24/12

Dear Josh :

Haven't written in on the Q&A in a while, glad to read you've got a new series in the works. Kick-ass that Joe LoDuca is on board! If you're at liberty to say, what is a ballpark rate for having a symphonic score written, performed, & recorded? I plan on pursuing the option for my current feature, since I hate the way cheap synthesized scores sound. Still would love to have you do the voiceover role in my animated film. Maybe we could discuss details via email in the near future. Best of luck with the new show! Cheers, Jason

Dear Jason:

30 years ago it cost $15,000 for a fully-orchestrated score, and that's because the unknown composer at the time, Joe LoDuca, cut me a terrific deal. I would have to guess at this point, depending on how much the composer charges you, you probably can't do it for less than $25,000.

Josh

Name:             Jonathan Moody
E-mail:            sickflickproductions@gmail.com
Date:               07/24/12

Hey Josh :

I just got done watching an old Humphrey Bogart/ Nicholas Ray movie "In a Lonely Place" which I thought was fantastic. I was surprised to see it wasn't on your Favorite Films list. Is there a particular reason why it's not there? Also glad to hear you're doing a twilight zone type webseries. I can't wait to see them when you put them online. Good luck on it and keep us all up to date on it! Jonathan Moody

Dear Jonathan:

I like "In a Lonely Place" and I've seen several times, I just don't love it. Regarding the web series, the first episode is shot and edited and will soon go to Joe LoDuca to be scored. We shoot ep #2 the weekend after next.

Josh

Name:             Danielle
E-mail:           
Date:               07/17/12

Dear Josh :

I just read your series of articles about screenplay structure and it reminded me of an Iris Murdoch quote: "I think it is important to make a detailed plan before you write the first sentence. Some people think one should write, George woke up and knew that something terrible had happened yesterday, and then see what happens. I plan the whole thing in detail before I begin. I have a general scheme and lots of notes. Every chapter is planned. Every conversation is planned. This is, of course, a primary stage, and very frightening because you’ve committed yourself at this point. I mean, a novel is a long job, and if you get it wrong at the start you’re going to be very unhappy later on. The second stage is that one should sit quietly and let the thing invent itself. One piece of imagination leads to another. You think about a certain situation and then some quite extraordinary aspect of it suddenly appears. The deep things that the work is about declare themselves and connect. Somehow things fly together and generate other things, and characters invent other characters, as if they were all doing it themselves. One should be patient and extend this period as far as possible. Of course, actually writing it involves a different kind of imagination and work.”

Dear Danielle:

Ms. Murdoch knows of what she speaks. There are two kinds of stories in the world: the ones that know where they're going, and the ones that don't know where they're going. If you know where you're going then you can make everything in the story lead to the conclusion, which is how you achieve a compelling tale. I know in 5 minutes if a movie knows where it's going or not, it just way too obvious. I have no patience anymore with aimless drama or blather dialog, let alone unfunny comedy. These little twist-ending "Twilight Zone"-like scripts that I'm presently writing are extreme examples of this concept. Not only are you leading somewhere, you're intentionally misleading the audience so that you can pull a sleight-of-hand and surprise them. Stories are exactly like jokes: you set them up and you pay them off. If you haven't got that part of it figured out, you haven't got anything figured out. Here, here, Iris Murdoch.

Josh

Name:             John Marnie
E-mail:            j_marnie@yahoo.com
Date:               07/13/12

Dear Josh :

I pray to my shoes, for without them, my feet would hurt to walk upon the earth. Religions to me, are superstitions for the non-thinkers. I have no idea at all who runs the universe and beyond. Your article runs parallel with some of my writings. Thank you, John

Dear John:

I'm glad you got something out of it.

Josh

Name:             David R.
E-mail:           
Date:               07/13/12

Dear Josh :

Are you a fan of any of Hal Ashby's films?

Dear David:

Very much so, up to a point. I was a big fan of Hal Ashby right up through "Shampoo," but then it all went to hell in a handcar for the guy. My stepbrother Jeff was his assistant for several years. Ashby was also a great editor, BTW, and won an Oscar for his editing for "In the Heat of the Night."

Josh

Name:             Jack
E-mail:           
Date:               07/13/12

Dear Josh :

Great to hear we're going to be seeing more from you soon(ish?). Is this on Film or Digital, and are the regulars like Bruce and Ted involved? Additionally, if it's Digital, would you consider going the Film Digital/Release on YouTube method to get another Feature made, or would you prefer to keep the "integrity", for want of a better word, of good-ol'-fashioned Film being shown in a Cinema for a fully-fledged Film? Yours, Jack.

Dear Jack:

This is a web series, shot on DV, so it's meant to be seen on YouTube. The budgets right now are about $50 each, so I'm working with local friends. The first episode is shot and cut, and, wonderfully, Joe LoDuca has agreed to score them. We won't be launching this series until we have about six episodes in the can, and maybe six other scripts, so once we start showing them we can keep showing them.

Josh

Name:             Tim
E-mail:            Nativeblood
Date:               07/3/12

Good Afternoon Josh :

Haven't been here in a while. You're still up and running though and that's good enough for me. I think I just wanted to publicly lament the passing of Andy Griffith. Kazan'z "A Face in the Crowd" from 1957 forever changed my view of the sheriff from Mayberry. Griffith's range, even as a very young actor, became very clear to me upon discovering that movie. Here's a glass to Andy Griffith. Meanwhile...How's life treating you Josh? Tim

Dear Tim:

Good to hear from you. Yes, Andy Griffith's performance in "A Face in the Crowd" was incredible, and really unlike anything else he ever did. It's truly one of the great film debuts. Farewell, Andy Griffith. As for me, I, like a million others, am trying to put together a web series. It's very much like "Twilight Zone," but in 12-minute complete segments. We shot the first one this past weekend and it went quite well. We won't post them on YouTube until we have at least three segments in the can and three more scripts ready to go. Otherwise, it's just ridiculously hot here in Michigan.

Josh

Name:              nick
E-mail:           
Date:               06/30/12

Dear Josh :

Have you ever considered posting a PDF file of the list of books you\'ve read along with the complete film list? Also, how many books have you read total? Any thoughts on writing a new reading list (like the one in "Reading Books")

Dear nick:

Man, that smacks of effort.

Josh

Name:              Will
E-mail:           
Date:               06/30/12

Dear Josh :

Actually, I've been sending occasional Aldrich questions sporadically over several months, and we did discuss Attack! and several of his other great ones. Of course, you get a ton of questions and have your own life going on, so I don\'t expect that you remember all of my posts. Anyway, I decided to watch all of Aldrich's films after reading your story about meeting him, just to see if there was a hidden gem in there I didn't know about. I still think Hustle has some good qualities, but The Frisco Kid and All the Marbles weren't very good. Eddie Albert and Jack Palance, not to mention my favorite actor, Lee Marvin, were all fantastic in Attack! Flight of the Phoenix, Emperor of the North Pole, The Dirty Dozen, all excellent. I'm not one to glorify bad movies, but I do like to see as much of a director\'s work as possible, so I didn't mind slogging through Aldrich's less successful work.

