Just going through your favorite films list and saw
"Pi" there and was curious if you have seen
Darren Aronofsky's second film "Requiem For A Dream"
yet? He seems to have his three acts down, but his characters
are so damn boring. Ellen Burstyn did give an incredible
performance, but you don't really care what happens
to her. Anyway, with all the praise this film was given,
was just curious to your opinion.
I haven't seen it.
know you aren't big on remakes or adaptations of existing
works, but I think a lot of the visitors to your site,
who enjoy your reviews, often wonder "what if?"
about a lot of films. So I'll ask this anyway - is there
any film (or adaptation of a novel or historical event)
that you've really thought "Man, that had SO much
potential! If only...." If so, what might you have
done differently? (I asked you this once about "American
Beauty," I think.) Nothing wrong with a little
Monday morning quarterbacking, after all.
I wanted to thank you for some help that you gave me
that you didn't even know about. I just finished a grad
class in museum administration, and the final project
was a hypothetical exhibition, complete with gallery
guides, object descriptions, etc. My topic was depictions
of Hercules throughout history, starting with Greek
vase painting and going all the way up to Steve Reeves,
Disney and Kevin Sorbo. The theme was how the same motifs
turn up again and again (the Hydra, Cerberus, etc.)
and how different eras and art forms have depicted them.
So of course there was a reference to the "lost
classic" Hercules vs. Atlas story, and how the
old vs.new would have been especially ironic if an older
muscleman actor had played Atlas. There would have been
quotes from you all over the place (if the exhibition
had actually existed.) Got an A, so something must have
sounded interesting. So thanks, dude!
have misunderstood me. I have no problem with adaptation
of novels, plays or short stories, or even poems, to
film. I don't like sequels or remakes. Historical events
are just about my favorite subject for film stories.
The most recent one that could have been good due to
subject matter, but sucked due to treatment was John
Milius'TNT film "The Rough Riders." Another
would be the TNT film "Gettysburg," which
blew, but the book it's based on, "The Killer Angels"
by Michael Shaara, is brilliant.
I see your point about the special effects. I guess
what I was trying to get at was whether or not anyone
had really accomplished a completely realistic drug
experience on film. Not that that total realism is always
the desired effect. Fear and Loathing (yes its a crappy
film) made a few attempts at it. I haven't seen Altered
States so I can't comment. I'm in my twenties so I haven't
had time to see everything dammit. lol
is an unrelated question but have you seen the documentary
The Ed Wood Story (aka Flying Saucers over Hollywood).
I loved Sam Raimi and Scott Spiegel's You Bet Your Life
for putting up with me, Noelle
rent or buy the DVD of "Altered States" and
let me know what you think of the tripping scenes, which
were done by effects supervisor Bran Ferren, pre-digital
effects. No, I haven't seen or even heard of that Ed
Wood thing. I assume Sam and Scott are doing Tor Johnson
on "You Bet Your Life," which Scott has on
audio tape and we've all listened to a thousand times.
It's pretty damn funny.
is the structural differences between a comedy and
tragedy in a play?
is no difference. Tragedy and comedy are structurally
the same thing, which is drama.
regarding what the heck i'm talking about, right. i
forgot to mention that i'm directing a short film with
a pool game in it.. that's why i was asking about whether
or not to be overly concerned with the continuity. heh.
sorry to confuse.
the pool game is not crucial to the scene, then don't
bother about any sort of continuity. As long as you
have cut-aways, meaning shots that don't include the
whole pool table, like close-ups of the people playing,
as well as shots of various balls hitting each other
and going into holes, you can cut it any way you want.
liked Delirious alot, but wouldn't it have been difficult
at the time to do the acid scenes without looking cheesy?(before
computer effects were ubiquitous.)
Kong" was made in 1933 and no one has yet made
a better effects movie. I don't see what computer effects
have to do with tripping scenes. "Altered States"
still has the best tripping effects, none of which are
computer effects, and you really couldn't improve on
them. It's not like special effects didn't begin until
the advent of computers. Look at what Ray Harryhausen
was doing in the 50s and 60s, without computers. Anyway,
I'm glad you enjoyed the script.
worked with both of these guys.
tell me, IN YOUR OPINION, if Kevin Smith and Kevin Sorbo
got into a fist fight; who would you bet your money
a fun question, and there's no right or wrong answer;
so don't be scared to answer honestly.
