question for you. I recently listened to you and the
esteemed Bruce Campbell's commentary on Thou Shalt Not
Kill Except.. At one point you mention that if you were
to make the film today, you would have to pay for each
name brand which appeared in the film, A&W Root Beer,
etc. What exactly are the policies for showing name
brands in your film, regarding fees and such-have they
changed a lot since the early '80s? Sorry if I'm asking
too many questions at once, this is just a subject I've
never really been too clear on.
for any enlightenment. Your site remains highly enjoyable,
one of the few places online that can really get me
excited about film and filmmaking.
don't know what the rules are, but I simply ignore them.
I don't think it's really an issue.
said: **New TV shows and movies are so far into the
crapper they're not even worth considering anymore**
but how can you say something sucks that you haven't
seen? Seems have some preconcieved notions of the entire
entertainment industry that you put EVERYTHING down.
And you're working on a movie aren't you? I guess according
to you, since if it ever gets made it will be a 'new
movie' that we may as well not waste our time with it
since it'll be crap.....according to your words of course.
but for someone who has never been succesful in the
business(what work have you ever gotten in the business
that you didn't have to fund yourself cause Hollywood
wouldn't give you the time of day, or wasn't given to
you with the help of your buds-Rob, Bruce, Ted, etc.)
I don't really think you're one to talk about what it
takes to make 'good' work. I mean if you're so sure
you know what it takes and what people want, how come
know one knows you.
my opinion, but I think your just a tad bitter cause
you've been shunned by everyone in the industry(with
the exception of your buds) so you put the entire industry
down. And sorry, but anyone who has been very critical
of folks like Tom Hanks and Steven Speilberg after the
work they have created in their career, yet goes on
to talk about Ted Raimi like he's the greatest thing
since sliced bread(funny, but Ted never seems to get
any notable work either unless it's from his brother
or his buddy Rob) is a tad dillusional.
may be a great trivia man on movies, but as far as having
what it takes to hang with the big boys.......well,
look in the mirror and you'll see the answer to that
feel free to respond with your usual profane responces
like 'f**k off' or 'who the f**k are you anyway and
what do you know' like you always do when folks post
something you don't like. Again, it just further proves
your maturity level and reiterates that you'll never
have what it takes.
would think that if one was going to legitimately take
me on, one might minimally have the cojones to list
their email address. So, as I interpret it, I'm not
allowed to have an opinion until I've made a lot of
money, is that it? Then I guess you're not allowed,
either. John Cassavettes financed his own movies, does
that make them any less viable? This is my website and
represents my beliefs. If you disagree that's entirely
OK, but you'd have to have an opinion to make your side
of the discussion worth considering. To just put me
down without stating what you think Spielberg or Hanks
or whomever has done that's worth considering, makes
you an idiot.
Josh: Re: Seven: Picking on the fed-ex part seems odd
to me. That's just a delivery (literally) device for
part of the plot. But it's cool, shall we agree to disagree?
question(s) for the day go:
using NZ directors on Xena. Was that a studio or production
company idea? And was it from a WANT or NEED to hold
you consider putting up something like your journal
entries concerning how you put together a script (past
or future)? It seems I write like you, tumbling ideas
around, then writing the story, then the script. What
I (and I hope others) might be interested in is how
you focus on different aspects at different points in
for your time.
"Seven" is ostensibly supposed to be taking place on
the planet Earth in contemporary times, the rules of
this planet apply. FedEx won't deliver to the middle
of nowehere, therefore you can't use it as a plot device.
Simple. And if you do, you're saying fuck you to the
NZ directors, Renaissance Pictures hired all the directors,
as well as deciding how they would allot the money per
episode. By hiring Kiwi directors they then had more
money for special effects and such. It's not an issue
of holding residuals back, Kiwi directors and actors
just don't get them.
really don't want to post my journal.
I alone here in thinking that the upcoming strikes might
actually be a good thing for the tv industry? Seems
to me that tv has been in the shitter for years. There's
this complacency to the shows right now that really
bugs me. No one's taking risks anymore. There are maybe
2 good shows that are worth watching, ER and The Sopranos.