Dear Will:

I'm the same way. If I like a director I want to see all of their movies, even the bad ones. I saw "The Grissom Gang" for the first time just a few years ago and it stunk. But it's an Aldrich film so I had to see it.

Josh

Name:              Will
E-mail:           
Date:               06/26/12

Dear Josh :

I have an Aldrich follow-up to my last post. There are six Aldrich films that have yet to come out on DVD: Big Leaguer (1953), Autumn Leaves (1956), Ten Seconds to Hell (1959), The Angry Hills (1959), Twilight's Last Gleaming (1977), and The Choirboys (1977). I know next to nothing about the 1950s films. A friend told me Twilights Last Gleaming should have been good but wasn't, and I've read reviews stating The Choirboys was Aldrich's worst film. Have you seen any of them? I'd love to hear your opinion, especially on the earlier films.

Dear Will:

"The Choirboys" is not only Robert Aldrich's worst film, it's one of the worst films ever. Sadly for me, I saw Aldrich speak, but it was right after seeing "Twilight's Last Gleaming" which was awful so I was in a bad mood. "Autumn Leaves" is OK at best, and "The Angry Hills" was a pretty good Leon Uris book and just an OK movie. I haven't seen the others.

Josh

Name:              Will
E-mail:           
Date:               06/26/12

Dear Josh :

After several pleasurable months of viewing, I’ve finished seeing every Robert Aldrich movie currently available on DVD. The 22 films were Vera Cruz (1954), Apache (1954), Kiss Me Deadly (1955), The Big Knife (1955), Attack! (1956), The Last Sunset (1961), Sodom & Gomorrah (1962), What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962), 4 for Texas (1963), Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1964), The Flight of the Phoenix (1965), The Dirty Dozen (1967), The Killing of Sister George (1968), The Legend of Lylah Clare (1968), Too Late the Hero (1970), The Grissom Gang (1971), Ulzana’s Raid (1972), Emperor of the North (1973), The Longest Yard (1974), Hustle (1975), The Frisco Kid (1979), and …All the Marbles (1981) When I last posted on your site, I was about to see Ulzana’s Raid for the first time. You were right; it was fantastic. I think the nihilistic Vietnam allegory is even stronger now that we’re immersed in the “War on Terror.” I love a particular exchange between Bruce Davison and Burt Lancaster. Davison wants to push the horses to catch up to the raiding Ulzana, and Lancaster stops him, pointing out that the raiders want the soldiers to wear out the horses. Davison says he doesn’t like to think of defenseless women and children being killed in the meantime, and Lancaster replies, “Well, it’s best not to think about it.” You were also right that the last films, The Frisco Kid and All the Marbles, weren’t very good. I was surprised to find I enjoyed All the Marbles. It was lightweight but Peter Falk was fun and I liked the dirty cinematography of the dying/struggling factory towns that the lady wrestlers worked as a circuit. I was surprised by Hustle, which wasn’t great either, but a lot better than I expected. The scene between Eddie Albert and Ben Johnson was as good a stare-down as you can get. Eddie asks, why kill me? Ben just looks at him, and says, “Because I can’t kill ‘em all.” It’s a nice resonance to The Wild Bunch. The ending was contrived, but fit the overall nihilism of the film and had an amusing early Robert Englund sighting. I think Hustle makes a good double bill with Kiss Me Deadly, and sums up Aldrich’s outlook on humanity.

Dear Will:

You'll have to excuse me, but you present that list of films and, other than "Ulzana's Raid," you want discuss "The Frisco Kid," "All the Marbles" and "Hustle," three of the worst films listed? What about "Attack!" or "The Longest Yard" or "Flight of the Phoenix" or "The Dirty Dozen" or "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?" or "Emperor of the North (Pole)"? Aldrich made a lot of good films, but he did make a fair amount of junk, too. Did you like "Attack!"? I think it's great. Eddie Albert and Jack Palance are terrific.

Josh

Name:              Elise
E-mail:             elise-holmes@hotmail.com
Date:               06/22/12

Wow Josh :

I got the hugest surprise in the mail today. Thank you so much for the birthday gifts! That seriously made my day. I'd also like to let you know that I got the new Thou Shalt Not Kill...Except Blu-ray and it is absolutely fantastic. It's actually my third Blu-ray ever purchased. The special features are great too. I enjoyed watching them. Anyway, I'll definitely be crossing off more things in the future slowly such as Rushes and Lunatics. I can't thank you enough Josh.

Dear Elise:

My pleasure and happy birthday.

Josh

Name:              Bob
E-mail:             
Date:               06/22/12

Dear Josh :

Do you think a musical score can change a good movie into a great movie? I am thinking of The Cider House Rules which alone might be a 2 1/2 star movie but the score makes it a 3 1/2 star.

Dear Bob:

I think a good score can certainly improve a movie, as it does with my film TSNKE. Personally, I'm not a big fan of "Cider House Rules," so I wouldn't give it 3 1/2 stars even if Mozart arose from the dead and scored it. And I don't buy Michael Caine's accent, either. The book makes more sense than the movie. The author and screenwriter, John Irving, wrote an interesting book about the making of the film called "My Movie Business," which I recommend.

Josh

Name:              Diana Hawkes
E-mail:             upon request
Date:               06/18/12

Hi ya Josh :

Been a while. Have you heard about our fair Lucy Lawless' Greenpeace stunt and arrest? Small chance she won't be able to leave NZ for a while if sentencing involves more than a fine. Meanwhile! as you like to say ... I was hoping we'd discuss "Big Fan", a small movie shown on IFC these days, starring a comedian/actor Patton Oswalt. Written/directed by Robert Siegel, who made "The Wrestler" as well. I am a fan of Oswalt's stand-up routine, and was surprised by his interesting performance in "Big Fan". It is one of those mimimal-dialogue, simple indie type stories, and the subject matter is about idolizing sports (rather than being a film about football per se), and placing self-worth in team identity. The timing of me catching it with the Penn State debacle (I'm a Nittany Lion alum) and NFL bounty/concussion scandals currently in the news probably contributed to my interest in the subject. Apparently Oswalt got a lot of "he was robbed" of an Oscar nomination chatter for this film, and I subsequently caught him in "Young Adult" with Charlize Theron, in which he was also quite good. "Authentic" to the 2 characters I've seen him play, I would say. So who else here has seen "Big Fan"? Thoughts? What I really wanted to talk about was how it might fit into our older, larger debate about likeable protagonists- If I recall correctly, it started with Ted's character in Lunatics, and our difference of opinion in Paul Giamati's character in "Sideways", and the pathetic schlep who lost his cat in "Goliath"; you stated the later two were too unlikeable for the audience to care/root for, I disagreed. For that matter, Theron's main character in Young Adult can fit into this debate as well. (That Diablo Cody though- I'm not sure I have her number yet.) We agreed that despite Jack Nicholson's selfish man in "5 Easy Pieces", it was a movie you felt compelled to see through with hope he'd find a cure for his restlessness, find peace/happiness... I would be curious to know if you found Big Fan's main guy likeable enough to care about what happens to him.