I was in junior high school this was the sort of thing
we enjoyed speculating about, which of the two biggest
dudes in school could beat each other up? Both Sorbo
and Smith are very friendly, nice guys, I truly can't
imagine them fighting each other or anyone else. If
I had to bet, however, I'd put my money on Kevin Smith,
in that he's younger and hasn't had the health problems
that Mr. Sorbo has.
films you can remember off the top of yer head with
interesting pool/snooker sequences ?????? also, i can't
decide whether to worry over the continuity of the game
or just let it go, seeing as the game isn't the focus
of the scene. advice?
for pool scenes there's "The Hustler" and
"The Color of Money." As for the rest, I don't
know what the heck you're talking about.
movie reviews are brutal - you rule!
am directing a series of 5 to 10 page shorts in Houston.
My very talented writer spends a lot of time to get
each script as funny (or scary, or whatever), fast-paced,
character-driven, and SHORT as possible.
have read your essays on structure - you are absolutely
right on all counts. Thanks a million for such a terrific
resource as your essays. I always balked at the need
for the 3-act structure, but you have made me a true
questions - I just saw "Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking
Barrels (1998, rent @ Hollywood Video)." I liked
the gimmicky plot and artsy-fartsy camera effects (mixed
real speed, slow-mo, and freeze frame in the same take).
Did you see this movie, and if so, did you like it?
The movie mentioned above had some voice-over narration
that I liked. Do you feel that voice-over narration
is always a cop-out, or can it be part of a good script?
know, I saw "Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels"
and it went in one ear and out the other. As to voice-over
narration, I'm actually a fan in many cases, if it's
being used as character revelation. I particularly like
it in "Taxi Driver" where it's him writing
journal entries and Christmas cards greeting cards and
stuff that tells us who he is. Then you have something
like James Whitmore reading the book "The Red Badge
of Courage" over the film, and I still think that
works pretty well, too. I don't like it, however, when
it's pointless and just filling space.
I figured pearl Harbor would be just about the last
movie you's ever see. Why did you chose that film?
short script of mine has been selected for a reading
before "industry professionals", whatever
that might mean. What I was wondering is this: have
you had any of your works done in a reading and if so
did you find it of any use? Were there good questions
asked or to be asked? And so forth...
I have had my scripts read and I like it a lot. I think
it's very helpful because all those lines were meant
to be spoken and now you get to hear them spoken. What's
amazing, if you're paying attention, is the different
interpretations different actors can give to the same
lines. Oh, and as to why would I see "Pearl Harbor"?
Of all the people in the world, Sam Raimi called me
and asked me to go with him to the opening day matinee.
Sam just wrapped "Spiderman" and was eager
to see a film again. Anyway, he liked "PH"
better than me.
site! Some advice...There is a huge Xena fan base out
there looking for a home, and with my interest in and
fan interest in the Amazon Warriors, I've been trying
to grab some interest from TNT, UPN, USA and WB in a
series concept of mine called "TRIBE", which
picks up a year after the fall of the Amazon Nation.
So far, no one that counts has ever been to a Xena convention
or talked with fans, as an Amazon series would pick
up most floundering Xena fans. What am I doing wrong?
Am I contacting the wrong studios, is New Zealand no
longer a great location, what? I have spoken with ALOT
of fans and TRIBES would work.
words of wisdom, leads, your pov, are welcome. Thanks
for your time.
and their brother wants to get a project going out here,
why would anyone pay any attention to you? They sure
don't pay any attention to me. Rob Tapert shot a pilot
film for a possible series called "Amazon High"
that was just dreadful, maybe he ruined it for all amazon
Josh: 2 questions.