And even they seem a bit fucked by the system. ER in
particular seems more about huge ratings ploys than
solid storytelling, and Sopranos hasn't really been
all that great since the end of the first season. And
these are the two best shows on right now.
of writers/producers seem scared of this reality tv
trend. To be honest, I've found shows like Survivor
and The Mole endlessly more interesting to watch than
most of the scripted shit on right now. Nothing in scripted
television surprises me anymore, it just feels so generic.
I'll honestly take the pseudo-reality of a show like
Survivor to the poorly-scripted-reality of a show like
The West Wing or The Practice. So I dunno, I guess I
think these strikes could be a good thing. Shake things
up a little, maybe give the writers something to write
about. I'm not a believer in the idea of inner pain
being necessary for good art, but perhaps a little inner
pain would be better than complacency.
should mention that there are a couple writers I do
respect. In particular, David Chase of the Sopranos.
This is a guy that has said many times that he actually
does have an arc to his series. That it will go 4 seasons,
and that will be the end of it. How often do you see
that? Thats the kind of stuff we need more of. Guys
that are willing to keep a small amount of dignity in
the work they do. This is a stark contrast to people
like Matt Groening of The Simpsons and Chris Carter
of the X-Files, who keep their shows on way past their
expiration dates. Tv doesn't HAVE to be about making
cash cows, does it? I don't know, I haven't worked in
tv. But from my outsider position, it seems like a wrench
being thrown in the works can only be a good thing.
don't give the slightest shit about any of that crap,
with the exception of "The Simpsons," which I still
enjoy, but feel peaked a number of years ago. New TV
shows and movies are so far into the crapper they're
not even worth considering anymore.
I had a question regarding the upcoming Xena episode
you just recently directed. Since it is set in the future
and looks to pick up some time after Deja Vu All Over
Again will it address Ares entombing at all? I have
heard that it will deal with flashbacks back to the
time after Hope/Gabrielle fell into the lava pit, but
since this is Kevin Smith's last episode I was just
hoping that maybe they might have made reference to
that as well. I am very much looking forward to this
episode having enjoyed many of your other episodes for
this show, particularly Fins Femmes and Gems and Kindred
you for your time,
no references to Ares' entombment. I received the editor's
cut and will go in and do my cut starting tomorrow.
I'm proud to say there's some very silly stuff in this
just started to check out your site a couple of days
ago, so a couple of these comments go back a bit, but
all have to deal with things you've dealt with repeatedly.
Matrix. I enjoyed the action and the overall "world"
they created. But story-wise I thought they totally
betrayed the film when they go to rescue Mobius. You
know the scene, Neo has just stepped through the metal
detector, whips open his coat, lots o' guns. My thing
is, if they're out to protect and save humanity, what
are they doing ripping into the security guards? If
they were going to stay true to the saviours of mankind
angle shouldn't these people be trying to get upstairs
through another route, instead of through twenty human
beings? (Remembering of course, you die in the computer
world, you die in the ugly real world.)
People are still asking "Can't i avoid this? It's going
to make things hard." Being a writer I've found the
opposite. Knowing what your character represents means
you know what they want or need, and that means you
know how to knock them down and kick them when they're
on the ground, which of course is the essence of drama.
you have any thoughts on Seven? I thought this was one
of the tightest scripts I've ever read. Everything revolves
around the quote from Hemmingway, (I'm not sure of it
exactly, it's something like), "The world is a grand
place, and worth fighting for." Followed by Sommerset
saying that he agrees with the second half.
for your time.
Reading that breakdown of Bridge Over... now I have
to go back and redo my script. Darn you! Thanks.
you work with the structural rules of scriptwriting
it makes the process of writing MUCH easier. If you're
always thinking about your theme, point and act ends--and
hopefully irony, too--you know what and why you're writing.
Sitting down and starting from scratch everyday is for
"Seven," my friend nailed it, I thought, by referring
to it as "a mystery for idiots." Nobody ever figures
anything out, they just keep getting calls in the middle
of the night saying, "There's been another one," then
showing up somewhere completely covered in blood, where
they scratch their heads. Finally, the killer just turns
himself in, which is damn lucky for the cops because
they had no clues. I found the finale completely idiotic,
where FedEx guys deliver a box to the 300th phone pole
in the middle of nowhere.
your opinion on the seemingly endless disputes over
screenplay credits in Hollywood? Is the WGA arbitration
process fair? Should every writer who works on a script
for putting "Devil
Dogs" online. I look forward to reading it.
problems are endemic to the process. The most important
aspect of a film is it's story and script. Since Hollywood
treats writers like their a dime a dozen and completely
interchangable, you'll obviously get credit disputes.