Dear Diana:

I'll keep my eyes peeled for it. Robert Siegel, by the way, only wrote "The Wrestler," Darren Aronofsky directed it. "Likable" isn't a term I use very often (it's used frequently in Hollywood), I'm more for empathetic in some way or another, or even sympathetic. The guy in "Goliath" just seemed like a creep.

Josh

Name:              Bobby Pietrus
E-mail:             
Date:               06/10/12

Dear Josh :

I saw a list of the 100 greatest movies of all time recently, and NIGHT OF THE HUNTER was listed as #3. Even a genuinely great movie like NIGHT OF THE HUNTER is greatly overrated by that list, particularly as high on the list as it appears. I say this as a sincere, committed fan of that film for much of my life. I love it. The movie is just incredible for most of its running time, but unfortunately, when it gets to the final act, it progressively disintegrates. The crash is hard, and it is jarring, a brutal shift in tone that takes us to a trite ending that looks and feels like nothing so much as one of those inane studio imposition on an already-finished picture we've seen so often over the years. That\'s enough of a flaw to drop its ranking well out of a top 100 in my opinion.

Dear Bobby:

I agree. I like the film a lot, and it looks great, but it wouldn't be in my top 100 either. Robert Mitchum is way over the top, which is fun to watch, but it's not really a great performance. And it does play out rather slowly.

Josh

Name:              Bob
E-mail:             
Date:               06/10/12

Dear Josh :

Have you ever thought about writing a script about the sinking of the Titanic?

Dear Bob:

I may be mistaken, but aren't there already a few films about the sinking of the Titanic?

Josh

Name:              Danny Derakhshan
E-mail:             
Date:               06/01/12

Hey Josh :

Do you watch the movie trailers for new movies coming out? I'd be interested to know what you think of movie trailers of yesterday and today. Best Regards, Danny

Dear Danny:

I see movie trailers on TV during The Daily Show. Trailers have gone through many changes over the years: silent trailers are completely different than trailers from the 1930s, which are different from the '40s, which are different from the 50s, etc. So I discussed this with my friend Paul, and our conclusion is that trailers used to be more written and have more of a concept, as opposed to now where they just dump it on a trailer editor and let them figure it out. An interesting example, I think, was the TSNKE trailer, which I've always liked (and is included on the new Synapse Blu-Ray version). We had to deliver a trailer, but we had no idea what it was about. So Scott Spiegel sat down and spent a couple of months cutting a terrific action montage, while I came up with a hundred different concepts attempting to meld it all together. I finally came up with the biblical approach, "In the beginning god created light, then he created man, and he gave him ten commandments, amongst them 'Thou shalt not kill.' But evil forces arose, ignoring god's commandments, and wreaked havoc on the world. There are times when the laws of god and man must be put aside. Thou Shalt Not Kill . . . Except!" And off we go into Scott's montage. But that's a lot of writing for a trailer these days. Now you just get the montage. I like the trailers from the '40s and '50s that splashed across the screen in big letters, "TERRIFIC!" "AMAZING!" "THE GREATEST MOTION PICTURE IN FILM HISTORY!"

Josh

Name:              Justin Daly
E-mail:             www.justindaly@juno.com
Date:               06/01/12

Dear Josh :

Finally made it to France last Fall. I could see old Dan in the field and on leave in Paris but he did a lot of hospital and church time,especially his Christmas Eve prank at Notre Dame.Taking note if Dan ever met Hemmingway. Read my dedications to Hemmingway and Gellhorn on National WW2 Memorial Registry. J.Daly

Dear Justin:

Good to hear from you. I've been to France once and I liked it very much. What was Dan's prank at Notre Dame?

Josh

Name:              Paul
E-mail:             
Date:               06/01/12

Dear Josh :

So many movies theses days are heavily scored with snippets of pop songs, a trend that I find annoying because it takes me out of the film and into some hip guys record collection (like Wes Anderson films for instance). Anyways what are your favirite film scenes set to a single song. Or song appearances in a movie. Also what do you remember about this interview you did? Hilarious and very truthful. http://www.whoosh.org/issue75/ibecker2.html

Dear Paul:

I agree with you for the most part, and certainly agree regarding Wes Anderson, whose song choices seem consistently inappropriate to me. However, having just watched "Goodfellas" for the 1,000th time, it uses bits and pieces of songs all over the film and they're really terrific choices, starting right from the beginning with Tony Bennett's "I'd Go From Rags to Riches." And Martin Scorsese had already done it brilliantly before with "Mean Streets." The film that started this trend was "Easy Rider" in 1969 and they're all good song choices, albeit not snippets of songs, but big hunks. Then in 1973 came "American Graffiti" that had wall-to-wall songs, all beautifully setting the period and an integral part of the story. So, my point is, it can be done well, but it usually isn't.

Josh

Name:              Craig
E-mail:             
Date:               05/29/12

Dear Josh :

Did you do any new interviews for your article on "Butch Cassidy?" Were you able to contact William Goldman?

Dear Craig:

No, I didn't try to contact William Goldman. First of all the man's 82 years old and I'm sure he appreciates his privacy, and second, I have no doubt in the intervening 33 years between the film's release and now he's said absolutely everything he ever intended to say about "Butch."

Josh

Name:              Kathy Chromey
E-mail:             bluesparklies54@yahoo.com
Date:               05/27/12

Dear Josh :

how can I get a pic approx. 16x20" of the picture of Patton/George C Scott that you have.

Dear Kathy:

I think you're referring to the shot of Patton standing in front of the flag and saluting. I think I just scanned it out of a book. That's the best way to get a high-quality digital picture if you don't happen to have a very high-resolution file.

Josh

Name:              Brian
E-mail:             mackbrockton@aol.com
Date:               05/27/12

Dear Josh :

What's your favorite scariest horror movie?

