E-mail: don't have one
Dear Sir becker,
acomplished director such as yourself has an indisputable
right to criticise the work of fellow directors, you
are quoted as saying that heroin and cocain have apparently
diffrent concistencies and it would be idiotic to assume
a confusion of one for the other could be made(this
is of course in reference to your stance on the credibility
of the film Pulp Fiction). Therefore, I would like to
point out the glaringly obvious,The title is not Pulp
Factual, is it!? When Tarantino found out the proper
method of dealing with o.d's (salt water in the veins
if memory serves)he thought it very unexciting and opted
for the adrenalin shot. One last not, My dear Mr Becker,
do I detect a note of bitter envy?
P.S If you know your low budget film speak, you should
know where that last line was from. Did I borrow it,
or steal it?
afraid I don't know where the line is from, nor am I
envious of Quentin Tarantino. He has certainly made
a lot more money than me, but since I don't enjoy or
respect his films, I would rather have made my films.
I was wondering if you knew of anywhere on the internet
that I might be able to view or even buy any of the
old Super 8 movies that Sam Raimi, Rob Tapert, Bruce
Campbell, and Scott Spegal did way back when? For Example,
"It's Murder", "Within The Woods", and so on. Any help
will be appreciated, Thanks!
of mine, Bruce's and Sam's Super-8 films are not available
for sale, unless you get them bootleg at a convention,
which is where most people get them. Oddly, the tape
most people have is called "The Short Films of Sam Raimi"
and contains several films that I co-wrote and directed
that Sam appears in, like "The Blind Waiter," and "Cleveland
Smith Bounty Hunter."
Marguerite Le Pellée
tried to find an address where I can write to get all
Mr. Anthony Quinn video.
be you can help me. I am french but i love this actor
and I would like to buy all his video.
you in advance for your help and may be you can give
me an address too where I can write him.
don't think it's humanly possible to get all of Quinn's
films on video. I find Movies
Unlimited have a pretty good selection and you can
also check through the Internet
Movie Data Base. As to writing to my buddy Tony
himself, I have no idea.
review of "Gladiator" was
on the mark, as usual. I, too, was bothered by the gaping
gaps in logic of this so-called spectacle. Even worse,
none of those who slobbered praise all over "Gladiator"
seems to have noticed that big chunks of it were lifted
intact from "The Fall of the Roman Empire" (1964). Without
credit, of course. It was directed by Anthony Mann,
incidentally. The final duel in "Gladiator" is almost
a Xerox of the same sequence in "Empire." I guess modern
Hollywood would call it an homage. I just think it's
laziness, if not theft. I wouldn't call "Empire" a classic,
but it's light years ahead of "Gladiator."
just saw "Unbreakable." I thought it was a noble failure,
which didn't pack the wallop of "The Sixth Sense." Good
cast, though, and still better than most of what Hollywood
cranks out these days.
Mann's "Fall of the Roman Empire" is clearly a big influence
on "Gladiator" and I probably should have mentioned
it. They both take place in the same time period, too,
under the Emperor Marcus Aurlieus, played by Alec Guinness
in "Fall." Certainly "Fall" is a much better movie than
"Gladiator," although I don't think it's a great film,
and improbably has Sophia Loren as Guinness's daughter.
I lifted the chariot race from that film for the Xena
episode I wrote, "Chariots of War."
in the University Film Club of the University of Mannheim/Germany.
We´re interested in screening RUNNING TIME on 16mm.
So, how can that be done?
have one decent 16mm print of "RT" left and it's a big
hassle to send it overseas. I recommend buying the DVD
and watching that, which, quite frankly, both looks
and sounds better than the 16mm print. This method would
also be far cheaper.
in school i am learning how to direct. My drama teacher
said we have to do something called a rythm project
so we can learn how to direct. What we have to do is
take enything we want a dialog, a poem, or something
without words and direct. The problem is, is that it
has to get to her some how so that she will go woa.
I was wondering if you could give me any advise on what
i should do, or how i can go about doing something like
this. Thank you for taking the time to read this.
This is some kind of joke, right? No actual human can
spell that poorly.
you think the three act structures apply to documentaries?