The WGA rules make perfect sense regarding credit --
you have to have substantially changed at least 33%
of the script to receive credit -- and I think it's
amazing they can handle as many arbitrations as they
do a year.
will "If I had a hammer" be released on DVD? I'm from
Argentina, I already own "Running time" and the only
chance I have to see it is on DVD!
don't know when it will be released on any format. By
the way, did you buy RT off the internet and you have
a multi-region DVD player? I'm just curious.
Cynthia E. Jones
so glad to know you love Schlesinger. I've never seen
"Darling," is that Julie Christie? I'll have to check
out "A Kind of Loving."
Big movie geek time here. Lindsay Anderson. He did "This
Sporting Life," a black and white exploration of working
class soccer player Terence Stamp, fantastic. Then there's
his "Trilogy," three movies starring Malcolm McDowell
called "If..." "O Lucky Man!" and "Britannia Hospital."
These are three of my favorite films. "Britannia Hospital"
is available on video as part of some sort of "Malcolm
McDowell" collection--but the other two are out of print
as far as I know, or at least "O Lucky Man!" In my universe,
I am the only person besides my best friend Jeff and
my roommate Fred who has seen and appreciated these
films. Do you know of them/have you seen them/what do
had a feeling you wouldn't like Greenaway. He's a hard
pill to swallow. You seem like more of a Cassavetes-type
dude, that is to say, grittier than Greenaway's overly
theatrical "I'm smarter than you" movies. "Blue Velvet"
is an excellent surreal film, one of my favorite films
of all time. Don't get me started on David Lynch. I
feel bad, though, I haven't caught "The Straight Story"
yet, I can't find it on DVD for rent and don't want
to buy it without having seen it. I love Dave, but he
hasn't made me passionate and excited for a while.
right, gotta run. Newspaper calls...
"Darling" stars the young, gorgeous Julie Christie,
who won an Oscar for it. As far Lindsay Anderson, sorry,
I'm not a fan. I much prefer Jean Vigo's "Zero for Conduct"
to Anderson's remake, "If." The whole story makes a
lot more sense with little kids. "O Lucky Man," which
I saw in the theater when it came out, did nothing for
me. I liked when he pulled back the sheet and the guy
had the body of a pig. I don't really care for "This
Sporting Life," either. And I do like John Cassavettes,
particularly "Faces" and "A Woman Under the Influence."
off, I must agree with Cindy -- this board is becoming
a great "salon" for us film geeks! Yes, I confess, you
must add me to that list of people who doesn't consider
it odd to see 7-10 films a week in theatres or on cable
(when employment OR unemployment allows me the time!),
and then just *has* to talk about them afterwards. Obviously,
I see too many movies (as if such a thing is possible),
but, hey, everybody's got to have a hobby!
also am very excited to have read more about your project
with Gary. I am going to India and Nepal for three weeks
this fall (!), so I'm totally intrigued by anything
I can find out about the region. Keep us posted!
Ed Lachman's cinematography -- I vividly remember "Less
than Zero" as an interestingly & beautfully shot film,
so I have to conclude that the theatre where I saw "Virgin
Suicides" had a weak bulb in the projector. Hey, it
happens. Thanks for directing me to Ed's other work.
Oscar nominations -- yeah, it is a pretty weak lot,
but it was such a weak year, what can you say? Of the
nominees, I did indeed enjoy "Traffic" -- talk about
"a interestingly shot film." As you'll see, there's
a strong design to the film, where each subplot gets
its own "look;" it could be distracting to some, but
I got into it as the film started rolling. Benicio Del
Toro is great in it. "Wonder Boys" is interesting, too,
since it's one of the rare films focused not only on
characters, but on "the life of the mind" as well, with
a good, dark sense of humor. It's nominated for editing,
but I actually found the cinematography much more compelling
than the editing. I liked "O Brother, Where Art Thou,"
which *is* up (and rightly so) for cinematography (Roger
Deakins), and "The Contender," which, although it had
a convoluted plot, was very well acted by *everyone*,
and even characters with only one or two scenes were
three-dimensional & textured. "Quills" was well-acted
although the plot was 100% spurious, so I can't really
recommend it, & "Vatel" had amazing art direction, though
the plot was not very compelling. "Requiem for a Dream"
was an unrelenting nightmare, a 2-hour commercial for
"just say no" ending in gore & a nasty porno-like sequence
(the really icky kind of porn that makes you never want
to have sex again), but with real cool editing effects
& just an awesome performance from Ellen Burstyn.