Dear Brian:

It depends on the time of my life that I saw it. From say 6 to 10 it was, oddly, "Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein," which gave me a lot of nightmares, particularly the Wolfman falling out the castle window. Then I saw "Rosemary's Baby," which scared the hell out of me. "The Exorcist" scared me, but not as much as "Rosemary's Baby." The next film that really got me was "Carrie," which gave me a nightmare and I was already 18 years old. About that same time was "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" that I found very frightening to watch. "The Howling" gave me a nightmare and I didn't even think it was that good of a movie. After that, I don't think a movie ever gave me a nightmare. "Alien" and "Aliens" both scared me, too.

Josh

Name:              David R.
E-mail:             
Date:               05/27/12

Dear Josh :

Ever seen a movie starring Roy Scheider called "The Seven-Ups"? Heard it\'s a real gritty action flick with some of the best/most realistic chase scenes ever.

Dear David:

Sure, I've seen it several times. It does have a great car chase in it, although the rest of the film is just OK.

Josh

Name:              David R.
E-mail:             
Date:               05/24/12

Dear Josh :

Interesting profile of Roger Waters and how he's taken The Wall back on the road: http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=7409150n The shows look spectacular!

Dear David:

It certainly looks spectacular. I must admit, however, that it's not one of my favorite Pink Floyd records. It's easily twice as long as it should be with a lot of filler bits all over the place. I'll take "Dark Side of the Moon" or "Meddle" any day of the week.

Josh

Name:              Dean Vanderkolk
E-mail:             nswriterdude@gmail.com
Date:               05/24/12

Dear Josh :

We've spoken at length at several cons about classic cinema (William Wyler in particular) and I share your belief in the importance of a good story. What advice can you give a writer who wants to make the jump from shorts to feature length screenplays?

Dear Dean:

Write longer scripts. But I jest. The key, in my opinion, is to view the story as three seperate things--the three acts--and take them on individually. Everything in Act I leads into Act II, and everything in Act II leads into Act III. Set-up, confrontation, resolution. That way you're dealing with 30-40 page chunks instead of one big 100-120 page chunk. Good luck.

Josh

Name:              Nick
E-mail:             nicholaslasalla@yahoo.com
Date:               05/22/12

Hey Josh :

Are you working on any projects at the moment? Anything you're trying to get funded? What's going on? We haven't heard anything in a while, so I figured I'd ask and let you know that I love your movies...any chance for another suspenseful flick? The intensity of the bank robbery gone wrong in "Running Time" ranks up there with the best of the best, in my opinion, particularly after the security guard is shot. Loved it! Having Bruce in there is a great plus, but honestly that film was a success because you kick ass and no other reason. Anyways, take care Josh and I really hope to hear from you soon! Best, Nick

Dear Nick:

I'm glad you liked RT, I enjoyed making it. As far me these days, I write scripts and movie reviews. The movie biz was hopping here in Michigan for three years due to the 40% film incentive program, but our new Republican governor, Rick Snyder, killed that program dead as soon as he took office, so that's the end of the film biz in MI, again. Otherwise, not much is happening.

Josh

Name:              Craig
E-mail:             
Date:               05/22/12

Dear Josh :

Is there a film (or a few) from the last two years that you thought was pretty good? Also, are you still writing for any magazines?

Dear Craig:

Yes, I write for True West Magazine. I have a monthly column, plus I've recently been writing longer pieces for them. I just wrote an article about the making of "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid." Regarding new movies, I finally just got rid of HBO and Showtime because they don't even show the newer movies anymore, it's all On Demand, Netflix or Red Box, I guess. So I nourish myself on old movies, particularly westerns.

Josh

Name:              David R.
E-mail:             
Date:               05/11/12

Dear Josh :

Yimou Zhang has a new film that came out last year called "The Flowers of War". I heard good things, but haven't seen it. Finally he's getting away from those martial arts fantasy epics.

Dear David:

"Flowers of War" sounds very interesting, and, as you said, it's not a martial arts fantasy, so that's good. I do miss the Zhang Yimou of the 1990s, but the Chinese government in their infinite wisdom squashed him because god forbid they should have a world-class filmmaker in their country who actually has something to say about life in contemporary China.

Josh

Name:              deb deming
E-mail:             ddeming@gloversvilleschools.org
Date:               05/08/12

Dear Josh :

I have a cane handle made of ivory with the name Bois Belleau 1919 written on it.I can't find any information on who this person is...or who it may have belonged to? Can you help me? Deb

Dear deb:

I wrote a script about the battle of Belleau Wood, which took place in June, 1918, and that's the extent of my knowledge. "Bois Belleau" means Belleau Wood, so it's not a person.

Josh

Name:              Sam Fickling
E-mail:             ficklingsp@aquinas.vic.edu.au
Date:               05/04/12

Dear Josh :

You have clearly misunderstood the film. You've missed the point of it, the themes, the plot, the meanings, the symbols, the references. Everything about it you've got wrong. Just becaause you se it at as a crap film doesn't mean it is for everyone else. First of all it is not crap and far more important and better than you realize. It's shot at a slow pace for a reason, the dialogue is there for a reason, the scenes are there for a reason Nothing in Kubrick's films were incidental. If you open your mind a bit and appreciate it for what it really is you'll find that it is the opposite of what you shunned it as. There are some flaws technically but visually, thematically and meaningfully it is outstanding. There are sre some minor flaws but that doesn't matter. It's also very complex so it takes time to really get into. Maybe you should re-watch it and I'm sure you'll pick up on things that you missed. It's gotten mixed reviews yet your one is invalid and wrong. It is by no means a bad film

Dear Sam:

First of all, are you referring to "Eyes Wide Shut"? It would be handy if you actually stated what you're talking about, as opposed to having to simply construe it. So, I say the film is crap; you say it isn't, so that means it isn't? You say, "Just becaause you se it at as a crap film doesn't mean it is for everyone else." Are you trying to imply that I don't speak for everyone? I'll have you know that I was elected spokesperson for the world, so in fact I do speak for everyone, including you. Get with the program.

You might try reading "Eyes Wide Open" by Frederic Raphael, who co-wrote the screenplay for "Eyes Wide Shut." Because Kubrick died before the film came out, Mr. Raphael felt that he could actually tell the real story of the writing of the film. He felt that Kubrick had no handle on the story from the very beginning, that the Arthur Schnitzler novel it was based on was old, silly and obvious, and that nothing that Kubrick was bringing to the story was improving it at all. After many disagreements over quite a few years, Raphael left the project and Kubrick took over. Raphael didn't think that Kubrick fixed anything once he was gone. I still contend that it's a dull mess of a movie with a befuddled point.