was Renee having any problems with morning sickness
or any other pregnancy related problems when she was
Let's say your down in New Zealand getting ready to
direct a Xena. I assume the days for shooting are scheduled
ahead of time. What happens if on the morning of a scheduled
day of shooting where Lucy and Renee(since they are
the stars) are supposed to shoot several scenes, one
of them turns up sick? I know they work when they are
sick, but let's say Lucy or Renee get larangitis and
simply cannot talk. If you can't talk, I'd assume you
couldn't do you your scenes. If that situation occurs
and you are the director.....what do you do; what steps
do you take?
never happened to me on Xena. Clearly, if your star
is sick and can't speak, they must reschedule their
scenes. It's not just the director's problem. As to
Renee, she seemed absolutely fine all the time I worked
caught Wyler's Mrs. Miniver and Mann's Marty this weekend.
Both were quite good. Thank you for the Wyler essay,
which made me realize that I was a William Wyler fan
and didn't even know it. I've seen many of his films
but never really paid attention to the credits I guess.
Did you know that Greer Garson married the guy who played
her son in that film?
also read the new journal entry. Wow. Like you said
its not like Kerouac at all. I guess you can't write
anything about hitchhiking without being compared to
On the Road. I read quite a bit of Kerouac when I took
classes from one of his biographers, and I must say
that I like your style much better. It's more honest,
blunt, and clear than anything I ever read of his.
I guess I really do have a question. I talked to my
grandfather this weekend about what he thought of the
Pearl Harbor movie, which neither of us saw or will
see. I asked because he was stationed at Pearl Harbor
when it was bombed and also fought at Guadalcanal and
won three medals for his service. He seemed kind of
insulted about the movie, I guess because its clear
that the filmmakers are using that incident as fodder
for what is obviously a flimsy throw away summer flick.
The last movie he saw in a theater was in the 70's and
he's still sharp enough to spot a dog when he sees it.
As I mentioned I saw Mrs. Miniver and thought that was
a really good treatment of the subject matter and just
plain good filmmaking. The question then: What is it
that separates a bad exploitative pap like Saving Pvt
Ryan, Thin Red Line, and The Patriot from stuff that
really has something to say about war? Miniver was made
very close to the time of the Battle of Britain, and
at least served as a bit of an uplifting propaganda
piece whereas Pearl Harbor serves no earthly purpose
other than to show off some nifty special effects.
This is getting long; Do I ever shutup? lol Noelle.
Garson marrying the kid who played her son in "Mrs.
Miniver" is wonderful old gossip. It's true, but
people were very shocked at the time. I think Ms. Garson
is astounding in "Mrs. Miniver." What's the
difference between this film and "Pearl Harbor"?
You already said it, Wyler is giving you fully dimensional
characters that are reacting honestly to their situation.
Bruckheimer & co. only use characters as a way into
the action and effects. All three of the leads are just
utter bullshit. The one potentially interesting character,
Cuba Gooding, Jr.'s character, gets no characterization
and no screen time. "Pearl Harbor," in my
opinion, is the definition of an exploitation movie,
in that all the entertainment is based on watch people
die for the sake of watching them die.
Spring cleaning for the main page? Nice change from
the black. I like the hip font choice.
enjoyed watching In Sickness and in Hell the other day.
I wanted to ask you about the old cliche in show business,
"Never work with kids and animals".
seems, with your positive experience with the little
gal in If the Shoe Fits and the beautiful shots of Tilly
(Argo) in ISAIH, you defied that rule.
the shot of Argo rearing up in the field, that far away
shot, stock footage? Or did you have a trainer just
off camera getting her to rear? (It was beautiful, by
I am awestruck that you got Tilly to nibble on the apple
tree *right on cue* just after Lucy finishes her line
about "How did they manage to win you over"...
How in tarnation did you do that? Luck? Lots of takes?
day before Soul Poss. airs, I am planning on having
myself a Becker party, and am watching all your Xena
eps with a big-ass bowl of popcorn. In ISAIH, I loved
the way you had Campbell Cooley shooting up screaming
from being drooled on and it morphs over into him shooting
up in the jail cell. You mentioned that you do a similar
carry-over in Fins Femmes and Gems. I consider it your
trademark manuever. Are there any other scenes in the
other eps where you do this, that I can look out for
during my party viewing?
from Shirley and I regarding the main page. Liven things
up a bit. Sure, they say never work with kids or animals,
but writers are constantly using them in scripts. My
experiences with both have always been quite positive.
