shouldn't have used the word "trend" in my question.
Once again, I do know that there have been actors who
also directed. I was just asking what you thought about
SO MANY actors now getting into directing, owning production
companies, etc. I was only asking for an opinion, not
a lesson. I realize now that I should have analyzed
my wording better (both times).
excuse me. Actors, being human beings, have just
as good a chance of being competent directors as anyone
else. Why should a former writer or producer or music
video director, for that matter, be any better at it?
do realize that movies are made all over the world.
I was just using the word "Hollywood" as an example
of what many directors look to, to be considered "a
success". Ang Lee, makes movies in his native country,
but he sure doesn't turn his back on "Hollywood" when
"it" comes calling, (whether with the big bucks or with
gold-plated statues in hand). I sincerely do hope that
you achieve the success that YOU deem to be "enough"......
I was wondering what you think about the trend of actors
wanting to direct? Not necessarily the actors that can
no longer get parts, but more like the big star types
that all seem to have there own production companies
these days,(i.e. Jodie Foster heading up Egg Pictures).
Do you feel like they should spend some of their millions
hiring a director such as yourself? Or, do you think
they that years spent in front of a camera would give
them a keen "awareness" when standing behind it?
again for your time...
do you mean, "trend"? Actors have always been directors.
D.W. Griffith was first an actor, Charlie Chaplin, Orson
Welles, etc. Raoul Walsh was John Wilkes Booth in "Birth
of a Nation." And directors generally seem to make pretty
good actors, too, like Sydney Pollack and Martin Scorsese.
Cynthia E. Jones
I agree with you about that opening five minutes of
"Lives." After that scene where Harold Russell is looking
out the window, with that golden light on his face...he
looks like an angel. All I could think was "wow...I'm
excited about the next two and a half hours!"
just saw "Blow" last night at a press screening. Johnny
"pretty boy" Depp delivered a fine performance. Rachel
Griffiths and Ray Liotta played his parents, which was
fascinating (young people in old age makeup--hmmm),
and Penelope Cruz didn't really do anything for me.
But the story was good, "Traffic"-style, except with
a PROTAGONIST, and yes! A conflict, resolution, and
ending. My God! So simple, yet so elusive.
think unlike Benedict, who said earlier about how he
doesn't care if a plot exists in a comedy if it can
make him laugh. Cheech and Chong comedies are only watchable
when stoned. No structure is needed 'cos it's an excuse
to watch Tommy and Cheech get high. The first two times
I ever watched "Nice Dreams," it didn't get any funnier.
Then I watched it stoned, and it made sense. But, honestly,
there's no structure...so I just don't think that they're
good movies. Watching someone fart makes me laugh, but
that doesn't make a good movie. Lots of things that
make me laugh my ass off would make horrible movies.
This is what gets us awful "humor" like "America's Funniest
a lovely Wednesday. There's a cold front moving in to
there sure is. I'm a tad chilly right now. There are
a lines from "Best years . . ." that never leave my
head, like Fredric March saying to Myrna Loy, "Last
year it was kill Japs; this year it's make money." And
how he could never leave his "big fat job at a big fat
bank." Also, regarding Myrna Loy who is so great in
the film, she not only did not win the Oscar that year,
she wasn't even nominated! I'm still outraged for her.
That Jennifer Jones was nominated for "Duel in the Sun"
only makes it worse.
loving your articles (very refreshing after reading
the junk from other websites and message boards), especially
your views about sequels and remakes, theme and irony,
and, my favorite, smoking.
quit smoking and drinking coffee a while back at the
request of my husband, started working out with a personal
trainer. I immediately went into a writing slump, couldn't
write to save my life. Just missed the caffiene and
the nicotine, even missed saying "Benson and Hedges
Menthol Deluxe Ultra Lights" to the hapless counter
folks who would point at the lovely lines of packs,
while I imagined the people behind me scowling in their
hate for the smoker holding up the line.