I can't see the structure in most movies I watch. I
try like hell and it dosen't show. Is there a typical
structure in "The Last Picture Show" and "A Woman Under
the Influence"? If there is, and I have the feeling
you will say there is, I can not see it in either film.
It seems to me nothing is resolved in either films.
I also should add that both are among the greatest of
films I've seen. Maybe I'm trying too hard to see a
thing, you kinda remind me of film critic\teacher Ray
Carney. Both of you two go on and on about the pitiful
state of hollywood filmmaking. Carney however, feels
the opposite when it comes to your ideas on structure.
He says if you change your mind about a character or
even the entire storyline while your shooting it's good...You've
learned something you didn't know when you wrote the
screenplay. If you don't learn while making the film
how will the audence members learn anything from watching
the picture? How do you feel about this, and Carney
three-act structure can apply to documentaries if they're
edited well. The structure is applied afterward to a
documentary, while editing. It's been a few years anyway
since I've seen the films you've chosen as examples,
nevertheless . . . In "The Last Picture Show," which
is about the death of a town, exemplified in the lives
of Sonny and Duane, I'd say act one ends when Sam the
Lion forbids them entrance to the diner, and act two
ends when Sam dies. And it seems to me, having not seen
"A Woman Under the Inluence" in 7 or 8 years, that the
first moment of no return was Gena Rowlands freaking
out at the breakfast with construction workers, and
the second one was Peter Falk smacking her while she's
standing on the hassock.
Ray Carney, whom I've never heard of, I say that shooting
is too expensive and too technical to be a discovery
process. Writing is a discovery process, and rehearsal
is too, if you're lucky enough to get some. Sadly, though,
on TV you don't get any rehearsal time. I've made time
for it on my movies and it's invaluable. But if you
don't know specifically what you're shooting by the
time you're on the set, you're boned.
is your thoughts on the body of work of Woody Allen?
I just watched "Small Time Crooks" and almost fell asleep.
I was a kid I loved Woody Allen's movies and saw "Play
it Again, Sam" 16 times at the theater, laughing like
an idiot every time. However, once he won his Oscars
for "Annie Hall" in 1977, I think his career went into
the toilet. I've wondered many times why this was, and
it hit me the other night as I was watching "Love &
Death" for about the 20th time -- all of his movies
from "Love & Death" back, his character is sort of a
disgusting, funny little creep -- from "Annie Hall"
forward, he's a lady's man that is always ending up
in bed with the prettiest actresses, which may very
well be true, but I don't want to see it. Also, I don't
think he puts in much time on his scripts anymore, he's
so eager to stay in production all the time, it looks
it to me.
your last answer you mentioned how your new film "If
I Had A Hammer" is influenced by "The Magnificent Ambersons".
Just wondering how so? Certainly not in subject matter.
It's funny, I was just thinking of a Howard Hawks quote
where he was referring to Peter Bogdanovich's "What's
Up Doc". And how he said that the mistake he made in
that picture was telling people that it was influenced
by "Bringing Up Baby". So if you don't feel like you
should reveal the influence of "Ambersons", that's cool
Shirley, the webmaster here, asked the same question
today. Both stories are about the end of one era and
the beginning of another. In "Ambersons" it's the beginning
of the modern, mechanized age, symbolized by the automobile.
In "Hammer" it's the end of the folk era and the beginning
of the rock age, symbolized in the character's sense
of caring and commitment. That's the extent of the connection.
And I really don't mind discussing my influences.
what passes as creativity now, stealling from weird
or old sources.**
a comment about this quote you just made. You sound
like it's not creative to get your stuff from something
that's true, how do you feel about your work on your
Xena episodes, like "Locked Up and Tied Down" which
I heard you helped write. Seems like a rewrite of many
of those old B-women prison movies. Or one where the
basic story was gotten from Cinderella. Or the wrestling
scene which was your idea which is nothing than attempt
to copy the WWF. Or what about Ted Raimi who you seem
to praise, which basically seems to just copy the 3-stooges.
see all the comparisons in these things. Do you consider
this work 'creative' since it all basically comes from
notice you seem to put down many things in television
or film when they are got from someone else and complain
about lack of creativity, but I notice the same things
in work you have done yourself.