That shot of Argo (Tilly, if you will) was done on 2nd
unit, but I'm sure they had wranglers immediately out
of frame. I'm glad you brought up Argo nibbling on the
apple because that was sheer luck, or Tilly understanding
the scene. I was anticipating having to go in for a
final close-up of Argo eating the apple, but didn't
have to bother. And finally, as to my trademark transitions,
just watch "Warrior . . . Princess . . . Tramp"
and see how I'm getting from Xena to the princess to
Meg. I did all kinds of transitions in the upcoming
"Soul Possession" because the whole episode
is going back in forth in time.
site ya got!
They were good times on Herc eh!
Have a look at this - www.gaffrig.co.nz
time no hear. For the readers, Rick Allender was the
2nd unit director of photography on "Hercules"
for its entire run. He and I worked together at the
very beginning of Herc when I was 2nd unit director.
Rick could light anything as well as the main unit DP,
only four times faster. Thanks for dropping by, Rick.
a few simple questions.
Renee O'Connor as gorgeous in person as she appears
on screen? Also she seems to be a very sweet and kind
lady in interviews; is that how she really is? Also
I've heard you say you visited some parties at Rob and
Lucy's home in New Zealand when you were down there.
Did Renee and/or Steve also attend any of these parties
at Lucy's you attended?
attractive, certainly, but she's not drop-dead gorgeous.
She is one the sweetest people I've ever met, though,
and always in a good mood, always knows her lines, her
fight blocking, whatever. And she seems to really like
getting useful bits of direction and always thanked
me for them, so I think she's great.
just read the Q/A about Steven King. I haven't read
much of his stuff. What I have read, I've generally
enjoyed... until the endings. I thought the endings
to his stories were always horrible cop-outs. The one
exception, though, was "Misery". I thought
it was a great story, with a great ending. Also, I thought
the film version of it was quite good. Have you read/seen
"Misery", and if so, what did you think?
Danny Elfman: I agree that his soundtracks tend to move
around a lot, without much focus. I think, though, that
when used correctly, they work well with certain films.
...That might have something to do with my taste in
music, though. I like of lot of chaotic stuff, and can
hear melodies and repetition in places where most people
would be overwhelmed and annoyed. I enoyed his soundtrack
to "Midnight Run". ...Thought it was a bit
over-produced, but good, none-the-less, and worked well
with the film
"Misery" was pretty good. The last 15 or 20
minutes turn into a rather run-of-the-mill horror film,
with -- she's dead -- no, she's not dead -- wait, no
she's dead -- nope, she's not dead, etc. "The Dead
Zone" isn't bad, either.
Dear Josh: Josh,
seems like you were really into journal writing for
awhile there in the 70s (ED Journal, Alaska). Do you
continue to write in a journal? With Alaska Journal
especially, I was reminded alot of Keruoac's writing
style. Had you read On the Road or Dharma Bums or Big
Sur prior to this journal writing? And have you ever
considered doing a road movie? Off the top of my head,
I can't think of many good road movies. I can think
of alot of road movies that have sucked though. I find
this style of writing to be fascinating, and imagine
its near-impossible to translate it adequately into
movie form. Might be a fun challenge to try though.
had already read "On the Road" and "Dharma
Bums" when I wrote the Alaska Journal, but it wasn't
a huge influence. Just one of them. I am an avid journal-keeper
and have kept it going now for over twenty-five years.
It's probably between 20,000-30,000 pages long, like
the Durant's 12-volume history of civilization, only
FAR duller. I hardly ever go back and read it anymore.
As to road movies, I've certainly thought about them,
but I can't get past how linear they are. That structure
ultimately bores me.
hi!HOW DID YOU GET INTO THE MOVIE/DIRECTING BUSINESS?