Josh

Name:              Nick La Salla
E-mail:             nicholaslasalla@yahoo.com
Date:               04/28/12

Hey Josh :

A friend of mine got a job as production assistant on a reality TV show. We were working together on film ideas before. Do you think working in TV helps prepare for feature films, or are they too different to carry over any learning from one to the other? Thanks for your insight! Best, Nick

Dear Nick:

Any work on a production is good experience. The more time you spend on a set the more you'll understand the workings of a crew. The most experience I ever got was working on Xena and Herc. Yes, reality shows are different, but it's still worthwhile.

Josh

Name:              Jonathan A. Moody
E-mail:             sickflickproductions@gmail.com
Date:               04/28/12

Hey Josh :

Great to see Thou Shalt Not Kill on Blu Ray. I'll pick it up after I get myself out of debt with my first feature film "Scary Story Slumber Party". Its an anthology film in the vein of Tales from the Crypt and Creepshow. I just wanted to show you what I've been up to so I sent you a link to the you tube page. I know you're not a big horror fan yourself but thought since I've talked to you for years about filmmaking I'm showing you I've finally actually made something. Now I'm 5,000 dollars in the hole but life could be worse and I'm sure we'll recoup the money off of sales and distribution. Your books have taught me alot and I read them religiously in order to get by. Thanks for always being there man and I hope you dig the trailer. The movie was shot on Canon 7 and 5 D. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-yKhCuSfIho Thanks again man, Jonathan A. Moody

Dear Jonathan:

Good work at getting a movie made, which is a big deal. I wish you all the best with it.

Josh

Name:              Trey Smith
E-mail:             vgntrey@gmail.com
Date:               04/20/12

Dear Josh :

Have you seen any of Werner Herzog's recent narrative films or documentaries? If so, what are your thoughts on them?

Dear Trey:

I saw "Rescue Dawn" and I liked that, but I haven't seen the docs. I'd like to.

Josh

Name:              Bob
E-mail:             
Date:               04/20/12

Dear Josh :

Do you think that Jesus Christ, aka Joshua bar Joseph, the person, actually existed?

Dear Bob:

Yeah, I do. He certainly got a lot of people talking about him and thinking about what he said, right up to today. I don't accept that he was supernatural in any way, nor that he was a direct descendent of "god," but he did have some radical ideas for his time. He was an impressive Jewish rabbi of fringe sect of Judaism that ultimately became the largest religion on earth.

Josh

Name:              Brian
E-mail:             
Date:               04/14/12

Hey Josh :

You said you don't watch TV, but have you watched Seinfeld? Do you like it or do you think it's overrated?

Dear Brian:

I do watch TV, just not series TV. I liked "Seinfeld" when it was on. I didn't watch it all the time, but anytime I did, I enjoyed it.

Josh

Name:              TJ
E-mail:             
Date:               04/14/12

Dear Josh :

Just got my copy of "Thou Shalt Not Kill... Except", and I noticed on the back cover they credited the screenplay to a JOHN Becker. A typo I'm sure, just thought you should know.

Dear TJ:

Figures.

Josh

Name:              Robert Tesh
E-mail:             Robert@MythMediaLtd.com
Date:               04/12/12

Dear Mr. Becker :

I met you at a comic book convention at Cobo Hall this fall (I was still in the Army at that time and came to the convention in uniform), we talked about SFC Don Campbell and the few times I served with him. Anyway, before I joined up I had graduated from the Motion Picture Institute of Michigan and struggled for about a year as an independent filmmaker moonlighting as a bouncer. So, I enlisted as a Combat Medic and fulfilled my obligation this past fall. After I got out I ended up becoming the Director of Marketing at Elektricity Nightclub (a new electronic dance club in Pontiac) and we became #1 in Michigan. Now, I work for a company called Stage 3 in Warren, a photography/CGI/film studio. Clients include Ford, Chrysler, and GM (when they were taking me through the building for the first time, a door was accidentally left open and I saw a concept car being photographed). Anyways, after talking with you, I decided I wanted to go back to pursuing what I love, which is film work, and I've done it now. So thank you! I'd like to invite you for a tour of our multimillion dollar facility in Warren (we've got some big-ass soundstages). http://stage3.com/tour.html Thanks for reading this, Mr. Becker, I hope to hear back from you! Sincerely, Robert S. Tesh

Dear Robert:

Of course I remember you. And yes, pursue that which you love, it's the only way to go. I've seen photos of Stage 3 and it looks terrific. I hope you folks survive, unlike Grace & Wild, HD Studios and Film Craft. Raleigh East will probably be the next victim, then comes Motion Picture Radios.

Good luck,

Josh

Name:              Alex Spivey
E-mail:             Alexspivey@gmail.com
Date:               04/12/12

Hey Josh :

Loving the new TSNKE Blu ray. I was looking to buy some of your old Super 8 shorts on DVD. Are those still available? Please take my money. -Alex

Dear Alex:

Yes, they are still available. We'll get that straightened out ASAP.

Josh

Name:              Elise
E-mail:             
Date:               04/12/12

Hey Josh :

I want to let you know that I will be getting Thou Shalt Not Kill...Except for my birthday since it is in a month and it'll be my third Blu-ray ever. I'm very pleased with what is included and can't be anymore excited. But I have one friend who literally buys me anything I want on my want list. I was going to ask for your collection of Super 8 shorts (other than Stryker's War) because I do believe in supporting you, you're a great filmmaker and you deserve it. But the store seems to be gone. Is there a way to get it back?

Dear Elise:

The DVD store will be back right away. It's disappearance was by mistake.

Josh

Name:              Nick
E-mail:             
Date:               04/08/12

Dear Josh :

http://people.bu.edu/rcarney/carncult/orfilms.shtml#Kitsch Here's an interesting essay, or series of excerpts from them (this is the guy who wrote "Cassavetes on Cassavetes"). He trashes "Titanic," "Forrest Gump," "Schindler's List," etc., which I don't care about at all, but then goes on to trash "Citizen Kane," "The Godfather," and "Psycho," and makes no distinction between any of them, condemning them all as being purely stylistic movies. I had to wonder if he's even actually seen "Citizen Kane." Thoughts?

Dear Nick:

I don't even want to read it. Anyone who trashes "Citizen Kane," "The Godfather" and "Psycho" is an idiot and unworthy of my time.

Josh

Name:              David R.
E-mail:             
Date:               04/05/12

Dear Josh :

Here's an interesting (brief) interview with Peter Bogdanovich on modern Hollywood, Roger Corman, and director as auteur: http://www.nydailynews.com/blogs/pageviews/2012/03/everybody-thinks-they%E2%80%99re-an-auteur-peter-bogdanovich-reflects-on-the-golden-age-of Also, another recommendation for "Breaking Bad" (that's two excellent old school directors, PB and Mike Nichols).