I found myself leaving the gym and heading straight
for the Speedway, then hitting the drive-thru at Duncan
Donuts (couldn't wait for the cappachino machine at
home to pump out my caffiene, oh no, had to have it
hot and ready for when I sat down to write and light
up). I'm writing again and, even better, I have a secret
to hide around the house, making everything a bit more
exciting in a perverse sort of way.
fall, I went to Europe, starting in Amsterdam, and was
charmed by the fact that everybody smokes and nobody
cares. My husband, feeling the old "when in Rome," let
me smoke cigarettes in peace throughout the trip, down
the Rhine, and eventually in Rome. I watched other Americans
there, going outside to smoke while the Germans smoked
without guilt at their tables in the bars, and resented
that guilt within myself. Ah well, it's good to be back
with my favorite crutches (and Lysol Lemon Spray). I
don't know what it is but it helps the writing.
for the articles. If you give kickbacks for clicks on
your site, thank Bruce Campbell because I found your
website there. Or just kick him back.
kidding. I wrote him a while back and he answered me,
very kind of him. He's a prince.)
for the lovely missive. I think the answer, interestingly,
is that nicotine is a creative drug. It's that drug
that's causing many of our more interesting ideas, as
well as the many creative people who smoked before us.
I absolutely love Amsterdam and have never felt so at
home anywhere else in my life.
was just wondering, if your disdain for "showbiz" is
so high, would you ever just leave the business completely?
Or, are you of the "never give up, never give in" school
of thought? Since Hollywood is essentially run by the
rules of...who you know...how far you're willing to
bend(over)...and how well you pucker-up...would you
ever completely compromise your belief system to get
for your time...
P.S. The DGA after your name, did you get that through
the trainee program or putting in enough hours as a
bravado about not kissing ass is a fairly recent development.
If I happen to not be a whore, it's not that I wasn't
completely eager to be one for most of my life. I've
simply tried to take what seemed like a deficit and
make it into an attribute. Since I've never officially
been part of the Hollywood movie business, it wouldn't
be difficult to leave it. People do make movies all
over the world and have nothing to do with Hollywood.
Regarding the making of movies, I will "never give up
& never give in," but it may well not be in Hollywood.
About the DGA after my name, which I use like M.D. or
D.D.S., I joined the Director's Guild in 1993 when I
was a 2nd unit director (I had already directed two
features at that point), I did not go through their
Cynthia E. Jones
agree with you on "High Fidelity." Much like "Almost
Famous," I heard a lot about how much I would love "Fidelity"
and watched it with amusement. While I liked the tone
of the film, the overall structure was lacking and felt
thrown together as a series of scenes, reasons to highlight
the caustic wit of Jack Black, and making a movie about
record store geeks for record store geeks because they
need one and "Empire Records" wasn't it. Upon a second
viewing, I found I wasn't drawn in because the story
didn't hold up. (Throwing the new girlfriend in with
four old ones really lessens the impact of the need
for the two of them to get back together.)
don't know that Spielberg and Bruckheimer should even
be mentioned in the same sentence, but that's because
I really love "Jaws" and hate everything Bruckheimer
has touched (including Don Simpson). As far as that
argument goes, comparing your structural concepts with
a "test market" mentality will never work. Test audiences
rarely like good endings, and in fact, ask for them
to be changed if they are made to feel "uncomfortable."
Inexplicable wrap-ups, such as "The Rock"'s ending where
Nic Cage can NOT ONLY read microfiche with his bare
eyeballs and no magnification, but can tell who shot
Kennedy from files made in 1962, before the assassination
ever happened, are unforgivable. When the last fadeout
line of your film isn't even remotely near making sense,
that's bad movie making. I know, it isn't in the dictionary,
but "The Rock" would fit as an entry. Why did I see
it? Nic Cage. Oh, how he has failed me. But then, I
have to remember, actors gotta eat, too! Now I know
to avoid Bruckheimer.
the point is, even if your structure is flawless, your
film might suck, but your film can't be great if you
have no structure. Good, but not great. It doesn't hold
up. The reason a story is compelling is because you
want to see what's going to happen. Sentences cannot
be read if they don't have a subject and verb. They
are fragments. Likewise film.
rented "The Best Years of Our Lives" this weekend. Thank
you. I've been putting off seeing this movie (because
it's 164 minutes--what a stupid reason!) for a long
time, I got it on DVD and it's gorgeous. Gregg Toland?
Man, why did I wait so long! Wonderful, wonderful movie.
And I love Myrna Loy. Have any other movies used "real"
disabled people again? Wonderful.
been waiting for you to check back in. "The Best Years
of Our Lives" is as good as movies get, in my humble
opinion. Toland's photography is awesome. The early
scene of the three men coming home in the belly gun
of the plane is too much and it's five minutes into
the movie, and it's all process. I love Homer lighting
everybody's cigarettes, getting to himself third and
asking, "Anyone superstitious?" The other guys say no
and Homer replies, "Well I am" and lights another match.