AND AT THE ANCHOR PARTY IF YOU REMEMBER WHAT IS CRISPIN
GLOVER LIKE?I HEARD HE IS REALLY STRANGE? dO YOU MEET
ALOT OF FAMOUS PEOPLE DIRECTING?AND LASTLY WHAT DO I
NEED SCHOOL WISE TO BECOME A DIRECTOR?
you screaming at me? How did I get into the business?
I don't think I am. I'm dangling precariously on the
edge. Crispin and I rode in a limo to the party together
and he was very nice. His girlfriend is sort of odd
(and cute), in that she's a mortician, but I guess someone
has to do it. No, I haven't really met very many famous
people. And school has nothing to do with being in the
film business, certainly not as a director.
is the aspect ratio of "If I Had A Hammer"?
You shot it in Panavision, right? Isn't that 2.35:1
ratio? I'm curious why you picked to shoot in whatever
aspect ratio you ultimately chose?
kinda of curious on this too. Do you think "Chinatown"
is a great as all the critics have said over the years?
Many say it's one of the best screenplays ever...I don't
really understand this. I really like the film, but
I've always wondered why critic's are so absolutely
taken with it. To be quite honest, I think it'd be better
10 minutes shorter.
good one to you.
shot with a Panavision camera, but I didn't shoot wide-screen,
I shot at 1.85:1, which is the standard format of most
theatrically released movies. Since I was making such
an oddball film (a folk musical with non-SAG actors?),
I decided to do everything else pretty much normally:
color, 35mm, 1.85:1, just in case someone actually wanted
to release it.
to "Chinatown," I think the critics were so
blown away seeing an intelligent, well-written, well-made
detective film -- there hadn't been one since the 1940s
and there hasn't been one since -- that they heaped
every bit of praise they could muster on it, and it's
a darn good film and worthy of most of it. Yes, it's
a bit flaccid and could use a little trimming, but it's
still pretty damn good. I'm the world's biggest fan
of detective films, but I'd say "Chinatown"
goes right up there with the best, like "The Maltese
Falcon" and "The Big Sleep."
you're from the MotorCity...
What are the chances of you ever doing something of
the Boxing World?
a big boxing fan so the idea of a boxing story interests
me. I don't have one, but I like the idea.
found your site through Whoosh!, being a XWP nut and
an occasional contributor thereto (Issue 39 - "Xena's
Calander, Month of April, Year Unknown" and Issue
50 - "Report of Findings, Second Expidition"
in my letter to the editor).
started writing a SciFi, tentatively titled "Puss
& Boots in the 23rd Century", and am working
with an on-line writer's critique group "Hatrack
Writer'Forum" hosted by Orson Scott Card. This
is my first crack at writing, and I am having a ball!
And have over 100,000 words down so far.
to my question, Sir. I was at Pasadena on Sunday in
the back of the room when Lucy talked about her future
direction(s), and was totally blown away by her telling
us of a scenario she had on her mind, in which the wife
of the operator/director/whatever of a biological weapons
storage facility is trapped in a room when things go
bad due to an accidental release.
can talk to her husband on the intercom, but she can't
be saved by him or his men, and has only 45 seconds
to live. Lucy said, 'I know I can make you laugh, now
I want to make you cry, in 45 seconds..."
my long flight back to D.C., I thought about that, while
making notes for "P&B", and started wondering
if I could write a screen play. Later, I remembered
a real-life instance about a person I knew in college
the early `60s, who was a girl very much like women
are today (Lucy or Renee, or my daughter for instance
- who is in their a same age & attitude group),
and so was ahead of her time back then.
name was Brenda, and she a nice, gently strong, pretty
young woman who wanted to do and see everything she
could - and was killed by a world that wasn't ready
for her type of woman. She was shot in the back as she
ran naked through a field in Turkey. She was about 25
have decided to try writing "Brenda's Story",
mainly because I know about it, and think it needs to
be told. Now having now found your page and read your
essay on selling "Cycles", and the frustrations
thereof, I would like to know if you have a general
recommendation on a direction to take to offer the script,
if I accidentally do produce something worth looking
thanks in advance for your time,
(I think that "In Sickness and Hell" was the
funniest XWP ep Ever!!!)
all due respect, buddy, I hope your script is more interesting
than your letter. Thanks about "In Sickness . .