I just don't get how "Gladiator," "Erin Brockovich,"
"The Patriot" & "Billy Elliot" got to be so overrated.
I thought they were just recycled & fluffed-up crap
(though Albert Finney & the young dancer in "Billy Elliot"
were good in their respective roles). (An early candidate
for next year's pantheon of the overrated: "Hannibal."
What a pointless flick; no character depth, no plot,
no logic -- blech! But I do credit Ray Liotta with taking
*the* most thankless role imaginable...)
I thought the "best film of the year," at least among
Oscar-nominated films, is one of the feature-length
documentaries: "Into the Arms of Strangers: Stories
of the Kindertransport." It's very simple, direct, honest,
well-researched & amazingly powerful. And, guess what?
It's *well-structured* -- as you have pointed out, even
documentaries need to observe the rules!
much for Oscar recap; like you say, such awards are
meaningless & silly vanity exercises... well, at least
they provide salaries to the people who work on them.
Here's a question: with as genuinely crappy as last
year's films were, was there any film that you saw in
2000 that you would recommend as "best," or at least
had a number of redeeming qualities? Are there any films
scheduled for release this year that you are looking
forward to (aside, of course, from "If I Had a Hammer"!)?
Or, is it just back to the video store & AMC for more
of the classics of the past?
keep the faith,
make me feel like a total slacker. Yes, from my early
teens through my mid-thirties I saw 7-10 movies a week,
but no longer. A few comments: I found Albert Finney's
Amercian accent in "Erin Brockovich" utterly distracting
and really poor (the same goes for Michael Caine in
"Cider House Rules," BTW, Oscar or no). I thought "Wonder
Boys" was dull and idiotic -- you absolutely cannot
use the gag that there is only one copy of his 1000-page
book and it blows away anymore, it's too old and hoary,
and, while we're at it, why on Earth would they put
the dead dog in Tobey McGuire's bed? Stupid! Oddly,
I may well find the Oscars foolish now, but I can still
name every Best Picture from 1927 through 1980.
couple of months I write in to get an update on Hammer.
I hope you don't mind. Have you been shopping it around?
does it feel when you screen a movie for the actors
involved? Are you worried at all with what they think
of your cuts? How did Hammer go over?
Brett Beardslee make it to your screening?
"Hammer" is done and I'll pick up the video dupes today,
then begin sending them out next week. I've had two
screenings of the film, and both went well. I think
the actors enjoyed it, at least that's what they said.
No more news to report as yet.
Cynthia E. Jones
cool to know that Ted's directing. Could you possibly
let me know the name of the band? I've never seen anything
he's directed or written and would like to know if I
think that he's as talented as you and Bruce think,
if it's possible to check anything of his out.
other news, as far as that other dude ("Rule number
two sucks!") is concerned, I thank you for NOT making
this into an ass-kissing forum of "can you help me get
a job?"-ness. I understand that you are a human being
who got where you are your own way, and it's up to people
who want to be directors to find their own path as well.
There are no "easy ins" unless, of course, you're Sofia
that said, I would like to thank you for giving the
world a forum to discuss movie geek things in general.
I have far too much film knowledge to not be able to
discuss it with others, and my friends are sorely lacking
in geekness sometimes, so you fill a nice void there.
watched "Oleanna" last night. Man, William H. Macy did
an amazing job playing off of an awful actress. She
read her lines like high school girls in my drama class
used to. I don't think that Mamet is good at directing
women. It was far too theatrical for my taste (no ambient
sound--at all), but Bill Macy is always worth watching.
do you think of "Midnight Cowboy?" I bought it on DVD
and it's always good, every time I see it. Those subway
black-and-white scenes when Jon Voigt is running around
looking for Dustin Hoffman look like they could have
been shot today. Gorgeous.
you into Peter Greenaway at all? Or any abstract/metaphorical
filmmakers? I noticed you like good French cinema, but
it's pretty much New Wave, good stories, not too surreal.