Dear David:

Yes, it was interesting. Thanks for sending it. I love the way Peter Bogdanovich, Mr. Modesty, includes himself in the list of important directors to come out during the of Corman days. Of course, I do love "The Last Picture Show," so I'd include him, too, but still. Meanwhile, if I watched series TV I'd watch "Mad Men," of which I've seen a few episodes, but alas I don't.

Josh

Name:              Russ
E-mail:             
Date:               04/01/12

Hello Josh :

Your favorite actor, Eric Roberts, was on the Dr. Phil show last week. Don't normally watch but saw a promo and was curious to see what Roberts had to say. He admitted he was a jerk, addicted to cocaine, and calls his wife "the boss." He also said he had been acting since he was four years old and considers himself to be a very good actor. Is he a very good actor? What do you think of Roberts admitting that he is a jerk? He also doesn't think that actors his age don't have much of a career anymore. Your thoughts on that one?

Dear Russ:

Yes, Eric Roberts is a jerk, and yes, he's also a good actor. He was doing more with his underwritten part in "Intent" than I thought was possible. As for actors his age, which is 55, not having a career, well, plenty of actors in their fifties work all the time. Let's face it, it's better to be an actor in your fifties than an actress in her fifties.

Josh

Name:              Lucas
E-mail:             
Date:               03/26/12

Hey Josh :

I read "Going Hollywood" this month and it was great. Your screenwriter's eye for time, place and forward motion survived intact into a different medium, and I thoroughly enjoyed a peek into your psyche as a young man. Any chance of an e-book version of "Rushes"? Lucas

Dear Lucas:

I'm glad you enjoyed it and thanks for the nice words. "Rushes" will be next.

Josh

Name:              Paul
E-mail:             
Date:               03/23/12

Dear Josh :

I know you are not a Terrance Mallick fan, and probably wouldn\'t sit through 30 minutes of "Tree of Life". Personally I find him touch and go, and "Tree...", a unsatisfying battle between a half-assed story, a monotonous parade of lovely cinematography and pretty music, and dated experimental techniques. That aside, he does want to address the "big philosophical questions". My question is this. What movies do you recommend that successfully address grand philosophical or cosmic themes. Or is this something that just doesn't work in film ?

Dear Paul:

I think your final point is correct: movies aren't the medium for grand philosophical or cosmic themes. Drama is about conflict and action, not espousing theories. The documentary form works fine for philosophy. But other than "Badlands," which I like very much, Terrance Malick can't handle conflict or action anymore. As far as I'm concerned he was a one-hit wonder.

Josh

Name:              Martha Duran
E-mail:              empd1@verizon.net
Date:               03/21/12

Dear Josh :

What is RKO-Pathe's address in Culver City?

Dear Martha:

Culver City Studios, 9336 W. Washington Blvd., Culver City, CA 90232.

Josh

Name:              Brian
E-mail:             
Date:               03/21/12

Dear Josh :

Who do you think were some of the greatest film producers of all time?

Dear Brian:

Well, let's think . . . Sam Goldwyn, Sam Spiegel, Hal Wallis, David Selznick and Arthur Freed, to begin with. Anyone else care to join in?

Josh

Name:              Jack
E-mail:             jackco08@hotmail.com
Date:               03/19/12

Dear Josh :

Jack from the UK, been a while since I've written in. Last Tuesday our group at College (our class has been split into groups to make our own Shorts) spent all day up near our city's airport at a house owned by the grandparents of the girlfriend of the group's leader, the leader being the one in the group who's idea got the most votes from the class as a whole before the groups formed based solely on which idea you liked best. In this case it was about a group of those "Paranormal Investigators" you see on TV where they "explore" an old house and have "Paranormal experiences," and indeed the Characters are faking it, with fishing wire etc., but then the house turns out to be actually haunted (the Ghost Girl played by said girlfriend) and they end up disappearing, the footage having been "found" a-la Blair Witch. We were all at the house by 10, with the actual, honest-to-God schedule our Producer had worked out, devised with the idea that our Lead Actor had to be away by 2-ish for College so we had to film all of his stuff by then, had us going until 1 in the morning: that's right, a FIFTEEN hour shoot for a five minute Short. The Schedule, however, was pretty much ignored once the Lead said he had, without actually telling College, decided "fuck it, I'm going to skip it and shoot all day", a decision that was almost immediately regarded as a Very Bad Idea, and though it did cause much stressing and a rapid increase in the amount of cigarette breaks taken by those who took them, we actually ended up finishing at 10.30, just over 12 hours, so we actually finished EARLY by about 2 1/2 hours, which you could say was an achievement, but for a 5 minute short I'm sure the term "pisstake" or some variation thereof would be more appropriate. During this time I was sent back down to College (luckily the local train station was only a five minute walk over the motorway) to get two extra 1-hour tapes due to mild paranoria on the part of the Director, and I was very politely asked if we were all insane by our Tutor when I passed on the request, with the comment that we must be doing something very, very wrong if we needed even one extra tape for a 5 minute Short, let-alone two, so I only got the one, which we did end up switching to after the first started doing something funny and, though it seemed not to have dumped all we'd shot so far, we didn't quite trust it. Additionally, we were within sight of the airport and so a plane ruined a take at a fairly reliable rate of every half-an-hour (hey, at least they were reliable about screwing up our day) and the downside of the remote location that was great as a believable old house that might potentially be haunted meant that the nearest place to get something to eat was the McDonalds 1 mile up the motorway. Luckily, at one point the grandma went out and came back with ten pizzas and some fries for tea, so we cleared our stuff of the table in the dining room we'd sort of turned into our Production HQ and piled around, chairs or not, to eat. Just wondering after all that (see! I do have a point, I'm not just getting all this of my chest! Honest!) what you'd say a reasonable time would be to shoot a 5 minute Short, bearing in mind that you, Bruce, Sam etc. were using actual Film, that I'm sure takes more time, care and effort to set up than DV and that you actually had something resembling a lighting system, so whatever your estimate is it would probably a bit shorter for today's Student Filmmakers. Though for anything other than a Horror that's supposed to found footage, we'd probably have lights, and a small monitor so we can make sure that the boom etc. actually are out of frame, not simply off the sides of the image the camera viewscreen decides to show us on set (stupid retarded technology grumble grumble...) Additionally (sorry for the long message) my YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/user/JackCoTVRadio?feature=mhee) finally has the two Ads I've helped make so far on the course up and isn't just all my Likes and Subscriptions anymore, and for my 18th birthday next month my Mum and her Boyfriend have booked out a screen at the local Tyneside Cinema, an former Newsreel Cinema not far from College (it's where we watched "Get Carter" and had a Q&A with Mike Nicholls last year), getting my friends from College and High School together and watching "The Bridge on the River Kwai", which is my favourite Movie after searching it out in no small part to your Essay on it, and the Blu-Ray arrived yesterday (http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B0017OB12O/ref=oh_o00_s00_i00_details). It includes an extract from the original souvenir booklet, photos, reproductions of the original lobby cards, a clip of William Holden and Alec Guinness on "The Steve Allen Show" and "newly discovered archival audio" of Holden narrating the Premiere. Wow. Finally (sorry again) Geek Blogger Shamus Young who I'm a fan of did this a few years back (http://www.shamusyoung.com/twentysidedtale/?p=111); an imagining of what would happen to the original "Star Wars" Script if George Lucas arrived in modern Hollywood, sold the Script to get funding for "American Graffiti" and left it to a Studio Suit . A fun read if you've got the time.