Harold Russell, who plays Homer, made one other movie
called "Inside Moves" in 1980, which is just OK.
questions,you said Lucy Lawless has a part in a film,
does she have a lead part or a smaller part in this
film? 2, you said that Xena will still have repeats
but the new season will be cancelled and which season
do you mean and why the new season only to be cancelled?
Is that the reason for the possible rumors of the dead
of the Warrior Princess has been on the internet and
news? I guess it does keep interest on the out come
in June and much talk at the convention that takes place
Apparently, there is no movie.
2. The show "Xena: Warrior Princess" was cancalled after
six seasons, and they have now completed shooting the
sixth season. New episode-wise, that's it. Rerun-wise,
it will probably continue to run for years to come.
I first want to thank you for such an interesting site
they are all informative a very interesting. I was on
you question and answer page and say a post that mentioned
Rennie Harlan and that Lucy might be doing a Movie.I
would like to know about Rennie and to check out this
movie and if Lucy indeed with be staring in it.
also want to thank you from my heart for writing about
Xena and supplying pictures it was good to see where
Lucy lives. This is such a special treat for a fan to
actually write directly to a director and get an answer
thank you agin. Looking foreward to hearing from you
about Rennie Harlan take care cheers
the rumour is that the whole film fell through.
Spielberg and Bruckheimer comment meant that every director
has an aspect that they rely heavily on, that they go
for before anything else. Primarily, Bruck goes for
action, Spiel goes for drama (heart-felt, humanitarian
stuff), and you go for structure. When I want to see
a well-planned story, I'll see one of yours. If I want
to see shit explode, I'll watch Bruck.
guess I just get the wrong impression from you. Judging
by your commentary and advice, if a movie doesn't have
structure, then it's absolute shit. This was the first
time I heard you say anything positive about a movie
that you didn't officially like (High Fidelity). True,
when I see a movie, I come out thinking of how I could
have made it better, but I still might say, "Well, it
was funny, anyway," and therefore consider it worth
watching. I didn't think that happened with you, but
maybe it does. A movie with bad structure can still
make me laugh, cry, think, shriek -- any of the typical
desired reactions from film. If it does, I consider
it a good movie.
it is or isn't the case with you doesn't matter. But
I'd rather not be so sensitive to one aspect (structure)
that gets so routinely ignored in today's films.
Jerry Bruckheimer pays more attention to structure than
most of today's filmmakers, even if his films are knuckle-headed
actioners. Drama, to work properly, certainly needs
structure. These things are not exclusive of one another.
"High Fidelity" would have worked better with better
structure, a theme, and a point. As it is, I was amused
and laughed several times, but it had no resonance,
which is too bad.
never seen any of your flicks. But, I did your essays,
and i really was struck by the line, "If you see a trend,
then it's gone."
was wondering if you can see yourself directing a larger
budget film in the future? Do you think you'll ever
get the opportunity. Or, do you think you'd have to
sell your soul and make some sappy Robert Zemeckis type
movie? It must be pretty frustrating.
I'm going to try to rent one of your movies this week.
can envision myself directing a high-budget movie, I
just can't see myself eating the required amount of
shit to get it. My disdain for the film business and
the people in it is so high that I can't hide it anymore.
may not have been clear. By POV, I wasn't asking about
main point of view, but rather seeing what the character
sees and experiences. I don't want to go back and quote
you, but you said something about the people in Aliens
didn't know what was going on, so why should we? Then
you say you don't buy the "that's what war is like"
argument from another guy about Gladiator, because you're
just a guy in a theatre, and you don't want to be jostled
around. Either you don't believe war is chaotic or you
don't think it should be manifested in the film style.
the way, Maximus' motivation was not that he didn't
get to be Emporer; he didn't want to be Emporer. His
motivation was (and we know about the tree that bears
no fruit) that his wife and kid were killed. Or you
could say that his motivation was regaining his freedom.