How are you on weirdness/what do you consider to be
good examples of surreal filmmaking?
a lovely Thursday.
told me the name of the band, but I forget. I'll ask
him again. It pleases me greatly that this can be a
meeting place for serious movie geeks, which I am happily
one of. I agree with you about William Macy, whom I
think is a fine actor, but he was left high and dry
in "Oleanna," which really sucked. I think Mamet is
a bad director for both men and women. And Mamet's book
on directing particularly blows. I have enjoyed his
books of essays, however. I must say that I'm not a
very big fan of his writing, either. Even "Glengarry
Glenross," which is clearly his best piece of writing,
is highly repetitive and obvious.
"Midnight Cowboy," I am a fan. I think it's loaded with
wonderful writing, acting and filmmaking. I absolutely
love Voight having sex with Brenda Vaccaro on top of
the TV remote and just seeing the channels change--that's
a witty film sex scene. "Midnight Cowboy" also makes
a great double-bill with John Schlesinger's earlier
film, "Darling," which I also like very much (I also
think his film "A Kind of Loving" is one of the best
"angry young men" films of the late fifties and early
am not a fan of Mr. Greenaway, and have yet to make
it through an entire picture of his. I believe that
one can still tell a rational story and be metaphoric,
without reverting to confusion. A film that honestly
seems surreal to me is "Blue Velvet."
having trouble trying to get myself to write a screenplay.
Do you have any suggestions for procrastination? What
do you do to get yourself to sit down and just start
writing? Do you write everyday?What do you do when you
come up against writer's block? I guess what I'm asking
is for you to tell me your particular formula for writing.
Thanks so much.
write everyday, frequently just in my journal, but that's
where I work my ideas out. I find that the best way
to write a script is to work your way into it. Start
by outlining so you can figure out the chronology of
events and what the act ends are, then write a treatment,
meaning prose, like a short story, and let it come out
wherever it comes out. Mine tend to run about 10-12
pages. The you take your treatment and expand it into
a script. This is a good, workable method. At least
I like it.
nothing stranger and more fascinating than reality,
and I'm always looking for interesting stories. That's
where the cool stories are to be found"
couldn't agree w/ you more. I highly recommend you read
George Jone's autobiography called "I Lived to Tell
It All." It doesn't matter if you are into country music,
his story is unbelievable. Each page contains so much
truth it hurts.
for the suggestion.
for the reply regarding my filmmaking at university.
Well we shot the 16mm film and I just got the rushes
back yesterday, they came out very well. I was relieved
they came out!!! I am going to spend the next week editing
on a steenbeck. How did you edit 'Thou Shalt Not Kill...Except'
and 'Running Time'? Do you prefer digital editing? Do
you have any handy tips? I watched 'Thou Shalt Not Kill'
again last night and it has some fantastic shots in
it. Good stuff!!!
cut "TSNKE" on a flatbed, as was "Lunatics," but "RT"
and "Hammer" were cut digitally. I much prefer digital
editing, it's quicker and much easier to get at the
footage. But there's nothing wrong with cutting on film,
particularly when you don't have a lot of footage. i
really have no suggestions, just jump in and do it,
and have fun.
to hear you're back at work on new projects! I hope
your writing session today (um, "yesterday" by time
you read this?) goes well. I'm not familiar with Gary
Jones, whom you mentioned a few days ago, but I can't
help but think that a collaboration between you and
Ted Raimi would be more than just *slightly* off the
beaten track, which would be absolutely fantastic, considering
how beaten-to-death the "beaten track" is looking right
now. I mean, at this point, merely having a strong structure,
with beginning, middle and end, and characters that
are clearly delineated, would be enough to be better
than 95% of the films currently out there!
a quick comment re the discussion about "The Virgin
Suicides": I agree with you, Josh, on this one. I couldn't
care less about any of the characters, although actually
I thought the cinematography was a little murky, but
maybe I saw a bad print or there was a bad projector
in the theatre. The whole time I was watching "TVS,"
I kept thinking about "Almost Famous," also a flawed
film set in roughly the same time period, but at least
with a focus (i.e., the kid has to write his piece for
"Rolling Stone") and some distinctive (albeit one-dimensional)
characters. I tremendously enjoyed Frances McDormand's
performance in the latter film, but I thought Kate Hudson,
although she was truly pleasing to the eye, just kept,
annoyingly, playing the same note over-and-over again,
doing something of an impression of her mother: the
fey flower child with a heart of gold & a brain of oatmeal.