I feel so chastised. First of all, you've never heard
me make any reference to creativity regarding TV--it's
not a particularly creative form, it's more like a giant
garbage disposal. TV is the place where almost everything
is based on a stolen idea, it's part of the process
when each show has to crank out 22-24 episodes a year.
Nevertheless, there is most definitely a difference
between stealing an idea and being inspired by something.
"Locked Up & Tied Down" may well be inspired by prison
films, most specifically "Papillion," (which, by the
way, is not a women's prison film), but we didn't steal
the plot or any specific scenes. My new film, "If I
Had a Hammer" (which ought to be completely finished
now), was inspired by "The Magnificent Ambersons," although
neither you nor anyone else would ever know it unless
I told you. Also, putting a comic wrestling scene into
something is also not stealing in my opinion--it's a
parody, which is something else yet again. However,
if you take the entire plot, as well as exact dialog
from something else, you are a thief, a plagiarist.
That's how I see it.
Quentin Tarantino's Great Swindle
Open Letter to those who write Mr. Becker concerning
have just seen a documentary by Impossible Funky Productions
called "Who Do You Think You're Fooling?" Basically,
QT STOLE (not borrowed, was not influenced by) every
scene of Reservoir Dogs" from a 1987 Ringo Lam film
called "City On Fire."
line: TARANTINO STOLE WORD FOR WORD SCENE FOR SCENE
FROM "CITY OF FIRE" TO MAKE "RESERVOIR DOGS!!!"
jaw nearly hit the floor as this documentary dissected
scenes from "City of Fire" and showed the EXACT same
scene from "Reserevoir Dogs." You've got to see it:
WORD FOR WORD, SCENE FOR SCENE!! This is plagarism at
it's purest. I can't believe he got away w/ this. It's
me break this down further: Harvey Keitel's characters
in "Dogs" equals Danny Lee's character in "City" and
Tim Roth's character equals Chow Yun-Fat. WORD FOR WORD
SCENE BY SCENE!! Ripped off, stolen, plagarized, I'm
shocked QT hasn't been thrown in jail. You QT supporters
have got to see this.
exact same camera angles, the exact same dialogue, everything.
Miramax paid some tall cash to keep this documentary
hidden, but you can't hide the truth. See this documentary
and you'll know why I'm so shocked.
also goes into Pulp Fiction. That was also stolen: Samuel
Jackson's dialogue about "great venegance and furious
wrath " was lifted from 1979 The Bodyguard , Uma Thurman's
syringe scene was STOLEN from American Boy. The list
goes on and on...
I haven't seen this documentary or any of the films
you referenced, but I'd be interested to see them. I'm
not terribly surprised by the information, either. That's
what passes as creativity now, stealling from weird
or old sources.
wishing you a terrific holiday, and happy New Year!
What do you typically do to celebrate? I'm often by
myself, so traditionally go to a movie on Christmas
was also wondering, since you like Pink Floyd, if you
listen to Roger Waters as well.
holidays to you, too. I don't usually do anything to
celebrate holidays. I just sort of live through them.
No, I've never been a fan of Roger Waters solo stuff,
which all seems to be about him bitching about how difficult
it is to be Rogers Waters.
enjoy and sincerely appreciate your work in film in
this frigid digital era. I check your Q&A daily, and
probably more than once daily because i am so eager
to read your thoughts on thoughtful questions. But i
am not here to kiss ass or ask questions for some stupid
high school essay.
i don't think i have one - a thoughtful "one", a thoughtful
"question" - but rather, i have a few questions to ask
you. So instead, i proceed with eager caution...
Have you seen the movie "Boondock Saints", and if so,
what do you (and your staff) think of it?
Respectful of their individual styles, what do you think
of the films of Jim Jarmusch and Hal Hartley?
Who are your favorite 5 musicians or bands?
Would you consider adding a page or link to your page
to include your experience and expertise in cinematographic
techniques, such as the wheel-chair-steady-cam, for
amatuer filmakers? I mean to ask for a strictly technical
Who are your 3 favorite actors and 3 favorite actresses
of all time? And, in your opinion, what individual qualities
make them so good to select him or her as the perfect
candidate for the character they play?