." I've never sold a script since "Cycles"
and I've written quite a few, so I have no recommendations.
E-mail: email@example.com (same Noelle new address)
came across this glowing tribute to Running Time. If
you aren't sick to death of hearing about Running Time
you might want to give it a quick read.
from March 2001 online review by Clifton Davis:
movie I have selected for your edification is the 1998
heist-flick RUNNING TIME, starring the coolest of cool
cats, Bruce Campbell, of EVIL DEAD fame. I feel confident
when I say that roughly eight people have seen this,
director included. At first glance, this film appears
to be another bastardization of the Tarantino-bred,
guys-with-guns genre. At first glance, this is a movie
that you would pass over on your way to renting more
familiar fare, like the latest offerings from your Eddie
Murphy's or your Harrison Ford's. Believe me when I
say, friends, that first glances can be very deceiving.
This movie is different with a vengeance, not to mention
the fact that it's probably more entertaining than seeing
our man Eddie in a variety of wacky costumes.
movies that are successful have some form of hook to
get you interested, no matter how small it might be.
The hook might be a kid that sees dead people (like
the critical darling THE GHOST AND MR. CHICKEN) or a
cop that must go undercover as a sassy black woman (as
in CHINATOWN). RUNNING TIME has what I consider to be
the big, bad, granddaddy of all hooks: It's all shot
in one continuous take, a trick not tried since Hitchcock's
ROPE. (Yes, the movie TIMECODE did it too, as did THE
BOSTON STRANGLER, but those movies sucked, so they don't
count. My column, my rules.) Where this movie differs
from ROPE is that the camera is in near-constant motion;
through alleys, in and out of cars, etc, etc. Of course,
a modern camera cannot hold ninety minutes of film,
so the shots are broken up into six and ten minute takes.
This brings up all kinds of continuity problems and
plus, one screw up and it's back to square one. It's
a truly breathtaking feat of directorial prowess that
should only be attempted by those skilled in the craft
or by those with the patience of a monk. In the all-you-can-eat-buffet
of filmmaking, writer-director-producer Josh Becker
deserves double heapin' helpin's of the praise and glory
hot dish, with the option of a free trip to the salad
bar of fame and fortune.
what of the plot? The story is fairly simple, as movie
set-ups go. Bruce Campbell's character has just been
released from jail and, after being picked up by his
friends, goes to rob the bank vault of the prison that
just released him. (I know, it's a plot strikingly similar
to that featured in PORKY'S 5, but don't let that bother
you) Complications arise in the form of the police being
there and shenanigans ensue. There are deaths and chases.
There's a hooker with a heart of gold. There's even
the best darn film-noir set piece that's shown up on
screen in ages (The tunnel. You'll know it when you
see it). After seeing this film, I had a feeling similar
to that which my father had after he saw BLOOD SIMPLE
for the first time: The feeling that modern, innovative
cinema may in fact not be doomed.
feel that would be remiss if I didn't point out one
slightly annoying fact; This movie is EXTREMELY hard
to find. I happened upon a copy while working at a video
store, but that was by pure chance. You'd have better
luck finding a nun at a Judas Priest show. (You know,
if you were looking for nuns in the late 80's.) However,
as daunting as the task is, I beseech thee to seek out
this nugget of filmic joy and watch it with someone
you love. I also suggest a frothy mug of Mello Yello
and bowl of Better Chedders, but that's just a personal
preference and not really integral to the enjoyment
of the movie."
Thanks for sharing that. I'm
not sure why he had such a hard time finding the film,
it is available at obscure places like Best Buy and
Amazon. I'm not sure what his reference to "The
Boston Strangler" is about, it certainly wasn't
shot in one shot.
best script you have up so far, at least in my opinion,
is Devil Dogs: Battle of Belleau Wood. I have some questions
about it so feel free to answer some, all, or none of
the following as you see fit:
What were some of the sources you used to create your
portrait of Daly? How much was guesswork and how much
solid fact? For instance, did he ever really wax philisophical
with his fellow devil dogs?