on with the questions. With your last episode of "Xena"
already in the can (I *assume* you've completed your
cut by now), are you going to seek out other TV episodic
opportunities? Or, are you gong to concentrate on features
for now? Would you ever consider directing a TV-movie,
whether of the HBO/Showtime caliber or the more "problem-of-the-week,"
thanks as always for your time & lively electronic "conversation"!
haven't seen "Almost famous" yet. I really ought to,
as well as "Traffic," before the awards. I don't particularly
care about the Oscars, but I still like having seen
the nominees first. As far Ed Lachman's photography
being "murky," check out "Less than Zero," which I think
is gorgeous. Regarding what I will pursue next, I think
it will be in the feature world. I don't think I'd fare
very well on TV shows shot here in Hollywood. If I don't
like a line in the script, I just change it and you
simply can't do that here. Who knows what the future
holds in store?
said you were writing a new script with Gary Jones in
one of your posts. I'd like to know if you prefer writing
with partners? Or do you prefer writitng alone? Also,
can you tell us a little bit more about what you and
Ted Raimi are working on together? Got any plans to
write or work with Bruce Campbell any time soon?
Jones and I just wrote a story called "Hell Up in Hyderabad,"
an action-romance that takes place in Hyderabad, India
(where Gary just shot a film called "Death Roll"). Gary's
putting that deal together. I completely enjoyed writing
the story with him, which took a couple of weeks. If
he gets some money he'll hire me to write the script,
which I would then do on my own. Ted and I, meanwhile,
have been searching for another film to make together
since we did "Lunatics" in 1989, and particularly after
having done eight episodes of Xena together. Working
with Ted is about as much fun as you can have while
shooting. he keeps me in stitches all the time. And
Bruce has too many things going on to write with me
right now. His book is coming out this summer, I believe.
don't you read fiction anymore?
there's so much history that I don't know. There's nothing
stranger and more fascinating than reality, and I'm
always looking for interesting stories. That's where
the cool stories are to be found.
HOW CAN YOU TELL BY READING A SCRIPT IF IT WILL BE
A HIT OR NOT?
say you can't. I can tell if it's properly structured
and well-written, but that certainly doesn't mean it'll
be a hit.
rule nr. 2) "No, I don't want to read your script, no
how no way." a bit cocky? I mean, you're only directing
the wackest show on earth. Stop fooling with this bullshit,
do more cool stuff like Running Time. I had to admit
tho, i thought the movie was from 1987, because of the
music. You should really try to work with some more
talented musicians, mail me if you're interested. Cause
this stuff just isn't up to par.
I don't think Rule #2 is "cocky." I don't want to read
anybody's scripts and I don't want people thinking this
is a place to send their scripts. This Q&A has been
up and running for two and a half years and at the beginning
a lot of people were trying to get me to read their
scripts. The rule didn't develop from nothing. As to
"Xena" being the "whackiest show on Earth" and that
I ought to "stop fooling with this bullshit," well,
the show's cancelled, so that's all she wrote with "Xena."
But it's been a great experience and I've loved working
on every one of my ten episodes, plus the two others
I co-wrote. Regarding your comment about the music in
"RT," I absolutely love Joe LoDuca's score. I think
he's one of the really talented film and TV composers
Cynthia E. Jones
was the one who told you to watch "The Virgin Suicides."
I had a feeling you wouldn't like it, but you must admit
that it's better than "Life Without Zoe."
comments about "Suicides" made me realize something.