But I don't expect you to get too worried about plot
misunderstandings when you have no interest in the movie.
also said that you, unlike most others, have criteria
for what makes a good movie. You've made it widely known
that once you have structure, you're well on your way
to a good movie. I don't blame you for being uninterested
in today's movies, and what you don't like may make
them textbook bad, but I checked some resources and
there doesn't seem to be an entry in any dictionary
for "bad movie." So while I'm not telling you anything
new by saying that this entire Web site is opinion,
I may be telling you something new by saying that not
everybody's viewing experience can be so easily shattered
as yours. If I watch a comedy that makes me laugh, I
don't care if the plot was good; I don't care if the
characters are well-developed.
a good filmmaker, and the fact that you've even made
films with your own devotion and drive is incredible.
But I don't envy your enlightened state of film viewing
that doesn't allow you to enjoy anything that doesn't
follow the three-act structure, even though it might
be, technically, a less-than-perfect movie. But it is
good to have you here; at the very least, it will keep
one filmmaker out there making movies with decent structure.
Let Spielberg worry about the drama, and Bruckheimer
worry about the action.
you are insinuating, which is perfectly OK with me,
is that by having criteria, I am the limited one. A
gourmet is not limited, they simply have a more fine-tuned
palate. I know why I like what I like, and I also know
why I don't like what I don't like. "Gladiator" is a
stupid "Spartacus" rip-off, as well as a rip-off of
"The Fall of the Roman Empire." It has one-dimensional
characters, no theme, no point and is badly motivated
and plotted. And it's not like "Spartacus" was considered
a particularly intellectual film in its day, but it's
miles ahead of "Gladiator." Regarding my "enlightened"
state and not enjoying films with no structure, I finally
saw "High Fidelity," which I'd say is a structureless
mess, and I liked it a lot better than "Gladiator" or
"Traffic." However, "High Fidelity" could have been
a lot better had it some structure, a theme and a point.
And, like everything else these days, it's a half hour
too long. Nevertheless, the characters were well-observed
and I believed the situation. I'm not sure what your
last line about Spielberg and Bruckheimer means.
was wondering about a script I read about called Cleveland
Smith Bounty Hunter. I was wondering when you did it,
about the 10 minute clip, and why it wasn't made? Thanks.
funny you mention that script in that I just dug it
out so that it might be posted on this website. Scott
Spiegel and I made a short, 16mm film called "Cleveland
Smith Bounty Hunter" in 1981. We adapted it into a feature
script over 1983-84 and tried to raise money to shoot
it, but we were never able to achieve that and finally
dropped it. If you'd like to read it, it will be posted
here in not too very long.
you ever intend to quit smoking?
Hi again Josh,
giving too much away! Your matter-of-fact answers are
destroying me! My heart can't take your words that Ted
and Kevin will not be in the Japan finale!
prefer to tell myself that while filming your episode,
SP, either or both ALSO filmed a scene or two for either
the finale or one of the seven remaining new eps. You
know, blue screen or "dream sequence" or something.
So technically your saying that SP was their final ep
meant final "filmed" ep.! (They film out of order, no?)
Ted himself said just this week at a convention that
he will be in THREE more, so "SP", "When Fates Collide",
and a mystery third one! Ted is known to be cryptic
and liberal with his statements...so his appearance
may be in the form of a "clip show", and you may not
be aware that a musical ep. was recently canceled so
maybe Ted and Alexandra Tydings stayed on in NZ.
please tell me my theory is *possible* and I will be
happy and back on pins and needles, which is where any
self respecting, die-hard fan wants to be! (We're masochistic
some fun with us and give us a "blind item", a cryptic
clue about something that happens in SP. Something we'll
never figure out but when we see it, we'll say "of course
that's what he meant!" Maybe a clue about what is in
those pics you posted up. I happen to think the sign
that says C.H.A.K.R.U.M. in your photo means our clan
are at a future fan club gathering. That'd be a hoot.
here are my clues indicating that what I said was true
(although, of course, anything's possible): there were
last-episode ceremonies and flowers for both Ted and
Kevin on the set of SP; they always did shoot the episodes
in order; I read the last three scripts and there were
no references to either Joxer or Ares; Rob Tapert called
me the day before yesterday and left a message saying
he was on his way to the set for the very last day of
principal shooting of "Xena" (he did say both a 2nd
and a 3rd unit were still shooting, though). So, that's
what I know. As far as a "blind item" goes, how about
"Goat cheese milkshakes."
isn't the screenplay for "Lunatics: A Love Story" on
your website? I have it on tape, ($70 well spent, via
amazon) but i'd really like to read the screenplay.