As a yankee from Maine, stuck temporarily in Texass
(and i do place the emphasis on "ass"), and considering
your very accurate portrayal of "W" on your front page
earlier this year, what do you think of this election
shit (electorial collgege, supreme court, lady with
Tammy Faye make-up and such), and what we are stuck
Finally, what do you think of a guy who quit smoking
weed because his he didn't want his girlfriend to know
that's it. I hope all is well and we see "Hammer" soon.
I have not seen or heard of this picture, and I have
I rather like Jim Jarmusch's film "Stranger Than Paradise,"
which I think is an excellent example of extreme low-budget
filmmaking. I also think that film is his entire career
and everything else is completely extraneous and dull.
Hal Hartley is both dull and pretentious, which I find
to be a completely unaccaptable combination.
My 5 favorite musicians is too difficult of a question
because I like too many and in too many genres. In rock
I am very partial to: Bruce Springsteen, Pink Floyd,
Van Morrison, Natalie Merchant, all of Motown, The Beatles,
the Rolling Stones, ELP, and many, many more. In jazz
I really like: Dave Brubeck, Stan Getz, Coleman Hawkins,
Ben Webster, Gerry Mulligan, Johnny Hodges, Duke Ellington,
on and on. In classical I like: Aaron Copeland, Chopin,
Ravel, Beethoven, etc.
As for adding a link about low-budget techniques, I'm
not sure what that would be, although I'm perfectly
happy to answer any questions as they come in.
I also have too many favorite actors to answer this
succinctly. To me, an actor has to have concentration
and intensity and be fully committed to the performance,
wherever that takes them. I like James Cagney, Bette
Davis, Myrna Loy, Humphrey Bogart, Edward G. Robinson,
Spencer Tracy, Kathrine Hepburn, Audrey Hepburn, Burt
Lancaster, Kirk Douglas, Robert Mitchum, Henry Fonda,
James Stewart, Jean Simmons, on and on and on . . .
I think our election system is completely broken. We
have no need for the electoral college anymore, which
was instituted to give slave-owning states a bigger
say in federal issues. By the Civil War the electoral
college was outdated and useless, and here it is still
screwing up our elections. I feel the the U.S. was given
a choice between an A-student and a D-student and we
ended up with the D-student, even though less people
voted for him. I lived through Nixon, Reagan, and Bush,
Sr., I can get through Geo. W., too.
I think he is a wimp.
sure what if any holidays you celebrate this time of
year, so hope you are enjoying a festive Solstice/Yule/Hannukah/Christmas/Kwanzaa.
just saw the Golden Globe announcements today, and was
struck with how unimaginative they seemed this year.
Do you see any merit to either the Golden Globes or
the Oscars at all these days, or has it become thoroughly
political? (I was, however, impressed when your buddy
Joe LoDuca finally won an Emmy last year!)
spent most of my life as an Oscar geek and can easily
reel off every Best Picture from 1927-28 through 1980,
when it all turns to mush. Now I don't care at all because
so many crappy films have been given Oscars ("Out of
Africa"? "Chariots of Fire"? "The English Patient"?
Come on!). And I care even less -- which means, not
at all -- about the Golden Globes.
for the holiday wishes and the same back on you.
Happy Holidays, Josh!
then questions, that's my posting for today. Saw "Crouching
Tiger, Hidden Dragon." I really think it was outstanding;
amazing stunts, sure, but there's a nice little police
story underneath: a local cop who's trying to get out
of the game and the operator of a private security firm
(who's got a thing for the cop) investigate the theft
of a rare sword, and think about the meaning of life
and death. Cool. Also would give a "thumbs up" to "O
Brother Where Art Thou," which was not only really funny
but also created a mood that really evoked (for me,
a person soon to be living in the Third Millennium)
the Depression era in the rural, "deep" South.
also for your recommendation of "Lawrence of Arabia."
It was awesome on the big screen!
here's my question: most of the films this year really
went beyond horrible. The primary problem I found with
everything was in scripting: cliched stories and dialogue
abounded, structure was incoherent, stories utterly
lacked theme (what the hell were some of these filmmakers
trying to tell the audience???). Oh, Josh, why won't
more people abide by your essays on structure? OK, I
digress, but with all these utterly witless films running
around, all substituting "cutesy" for "genuinely clever,"
or "blatant" for "slowly revealed," it made me want
to see films with subtlety, irony, mood.
films do you recommend that are really "intelligent"?