Dear Jack:

I've worked on the crew of 30-second commercials that took several days to shoot. When you work in TV, however, the schedule is everything. Blow your schedule a couple of times and you're never working on that show again. I'm used to shooting 5-7 pages a day, in 12 hours, and that's how I've shot all my features as well. But that doesn't mean it's necessarily the right way; it's simply the fast way, and to achieve it you absolutely must have your shit completely wired. In reality, though, most directors aren't that prepared. So that's how it goes.

Josh

Name:              Nick
E-mail:             
Date:               03/19/12

Dear Josh :

Been following politics in the U.S. lately? I ask because you haven't written anything political in a while. I've noticed there seems to be this growing religious fervor in the U.S., which is undoubtedly due to the fact that the conservatives are jealous that the democrats are in charge, but it's becoming increasingly pernicious. Every time I turn around, it's abortion this, gay marriage that. Recently conservatives were arguing about the evils of contraception and birth control pills (which I find incredibly sexist), and now, our pal Rick Santorum says he will work to ban pornography if elected president (which isn't surprising, since it seems people like him seem to get most of their pornography from the Bible). Have you noticed this? Also, the whole GOP race I find incredibly depressing. Every time I see one of those GOP "debates," I think of the scene in "The Simpsons" where Homer imagines that a bunch of people on fire are clowns (the politicians are like Homer, and everyone else in America are like the people on fire). At this point I think Mitt Romney will get the nomination, but he can't beat Obama for a number of reasons. I think his Mormonism really hurts his chances, since it's not a mainstream form of Christianity and seen as a cult by many people (I really dislike Mormonism due to the inherent racism of the religion, believing that black people "bear the mark of Cain" and that Native Americans are being punished by God by having red skin). I also think he is completely devoid of personality. Most of all, though, he doesn't seem to have any ideas and hasn't made any promises about anything, except to get Obama "out of the White House." My question being "yeah, and then what?" Bombing Iran (oh, of course)? Also (film-related question), would you consider writing any more essays on structure or filmmaking? Particularly about themes. How, for example, do you tell what the theme of a film (or story) is? In some cases I think it can be rather obvious ("In the Heat of the Night's" theme is racism, not hard), but what's the theme of a film like "From Here to Eternity?" I've watched it 15 times and still can't tell what it is, though I know it has one.

Dear Nick:

I used what I believe is the theme of "From Here to Eternity" as the front quote in my book "Rushes" -- "Just because a man loves a thing, nothing says it's got to love him back." As for the GOP race, they're all a bunch of clowns who haven't got the slightest chance of winning the White House. I find nothing depressing about it because every time any one of them opens their mouths they lessen their chances of winning anything.

Josh

Name:              Elise
E-mail:             
Date:               03/12/12

Hey Josh :

I had read in a magazine that at the premiere of Lunatics that everyone came in limos and tuxes while Ted Raimi came in an ambulance, straight jacket, and a bunch of nurses. That is absolutely awesome! It\'s nice when you can go all out like that. I'm assuming that this is true? If you had any pictures of the event that you could share that would be cool!

Dear Elise:

Oddly, I don't have any pictures of that premiere, but that's exactly what happened. I wore, of all the ridiculous things, a pink tuxedo.

Josh

Name:              kevin
E-mail:             kevinad69@gmail.com
Date:               03/02/12

Dear Josh :

i just read ur article on religion is evil. i felt that way for years. i dont understand how people can believe all that shit. i feel so left out. i think i'll make u my god. there, i feel better already.

Dear kevin:

I command you to be free and feel however you want. Go and be fruitful.

Josh

Name:              Will
E-mail:             wdodson52@hotmail.com
Date:               02/28/12

Dear Josh :

I'm continuing on an Aldrich kick, and just saw "The Big Knife" and "The Last Sunset." I was a little disappointed in "The Big Knife," which I'd read good things about. It was a little too histrionic, though it makes a good double feature with "Baby Jane." Jack Palance and Rod Steiger going at it is a good warmup for the main event..."The Last Sunset" was a decent western with Rock Hudson and Kirk Douglas. Great scene in a dust storm. Ultimately a little melodramatic with a weird Elektra complex, and too small cameo roles for Neville Brand, Jack Elam, and Joseph Cotton. But not bad. Next up will be "The Killing of Sister George," "The Legend of Lylah Clare," "Ulzana's Raid," "Hustle," and "The Frisco Kid." I keep thinking of your story about meeting Aldrich and asking him why his movies were so long. It's a legitimate question, though I still chuckle that you actually asked it!

Dear Will:

I'll be interested to hear your comments on "Ulzana's Raid," which I think is great. Sadly, the others in that upcoming group stink. "The Frisco Kid" is a funny idea that was done with no humor at all.

Josh

Name:              sonia
E-mail:             iyamile@yahoo.com
Date:               02/20/12

Dear Josh :

Hello, It is there any possibility to get "Lunatics: a Love Story" in DVD?

Dear sonia:

All you have to do is order it here at beckerfilms. I'll even sign it.

Josh

Name:              josh
E-mail:             jbecker318@gmail.com
Date:               02/16/12

Dear Josh :

thank you so much for replying to my email. i AM going to be a success. i'm going to work very hard. i'll keep you posted on my progress. ps. i asked my mom to get your book for me for my birthday

Dear josh:

Here's the best, and scariest, piece of advice I can give you. It comes from the great actor Laurence Olivier, "You think you're an artist, prove it."

Good luck,

Josh

Name:              Bruce Jones
E-mail:             laserdemon@yahoo.com
Date:               02/14/12

Hiya Josh :

I disagree with you on MGM, but in reference to Memento, have you seen Irreversible with Vincent Cassel? Highly recommended. That being said, how have you been?