Thanks for reading this stuipid letter.
stupid about it, the script for "Lunatics" ought to
be posted. Shirley and I were just discussing it since
I don't even have the unaccessible disks it was written
on (an Apple 2C) and the OCR program in my scanner sucks.
Shirley, the webmaster, has very kindly offered to re-type
it in. So, it will be coming soon.
know your good buddies with Ted, so do you know whether
or not Ted will be appearing in the two-part Season
finale of Xena that was directed by Rob?
you said you had already heard about Renee and the upcoming
addition to her family, but it was just confirmed yesterday.
When were you informed of her condition and by who?
And was she pregnant when you directed "SP"?
I heard the news when I was down in NZ from Mr. Robert
Tapert. And no, Ted is not in the final episode. "Soul
Possession" is his final episode, too.
do you think Lucy Lawless will do next in her future
career? I really am obsessed with the show and it pains
me to see it come to an end. Obviously, the cast and
crew have done a spectacular job in showing the life
of a warrior princess who befriends a bard. Also, will
there be reruns after the show is over? I hope so, because
I don't want to suffer from Xena Withdrawl Syndrome!!
A dedicated Xenite
been in re-runs for years already. The re-runs aren't
cancelled, it's the new shows that are cancelled. I
hear that Lucy got a part in Rennie Harlan's new film.
question: What do you think of Dario Argento and his
one: Do you like Lucio Fulci?
not a fan of either one, although I kind of like the
screenplay for "Once Upon a Time in the West" which
Dario Argento co-wrote with Bernardo Bertolucci and
Cynthia E. Jones
just read your essays on structure.
I'm working on a film with my friend, who's stuck on
a few points, and you've distilled it to it's simplest
essence. I would like to thank you on making filmmaking,
or storytelling on film, into a zen practice. One cannot
learn to run before one can walk. So simple, yet so
ignored all the time. Guy Ritchie? Too many style over
substance directors to mention. Thank you for a clear
view. Coppola ("Cotton Club") could've used your advice
a few times.
again, I must reiterate how cool "Running Time" was.
I didn't even know it was shot on 16mm 'cos it looked
so good. I've made four of my friends watch it so far...all
of them have been impressed.
know that this one startup filmmaker is going to listen
to your advice. And...don't worry about your age so
much. Time is relative.
Jack Warner said to Albert Einstein as he showed him
around the Warners lot in the 1930s, "I'll tell you
my theory of relatives -- don't hire them." Yes, I agree
with your observation that story structure is a Zen-like
thing, in that freedom arises from structure. Until
you know your structure, you can't move deeper into
the story, which, for me, is where the real interest
lies. Have fun.
Hey Josh Becker,
Time was an insanely bad-ass and innovative film. I'm
in a cinema class, and on April 23, I was going to make
a short presentation of your movie, if you don't mind.
I was wondering what clip you'd suggest for presenting
(it's got to be under five minutes). I was leaning towards
the part beginning from when Patrick says, "I'll kill
you for the fun of it!;" to when they are running away
and Carl gets shot. I thought I might introduce the
clip and give some details about the difficulty you
had writing the script and shooting in "real time".
I wasn't sure if you had any suggestions for presenting
your film in the best possible way in a period of a
sounds like a good clip, although it's certainly a difficult
film to pull a clip from. I'm honored you chose my film
for your presentation. Good luck and I hope you get
"Gladiator" and "Aliens," how come the "it's what the
character knows/sees" doesn't work for the former, but
it does for the latter? I seems like absolute bias,
but I can't figure out why "Aliens" would be any less
attacked. It was a big Hollywood movie made solely for
the profit, and it capitalized off of a then-original,
sci-fi alien plot and morphed it into the type of action
sequences that you deride "The Matrix" for. (Not the
exact same action, but still loud and dumb.)
in "Gladiator," you could say they overdid it, but how
can they be that dissimilar that one is absolute dogshit
and the other is mysterious.
can completely understand that one is designed to cause
mystery while one is designed to cause confusion, but
you don't want to be just some guy in the theatre; you
want to be in the film.