(And I'll just interrupt myself here to say that the
first film that pops into my own little overworked head
here is "Dr. Strangelove;" that's the kind of film I
mean in my little tirade here on "subtle/ironic/intelligent.")
Are there directors working today who you think are
really good at delivering films that are clever or ironic
(as opposed to "mashing me over the head with obviousness")?
ho ho ho to all,
Lee seems to know what he's doing, although I haven't
seen the new one yet. What do you want me to say? We're
in a malaise and I don't think almost anyone is making
intelligent, subtle, interesting films. That's just
how it is at this time. One would think with the enormous
increase in population that we ought to have three Hitchcocks
and four Wylers and five Hawks, but alas, we have none.
All we ourselves can do is do the best we can.
you very much for signing my photos! They just came
right with the delivery of the TSNKE-DVD, which I really
like, too. My girlfriend was very happy you signed a
photo for her. I didn´t tell her I asked you to so the
surprise was even bigger. We had seen Running Time together
and enjoyed it very much. Now you see - you have fans
all around the world! Thanks also to Shirley!
up the good work,
was my pleasure.
does the casting director get an "A.S.C" after their
name? What does it mean?
the director of photography that frequently has the
A.S.C. credit. That is the American Society of Cinematographers,
the folks that print the Cinematographer's Manual, which
is a very handy item.
got an extensive TCM request list, too, but I'll save
that until after Christmas. Meanwhile, what's your favorite
silent movie? Offhand, I'd say "Potemkin," "Intolerance"
(well parts of it, anyway) and the Douglas Fairbanks
films "Mask of Zorro" and "Thief of Baghdad" top mine.
One of the things I hate about TV today is that 20 or
30 years ago, PBS routinely showed foreign and silent
films. Not anymore, and it's a shame.
and keep up the good work,
TCM does show silent films pretty regularly, which is
terrific. My favorite silent film is probably "The Docks
of New York" directed by Joseph Von Sterberg. I also
really like: King Vidor's "The Big Parade," Alfred Hitchcock's
"The Lodger," Buster Keaton's "The General" and "Our
Hospitality," Fred Niblo's "Ben Hur," Harold Lloyd's
"The Freshman" and "Dr. Jack."
love to see the movie hell on frisco bay and black tuesday
with edward g. robinson were can i get videos of them
on see them on this classic channel can u get them to
play them on ted tuners classics sincerly kal fagan
I'll put in a call to my bud, Ted Turner, and he'll
play the films for you right away. Not a problem.
you dislike every film not written using the 3 act stucture?
I am wondering this because from your little thing on
screenplay structure you make it sound like every film
not using that structure is a bad film. I bet you hate
the film "Pulp Fiction" for that reason. Well Pulp Fiction
is a great film for many reasons, one of which is that
it breaks almost every screenwriting rule ever written
and turned out better than most films that use those
rules so religiously. I could list a few of the rules
it breaks to it's own advantage but it would be a waste
of time. I'm just saying that rules are meant to be
broken more or less. Also I'm not saying that a screenplay
that follows those rules can't be good a movie it MAY
not be as good as a screenplay that bends those rules.
What it all comes down to is creativity. I feel that
screenwriting is like pottery: you start off with a
clump of clay (The basic story) from there you can use
any technque you to to form it in to the final product.
is a dull argument I've answered 50 times since this
site went up. You cannot move beyond a form until you
have mastered the form. It is certainly possible to
go beyond the three-act structure, but not until you've
mastered it. Quentin Tarantino not only never mastered
the three-act form, he doesn't understand it and can't
work within it. "Pulp Fiction" did not take us somewhere
new, it was simply deconstructing the form and replacing
it with nothing. The last 30-minutes of that film is
utterly extraneous. As Rob Tapert so aptly summarized
it upon leaving the theater, "Well, that was real butt-burner."