I'm really hung up on good cinematography. I thought
that Stefan Czapsky's camerawork in "Ed Wood" was amazing,
which subsequently made me appreciate the general campiness
of the film much more. Lush visuals do a lot to make
up for cartoonish acting. I guess all of my favorite
films are beautifully shot...it's pretty much the most
important thing to me in filmmaking, as a photographer
myself. Good writing is second, and the interpretation
of the writing by good actors is neccessary to make
the whole thing work, so casting is third. But if one
of those three fails, the whole thing kind of sucks.
you seen "American Movie?" It's a documentary about
this guy who's making a movie, and the documentary itself
is better than the movie that's being made. It's so
ironic it's hilarious. It's just one of the funniest,
saddest, most inspiring movies I've seen. It makes you
feel really good about yourself. Check it out if you
Do you know what Ted's going to be doing now that Xena
is done? Not that that was his whole life...just curious
if he was writing, directing, acting...
love good cinematography, too, but it will only get
me through about 10 minutes of a film. Feature films
are a story form, and without the story they are ultimately
nothing, and nice production values won't save them.
Raimi recently directed a music video, I don't recall
for which band. He and I are supposed to be getting
together today to work on a script idea. And no, I haven't
seen "American Movie" as yet.
Cynthia E. Jones
just had a wonderful weekend at Dillon Beach, a little
way North of Bodega Bay. I pulled a "gonzo journalist"
move and felt that I was on a better -- more appropriate
for myself, anyway -- path than Hunter S. Thompson.
As much as I admire the man, I don't think I'll ever
get to the point where I'm pulling a gun on someone
in my front yard. I hope. Or getting drunk at a college
when I'm supposed to be on stage speaking. But I might.
Johnny Depp and your perceived vision of him as being
too aware of his "pretty-boy" status: You're friends
with extremely good-looking people, aren't you? Do they
seem too self-aware? I think Depp is pretty good at
NOT being the Pretty Boy, which is why I like him as
an actor. Especially in "Fear and Loathing," I don't
think he was afraid to be ugly, or unappealing. "Sleepy
Hollow" sucked, but "Ed Wood?" I feel he delivered a
great performance in that film, and it was not that
of a 'beautiful' boy at all.
a problem in Hollywood when you're good-looking. No
one wants you to be a great actor. That's why "ugly"
people are called "character" actors. So Brad Pitt knocks
a tooth out to get taken seriously, doesn't take a bath,
wishes people would stop calling him "The Sexiest Man
Alive." 'Cos it fuckin' sucks to be that guy. Now, Philip
Seymour Hoffman gains or loses 20 pounds and it doesn't
reach the tabloids because he's a "character" actor...
I digress. The point is, film and television care TOO
MUCH about how people look. I caught a show on the WB
network last night as I was turning the TV on to start
watching "Princess Mononoke" (cool flick--not as good
as "Midnight Cowboy" which I also watched last night)
and I saw LARGE-SIZED WOMEN on TV. It was amazing. Of
course, they weren't white, that's still not allowed
(unless you're a sidekick or a mom), but the fact that
large-sized young, beautiful black women were on TV,
being allowed to look sexy and flirt with men amazed
me. That never happens. The Beauty Machine is churning
in L.A. and N.Y. and there is too much beauty in every
single human being to think that only media-pretty people
fall in love and have adventures worthy of film.
The point is, yes, of course, you and your friends,
and I and my friends, have an infinitely better time
on acid than was portrayed in "Fear and Loathing." We
have revelations, we think of film plots, camerawork,
story moments and self-confidence-raising ideas, and
take great photos. We realize that THERE IS NO SUCH
THING AS CELEBRITY. It is our own fault. We decide that
"Brad Pitt" (I use him as a sample because I see him
at the grocery store--he's ubiquitous) is "better" than
petroleum on the streets!
make some interesting points, but I still disagree with
you about Johnny Depp. I think he gave a totally one-note
performance in "Ed Wood," and though I really blame
the problems on the poorly thought-out script, Depp
didn't help anything. To me "Ed Wood" was a huge missed
opportunity -- I really do believe that Ed Wood was
the worst filmmaker of all-time and the movie doesn't
explain this at all. The closest explanation we get
is that he had to work quickly. Guess what? We all have
to work quickly, that explains nothing. And Depp going
at every scene in his smiley, ra-ra approach, gives
no depth to the underwritten character. I don't blame
him necessarily, but I don't think he brings anything
extra to the party beside his good looks.
am movie critic Emily Blunt...Actually comedy writer
Erika Bolin... I would like to interview you for my
site. I receive 10,000 hits weekly and blah blah blah...Take
a look and see if you think it would be fun. www.bluntreview.com.
Let me know. We can do it via email=real simple. I will
be at oscar 22mar-26 mar but before or after would be
and good work by the way.