the very least, say you enjoyed one, but not the other,
but admit that it's a matter of preference, which is
fine. If you simply didn't like what you experienced
in "Gladiator," then say that. But both movies did the
same thing--put the audience in the character's point
it all comes down to a self-contradiction while defending
a film you liked and ridiculing a movie you hate.
is a mistake, mystery is craft or even artistry. Certainly
this is all about preference, but unlike most anyone
else, I actually have criteria for what makes a good
movie. I get a sense that most people think it's some
sort of alchemy where you throw various things into
a pot and sometimes it comes out good and other times
not. If you're trying to make a good soup, you actually
can know what ingredients to put in. My agrument about
no POV was against "Traffic," not "Gladiator." "Gladiator"
does have a lead character and POV, it's just not a
good one. Maximus is a dumb character with poor motivation
("But I wanted to be Emperor and they wouldn't let me.
Wha!"). I completely believe the motivations of the
crew of the Nostromo -- get the minerals in space and
bring them back to Earth, and if you come across any
life-forms, check them out. Motivation is the basis
of drama -- why are the characters doing what they're
to thinking about how your buddy is making a 16mm film
(I currently am too)...Well, if he's shooting his entire
picture with a Bolex it must be a silent film? Bolex
cameras aren't sync sound like a BL or SR2. They are
great, I suppose, for 2nd unit type stuff where sound
isn't necessary but you can't get sound to ever match
a "wild" camera. Or am I wrong?
what type of rolls go into a Bolex? 50ft., 100ft? Has
he processed any of the footage yet? It amazes me that
he has 85% shot and hasn't spent ten grand. Good luck
processed all the film and it looks great. Regarding
sync sound, which, as you've stated, a Bolex doesn't
do, most of his film has no dialog. The thirty-five
rolls we shot are all visual and are clearly telling
an interesting story, but there's no talk. There will
be, however. He intends to rent a Arri-BL and sound
equipment for one weekend and shoot out all his dialog
scenes -- this way he just pays the rental for Friday
and returns the equipment on Monday. He has already
shot all the dialog scenes on video as rehearsal so
when he gets the sound film equipment he'll just blast
through it. Nevertheless, you can shoot dialog with
a Bolex as long as you don't go into close-ups and just
put it in later. Also, if you shoot over-the-shoulder
shots, you simply cut it opposite of how you generaly
see it, so that you're over the shoulder of whomever
is talking so you can't see their mouth.
just finished reading "buds". You should really consider
making this film with Bruce. It is a great script and
would make a pretty good film.
not that I don't want to make it, I simply haven't got
the financing. Right now all I have is enormous debt
from making the last film. If I can ever get out of
this, then we'll see what comes next. Thanks for reading
you ever shoot a feature on 16mm again? It sure is cost
effective and with RT you did a good job of getting
a stock that looks very close to 35mm...But so many
filmmakers are leery to work with it. If it can look
good and costs half as much what's wrong?
and just for arguments sake...You mentioned that it
isn't good to be confused in a movie like you were durring
"Gladiator" and "Traffic". Well, I didn't like "Gladiator"
one bit. "Traffic" is a great film...at least to me.
I wasn't confused durring it, but I do see what you
mean about the opening battle in "Gladiator". Now, with
that said, how do you feel about various scenes in "Alien",
"Blue Velvet", or "Apocalypse Now"? I'm sure you'll
agree that there are some very confusing scenes in these
films. In "Alien" you have no idea not only what the
creature looks like, but how it's killing the crew.
Everything is filmed in an extreme close up and in the
dark. In "Apocalypse" people still wonder what the ending
is about, and it's also edited in a dreamy\confusing
type way. And in "Blue Velvet" the whole movie is odd,
but especially the ending in Dorthy Vallen's apartment...dead
bodies can't stand up! But do these scenes ruin anything?