Forget structure for a moment and let's just deal with
each of "Pulp Fiction's" half-assed attempts at telling
stories--Bruce Willis is a boxer that threw the fight
and now the mob is after him? This is some dusty old
plot unearthed from a 1940s B-movie and not only is
nothing new added, we get less than 1940s version because
we don't even get to see the fight (I recommend seeing
Robert Wise's "The Set-Up"); then there's the silly
Uma Thurman snorting herion when she thinks it's coke--sorry,
it just doesn't happen in the real world, they have
totally different consistencies and tastes; John Travolta,
the hitman, goes into a place with a big automatic weapon,
doesn't see anyone, so he sets his weapon down and goes
to take a leak? A hitman that stupid only exists in
a bad movie. Travolta mistakenly shoots the kid's head
off, then they have to call Harvey Keitel to come tell
them to clean up the car and washes them down with a
hose? Where do you suppose he picked up all that specialized
knowledge? And the scene with terrible actor Quentin
Tarantino screaming "nigger" over and over again to
prove he's an edgy tough-guy, is an insult to everyone
on the planet. I've got news for you, Eric, "Pulp Fiction"
is a bad, over-long, shallow, ridiculous movie that
did not take the form of movie writing anywhere new.
Eric J. Williams
have you ever seen a movie you liked? I ask this because
I was just probing through your review page and from
what I read (4 or 5 of your reviews) it didn't seem
like you were really fond of movies in general.
would you, as a director, recomend doing short pilot
movies first to help rais funds or is it a waste of
Running Time was a great film, I wonder why it never
became bigger than it was? I know thats not a question
that you can really answer but hell.
love good movies, there just hasn't been that many lately.
Check out my Favorite Film
List, there really are hundreds of movies I love.
Anyway, regarding pilot films, I did one for my film
TSNKE and I think it was helpful in a number of ways.
Sam, Bruce and Rob did a pilot for "Evil Dead" and it
was very helpful, too. Joel and Ethan Coen did a pilot
for "Blood Simple," as well.
just read your comments on "Election". I think you're
pretty much right about the way the movie flirts with
and then abandons the ethics/morals issue, but I was
more interested in "Election" as an examination of gender
relationships, especially in light of the recent spate
of "white guy midlife crisis" movies. I thought "Election"
offered an interesting, feminist spin on roughly the
same character dynamic that played out in "American
Beauty" and "Fight Club". Early in the film, we're encouraged
to side with Broderick's teacher against Witherspoon's
student. The movie plays on easy stereotyping of Witherspoon's
character to establish a cheap animosity towards her,
and allows Broderick's very unreliable narrator to woo
our (the audience's) favor. In the second act, however,
Broderick's seemingly likable everyman self-destructs,
revealin! g a bitter, jealous misogyny, while Witherspoon
is humanized to the extent that we almost begin to identify
with her. At that point, we begin to question the internal
assumptions that allowed us to go along with the first
act's easy stereotyping. Which I found fun and cool,
although I do agree that the third act/coda was kinda
unnecessary. Any thoughts?
do think it's a rather interesting, seriously flawed
film. I don't agree about Broderick becoming a misogynist
in that the woman he sleeps with turns him in for no
good reason, which seemed severely creepy and not his
doing. She did sleep with him, she is seemingly friends
with him, why would she intentionally rat on him and
ruin his marriage? I don't think that makes him a misogynist.
I also disgaree about the "third act/coda was kinda
unnecessary," it flatly doesn't work or fit with what
came before and undermines everything that went before.
was checkin out the latest on Bruce Campbell's website
when I notice you had been added to links.
for the structure articles, brotha man.
dare those screenwriting books tell us to put our scenes
on index cards so we can move a scene around.
any of your screenplays published? You know, like all
the Coen brothers screenplays. I'd love ta purchase
"Lunatics: A Love Story" or "Running Time".
course, those screenwriting books are written by people
who have never sold a screenplay, let alone had one
made into a film. No, none of my scripts have been published.
They only do that with bigshots like the Coens or Tarantino.
The script for RT is available
on this website, however. I'd happily post "Lunatics,"
too, but it's not in my hard-drive and my OCR program
a curious question. I've noticed that none of the "Evil
Dead" movies, or any Sam Raimi's stuff for that matter,
are on you "favorite films" list. It it because you
don't like his work, or are you just trying to keep
from being biased?
any rate, having worked on the original "Evil Dead"
film, do you remember your initial reaction to the final
for answering so many silly questions.
isn't always the best policy, certainly not in the film
business, let's just leave it at that.