Erika, er Emily:
would be my pleasure to be interviewed by you. You have
a fun site, although I disagree with every review of
every film we've both seen.
time. Ever read the book "Shadows on a Wall" by Ray
Connolly? Its about a guy who writes a small stageplay
for his girlfriend, only to have it blossum into a monstrous
juggernaut of $100m hollywood filth.
funny stuff, and worth a laugh or two. Ever heard of
I've never heard of it. I don't read fiction anymore.
do you think about scandinavian movies, especially the
danish movies and the so called "Dogme 2000" concept
in Denmark that are followed by directors as Lars von
Trier, Kristian Levring and others ?
haven't seen many recent Danish films, but I do like
most of the concepts of Dogme (wasn't that "Dogme 95"?
When did it change to 2000?). All except that you can't
use a tripod or a dolly, which is stupid. Otherwise,
paying more attention to story and character is a great
idea. Lars von Trier bores me.
as a note to whomever recommended "The Virgin Suicides"
at some point back, I found it to be an inept nothing
of a film with a really poor script. No lead character,
no story, no real drama, no theme, no point, and Ms.
Coppola managed to get me to not give the slightest
shit about five cute teenage girls commiting suicide,
which seems like a trick. What the film does have is
pretty photography by Ed Lachman, who is always good.
saw the Michael Hurst-directed Xena episode "To Helicon
and Back," which featured much of the "Private Ryan"-style
jerky hand-held camera-work. Now I know you don't really
watch too many Xena episodes, but my question is about
a camera effect that I saw both here and in "Ryan."
At times the color would become more washed out, and
the action seemed speeded up. Why is that? Are the performers
moving slightly slower, so as to get the complex choreography
correct, and then it's speeded up? Or is it something
relating to the hand-held cameras? I thought I noticed
this in a few of the fight sequences in "Gladiator"
as well, but thought maybe it related to some of the
computer generated effects somehow? Any insight you
could provide would be much appreciated!
effect is achieved by altering the angle of the camera's
shutter, which gives it that blurry effect, then bleaching
out the colors in the color-timing in post.
questions. What's your opinion of Tommy Lee Jones as
seeing him in 'Lonesome Dove' I was amazed at his performance(along
with the amazing Robert Duvall). I already knew of Duvall's
greatness thought but didn't know much of Tommy at the
time. He just seemed to portray this inner strength
in his performance as a 'hard' man. He's got that strong
voice too which doesn't hurt either.
question is, how would you feel about ever letting Renee
O'Connor be in one of your films in the future. You
obviously know her as a person and as an actress. As
a long time viewer of Xena, I feel I've seen Renee do
amazing things in front of the camera and for the character
of Gabrielle. To be put in a show as a sidekick to a
hero such as Xena, you'de think the character would
be overshadowed. However she has become just as popular
to fans(even more popular to many fans) than the original
hero. I'm sure many factrs go into that, but one of
those has to be what Renee has brought to the table.
do you feel about her and would you like to have her
in one of your films?
question. If you could chose any book you've read that
you would like to actually see on screen(that hasn't
been done yet) what would it be?
think Tommy Lee Jones is a terrific actor, who, like
every other actor in Hollywood, doesn't get very good
parts anymore (because there aren't any). I first became
aware of Mr. Jones in 1977 in "Rolling Thunder," which
I watched again recently and it's a good, solid film.
Although I liked the mini-series of "Lonesome Dove"
(I liked the book MUCH better), Tommy Lee Jones is miscast
in that part -- he's supposed to be 70 years old. He
looks like a 40-year old albino. When Larry McMurtry
began writing "Lonesome Dove" as a screenplay, before
he decided to turn it into a novel, it was to be for
Henry Fonda and Jimmy Stewart, circa 1972. When I read
the book (in 1987, I believe), Fonda was already dead
and Stewart was too old, so I envisioned Kirk Douglas
and Burt Lancaster.
Renee O'Connor, I have offered her a part in a movie
I'm just writing with my friend Gary Jones (who directed
several Xenas). I haven't heard back from her, however.
I think she's a first-rate actor and a joy to work with.
regarding what book I'd like to see as a film, off-hand
I'd say Colleen McCullough's "The First Man in Rome"
and the sequel. "The Grass Crown."