Dear Bruce:

Long time no hear. I knew I was wrong when I wrote "Momentum." No, I haven't seen "Irreversible." Regarding MGM under Louis Mayer, their big pictures of the entire decade of the1930s were: "Grand Hotel," "Mutiny on the Bounty" and "The Wizard of Oz." Beyond that they made Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland films, crummy Joan Crawford pictures (she didn't finally make a good film, "Mildred Pierce," until she went to Warners), and crummy early Clark Gable films (he didn't really hit until he made "It Happened One Night" for Columbia) . "Gone With the Wind," which MGM released, was actually a Selznick International film. As for me, well, I get by.

Josh

Name:              josh
E-mail:             jbecker318
Date:               02/14/12

Hey Mr Becker:

my name is Josh Becker as well and from your wikipedia page it says your from detroit which i am also , seeing your page was like a sign to pursue my dream as a film director\\producer i've been writing a couple scripts sense i was 16 i am 18 now and most likely going to the film program at madonna university , do you have any advice for me that would be helpful to my hopes for this career . anything you have to say would be helpful, thanks

Dear josh:

Since I've never met another Josh Becker before, this is a unique experience. I hope the name doesn't hold you back. Regarding being a director-producer-writer, or any sort of artist for that matter, if you feel that you've simply got to do it, then you must do it. But nothing says you'll succeed. There's bullshit advice out there that says, if you persevere you'll succeed. That's crap. The way it should really go is, if you don't persevere you certainly won't succeed. But perseverence is no assurance of success. So, if this is what you truly feel you must do, then do it. And good luck to you.

Josh

Name:              Kristie
E-mail:             
Date:               02/13/12

Dear Josh :

Interesting - I agree about "Betrayal" and "The Last Tycoon." Did you ever see the films he wrote for Joseph Losey? "The Go-Between" is pretty amazing, I think.

Dear Kristie:

Yes, "The Go-Between" was good. So was "The Servant." There was also "Butley," which he just directed and didn't write, but he did a great job.

Josh

Name:              Kristie
E-mail:             
Date:               02/10/12

Dear Josh :

What do you think of Harold Pinter? Any favorite works by this writer? Thanks! -Kristie

Dear Kristie:

I thought he wrote a very good script for "The Last Tycoon," considering that the book was unfinished. I enjoyed his film "Betrayal" where the story went backward (long before "Momentum"). His big pictures in the 1960s, "The Pumpkin Eater" and "The Caretaker," seemed like nonsense to me.

Josh

Name:              Bob
E-mail:             
Date:               02/09/12

Dear Josh :

Have you seen the book "MGM: Hollywood's Greatest Backlot" ? If not, its a big coffee table book, covering the history of the MGM studios through narrative and photography. Along with maps of the studio, it has sections on the various sets, such as Andy Hardy/Small Town, Town in France, New York City street, Docks in China, Prison, etc. With each section the narrative discusses the different productions made at MGM and the actors and actresses that were in them. For example, there is one structure called "The Girls' School". When this fell into a dilapidated condition, it was used as a ruin in the film "Logan's Run". Of course, Louis B. Mayer is covered. His last words were said to be, "Nothing matters, nothing matters". The latter part of the book covers the demise of the studio, the tragic vandalism and destruction of the sets and finally the conversion of the property to other purposes. I recommend it.

Dear Bob:

Thanks for the recommendation, it sounds interesting. MGM is probably my least favorite studio that I think made the most crappy movies throughout the 1930s and '40s. In the '50s, once Louis Mayer was gone, they made some terrific musicals. All in all, though, I'll take Warners, Columbia, Paramount, Universal, or even RKO.

Josh

Name:              David R.
E-mail:             
Date:               02/05/12

Dear Josh :

Looks like a silent movie is going to win Best Picture. The Weinsteins really know how to market their films to win awards.

Dear David:

If "The Artist" does win Best Picture it will the second silent movie to win, after the very first winner in 1927-28, "Wings." This is also a unique Oscar year in that there are 9 nominees; not 5; not 10. I guess they just couldn't find that tenth nominee.

Josh

Name:              August
E-mail:             joxerfan@hotmail.com
Date:               02/01/12

Dear Josh :

Quite amused by the note you posted from Newcastle Entertainment, the company whose site boast four major motion pictures, three of whom have all-star casts ... *cough* ..."in consideration." Possibly I should send them my script for the Tom Cruise-Angelina Jolie-Michael Bay project that I could complete for $200 million... so that it too will be in consideration. And bravo to you for standing up to them, although I'm sure you've gone over that "non-disclosure" agreement with a magnifying glass, just in case it has some verbiage about not disclosing true things too. I see that they have their e-mail, website and phone number listed. Durn, that's not the wisest thing to do, in an era when crazy fans could do just about anything. Not that any of them would...Just sayin' ...... Regards, August


Dear August:

I'm relenting and taking down the essay. The last thing I need right now are those folks back in my life. I'm sure their movie will be awesome, that's undoubtedly why it took four years to make. Just like "Ben-Hur."

Josh

Name:              Elise
E-mail:            
Date:               01/31/12

Dear Josh :

First off, I would like to say that I really enjoy your work. Though I never watched Xena, I love Running Time and Thou Shall Not Kill...Except and even though I'm not super fond of Alien Apocalypse, I still enjoyed it. I loved watching Running Time with commentary. I believe in supporting great directors like you which is why I will definitely be buying Rushes when my finances get better and hopefully all the shorts too and Lunatics too. I find that it's sad that Lunatics: A Love Story has never been released officially on DVD. I love to indulge in commentary/special features and the fact that this movie will never be graced with this makes me sad. Do you believe that Sony Pictures has never released it because they think it won't sell? I mean, for the longest time Night of the Creeps was never available on DVD and when they finally released it, I think that they were pretty happy because I believe it sold well. I feel like they're making a mistake. Sorry if my entry was annoying! - Elise

Dear Elise:

There was nothing annoying about your email. You can go on as long as you'd like complimenting my movies. I don't know why Sony does what they do, I've never spoken to anyone there. I do know that both Anchor Bay and Synapse made attempts at contacting Sony about releasing "Lunatics" on DVD and got nowhere. I don't think they even know that they own it.

Josh

Name:              Kristie
E-mail:            
Date:               01/30/12

Dear Josh :

Off the top of your head, what are some of your favorite sixties British films? Thanks! -Kristie

Dear Kristie:

The 1960s were a particularly good decade for British cinema. Let's see . . . "Tom Jones," "The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner," "Dr. Strangelove," "The Entertainer," "A Man For All Seasons," "A Kind of Loving," "Darling," "Saturday Night and Sunday Morning," "Isadora," "2001: A Space Odyssey," "Lawrence of Arabia," "A Hard Day's Night," to name but a few.

Josh


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