I just haven't found it yet, but there doesn't seem
to be any real info on "If I Had a Hammer". What is
it about? Why did you wanna make it? Etc.
about the end of the folk movement and the beginning
of the rock era, which I say started at 8:00 P.M. Sunday,
Feb. 9, 1964, when The Beatles were on Ed Sullivan.
It about the end of an era and the beginning of another,
which I find intriguing.
just finished reading your article
on the lifespan of creativity. Really interesting
stuff. I love older Paul Simon music, like Graceland,
and just listened to Negotiations and Lovesongs the
other day. But you're right, his new stuff sucks. I
saw him on SNL a couple weeks ago and was very disappointed.
He also tried doing a Broadway show a few years ago
that completely bombed. So I guess he's done. But you
made a comment about how good older screenwriters in
town find it impossible to get work. Why is this exactly?
saw recently that some older writers have filed a lawsuit
that tv networks refuse to hire them because of their
age. What's the deal with that? I mean, I'm hoping to
get a career going in the industry, and to be perfectly
honest, it almost seems easier for me to start a successful
career than for these older, smarter colleagues to continue
one. The studios and tv networks don't want reliable
talent, they want fresh faces (the better to suck up).
Or at least that's what it seems like to me.
actually kind of worried that I'll get a decent career
going, then ten years down the line no one will want
to hire me, at a time when perhaps I'll be able to do
my best work. A strange, strange business.
you forget to mention Kubrick, who was perhaps washed
up in the early 70's after Clockwork. Middling art since
then, with EWS a bit of a disappointment. And speaking
of art, I think that the more commercial-minded directors
tend to have longer careers. Guys like Spielberg, Carpenter,
Ridley and Tony Scott, etc. seem to be able to make
thoroughly average work for long periods of time, while
I dunno, guys like Terrence Malick make a few well received
films, then disappear. There are exceptions of course,
like Wyler and Hitchcock who managed to blur the line,
but I think that in general, its the commercial directors
that tend to have the longest 'creative' lifespans these
because a director somehow manages to keep working doesn't
mean that they have or ever had any creativity. You
used John Carpenter as an example longevity--when was
the last time he made a good film? Quite frankly, I
don't know that he ever did, but certainly not in 10
or 15 years. As far as I'm concerned, Terrance Malick
shot his wad after "Badlands." I didn't bring Kubrick
back up because I just recently let him have it in my
Eyes Wide Shut review, but he had 15 incredible year--from
1955 to 1970--and everything after that was worthless.
Ridley Scott may well keep working, but his creative
period has been over for nearly 20 years, and Tony never
had one. This all based on these guys having made hit
films early on. But to just keep working, which is certainly
a trick, isn't the same thing as being creative. As
far as TV writers go, they're supposed to be the same
age as they're trying to appeal to, as though an 18-year
old knows better what an 18-year old wants. "60 Minutes"
did a story on this last year and they interviewed the
writers for "Law & Order," who are all in their 40s,
50s and 60s, and one of them said, In Hollywood when
they make a movie called "Antz," they'd really like
to get an ant to write it.
you have a recommendation for an economical yet quality
recommendation regarding film equipment of all kinds
is: rent or borrow everything, don't buy anything. There
is simply no point in owning any of this stuff, it's
touchy, it becomes outdated quickly and it needs constant
repair. Just the bulbs for most movie lights are $75
to $300 each.
you look back at your first two films and have much
different opinions of them now? I imagine your strict
screenwriting was always the same, but is there anything
that you look back on and it's obvious that it was done
by a "younger, less experienced Josh"?
on, I made TSNKE 16 years ago for 12 cents, that the
film ever got finished is something of a miracle. When
I hired Robert Rickman to be in the film he was the
local Detroit Mr. T imitator. I said to him, "Now, I
expect 100% out of you." At the wrap party Rickman came
up to me and said, "You never asked for 100%." It's
true, too. I do think the film has a couple of good
sequences, however: when the Manson family breaks into
the house, when Rickman wrestles with the fat biker
with the garden shears, when Stryker and Miller first
discuss the attack plan in the bunker. Regarding "Lunatics,"
I like a lot more of that film, but act one is 10 minutes
too long and sort of lumpy, and act three is too vignetty.
I'm still pretty pleased with "RT" and "Hammer."