Not for me. Do they "take you out of the movie" and
prevent you from "getting lost in it"?...No way. If
anything they add character to the them...It's unique,
something diffrent. I picked three titles that are on
your list of favorite films just to make sure you wouldn't
say the pictures sucked to begin with.
think there's a huge difference between confusion and
mystery. If the direction, camerawork, and editing are
so crappy that I can't tell what's happening -- when
the lead character clearly knows whose arm he just cut
off -- that's confusion based on poor filmmaking, as
opposed to not knowing what's stalking the character
when the character themself doesn't know what's stalking
them, that's mystery. In "Alien," "Blue Velvet" and
"Apocalypse Now" I am intrigued and caught up with a
character, and whatever now happens to them is happening
to me. I don't know why Dennis Hopper's character in
BV is so crazy, but neither does Kyle MacLachlan. Since
Sigourney Weaver hasn't gotten a good look at the alien,
why should I? In all honesty, however, act three of
both "Alien" and "Apocalypse Now" stink.
for shooting another feature in 16mm, I can easily envision
it, and it's less than half the cost. You save many
thousands in post by having a 3500 foot movie instead
of 10,000 foot movie. My buddy, Paul, has been shooting
a 16mm feature with his Bolex for the past year or so
and is about 85% shot and he hasn't spent $10,000. And
it looks great. I operated camera on the first 35 rolls
of film for him and we shot a lot of it in his apartment
between 3:00 P.M. and 5:00 P.M. when the setting sunlight
beamed through the windows and it's gorgeous. It looks
like a really good D.P. lit it and we didn't do anything
but be there at the right time. I love that. I have
a Bolex, too, and I'd really like to use it.
Cynthia E. Jones
Finally after some eBay work, I was able to procure
a copy of "Running Time" (VHS--no commentary) and watch
it yesterday for the first time. Wow. After having seen
"Lunatics" as the only thing you've done (over ten years
ago!), I must tell you: I can find nothing wrong with
this film. I was sitting there, trying to find a flaw,
something to dislike, some bad actor, or bad delivery,
or bad camerawork--nothing. Of course, I wanted to like
it, but there was a part of me that wanted to say, 'Look,
there, that's not great,' because you can be so damn
opinionated about films. And of course there's nothing
I can criticize. I'm sure YOU could, since it was your
own film, but I would like to congratulate you on a
great movie. Beautifully shot, beautifully acted (so
glad to see Bruce NOT in a comedy), wonderfully written--thank
you. You're the guy who's doing things the right way
and I just want you to know that I noticed. Of course,
I can't pay you millions of dollars to PLEASE replace
all the jobs that Michael Bay or that "See Spot Run"
guy is getting...but I hope someone figures it out before
you're eighty. Wow. Now I need to see "TSNK...E," and
"Hammer" whenever possible.
you for making my Monday a fantastic thing.
I'm very glad you liked it.
a lot for those answers! It was just for a stupid quiz
with a friend of mine. That last question was one of
those silly trick questions, When Spencer Tracy won
for "Captains Courageous" it was inscriped 'To Dick
thanks for the help!
me with your best shot, dude, I'm ready.
your comments on Traffic and couldn't disagree with
you more. While I don't think it's the great and wonderful
movie the critics are calling it, it's certainly head
and shoulders above much of Hollywood's product.
pointed out that there wasn't a main character, then
you proceed to break it down into three stories and
guess what? Each of those stories has a main character.
What do you know!
traditional movie will, of course, have a main character
with a specific goal, but this was not, obviously, a
traditional movie. Yet it works.
frustration with the storylines is understood, but guess
what? You were supposed to be frustrated. The whole
point of the movie is that the people running the drug
war are clueless idiots, and the people down in the
Mexican trenches DON'T know which side they're on.
and the look of Traffic was certainly part of its appeal.
As I read your scathing criticism I had to wonder if
you were awake when you saw the movie.
the film was relentlessly trying to put me to sleep,
sadly I was awake throughout its ridiculously long running
time. It's like when I bitch about not knowing what's
going on in the fight scenes in "Gladiator" and the
reply is, "You're not supposed to know what's going
on. That's what it would be like in a real battle."
Sorry, I'm not in a real battle, I'm a guy sitting in
a movie theater trying to lose myself in this film.
The exact moment I become confused and don't know what's
occurring in front of my eyes, I'm thrown out of the
movie and I'm a guy sitting in a movie theater again.
A story needs to have a point of view, meaning the lead
character's, which then becomes the viewer's point of
view. Without this, once again, I'm just a guy sitting
in a movie theater, not a participant in the story.
The biggest joke at the Oscars was giving "Traffic"
best editing when it's so deadly overlong. Regarding
the "Yet it works" statement, for me, by the 145th minute,
I was as bored and aggravated as I've ever been in any
movie ever. That this film was "head and shoulders above
much of Hollywood's product" is like the comparison
of dog shit to cow shit. Which smells worse? Honestly,