From what I know about the historical records of Belleau
Wood, the military reports were a bit sloppy at the
time, which is understandable under the circumstances.
So did you have a hard time determining how to balance
the marine actions with the efforts of the doughboys?
If this film got made, it seems like it would be really
long. Did that concern you as you were writing it?
from your faithful reader, Noelle
pleases me that you liked "Devil Dogs" in
that it was very difficult to write. I believe that
I've read everything extant on Sgt. Dan Daly, which
isn't much, let me tell you. As for him reading philosophy,
that's my addition. Regarding the involvement of the
army as opposed to the marines, those records are very
clear--the army came in late, almost lost Belleau Wood,
and were then reinforced by the marines. It's pretty
clearly a marine victory. As to the length, earlier
drafts of the script were much longer. It's down to
a very managable length, I think. I don't think it would
exceed 150 minutes. It certainly wouldn't be as long
do you think about Stephen King's writing? Do you like
any of his novels or short stories? Do you think his
stories translate well to film?
question, please: What exactly about the filmmaking
medium attracts you? You obviously have a creative need
to express yourself in large scope, but why did you
choose film as apposed to say novel writing or painting
was an early fan of Mr. King and throughout the late
70s and early 80s I eagerly read each of his books as
it came out. When I got to "Christine,' however,
I realized that I was reading a 20-page short story
stretched out to 500 pages and gave up on Stephen King.
I've liked a few of the films made from his writing,
like "Carrie" and "The Shawshank Redemption."
why I chose movies, all I can say is, who chose? I've
been obssessed by movies since I was a little kid.
Hey there Josh,
in particular, about "The Big Country" appeals
to you? Do you identify with the William Holden character?
Lastly, do you plan to see the Pearl Harbor film?
Holden is not in "The Big Country." I did
identify with Gregory Peck's character, though. I also
think it's Charlton Heston's best picture, and it had
one of the really great music scores, by Jerome Moross.
Cynthia E. Jones
for recommending "The Crazy Man" and "The
Gospel According to Judas." They were both well-written,
and "Gospel" in particular was a great story.
Such a concise and brilliant way of showing religion's
folly. Once you prove something's existence, a faith
in it is unnecessary.
of Al Pacino, what did you think of "...and justice
for all?" The ending kind of left me flat. And
the music had this 70s TV show feel, but perhaps that's
because TV show theme song writers saw that movie. Who
knows? It seemed too light for the subject matter, and
you as always for your time.
my quest for the perfect film,
only saw "And Justice For All . . ." when
it came out 20 years ago and was not impressed then,
it seemed like a TV movie. I'm glad you enjoyed my stories.
Regarding "the perfect movie," have you seen
my man, William Wyler's films "The Big Country,"
"Mrs. Miniver" and "Friendly Persuasion"?
I can't think of a thing I'd change in any of them,
and they never fail to move me.
anyone ever tell you you resemble Miguel Ferrer in some
of your web pics? Compare this http://sorsha.simplenet.com/actors/Miguel/gallery/line2.jpg
(not the dopey Al Franken) with your Main page portrait.
I was pleased to see "Hud" in your favorites
list. I read this in one of your essays: "As I
was taught in high school, there are three forms of
drama: Man against man, man against nature/society,
man against himself."
this is what I wrote about Hud before I ever came across
your site: "...I remembered my all time favorite
movie, "HUD", a 1963 film, starring Paul Newman
and Oscar winner Patricia Neal. This film in my opinion
says everything about everything. What I mean by that
is, I see it touching on every kind of relationship
that mankind encounters: Parents and children, heros
and followers, man and neighbor (community), man and
beast (and the earth), man and woman."
I think I must have been channeling Josh Becker. Hud
against his father (man), against the cattle's disease
(nature), and against his demon streak (himself).
like to know if you feel two other things you wrote
apply to Hud;
interesting character is one that is constantly DEVELOPING.
If you know exactly who someone is and exactly how they'll
always respond, they're boring."
your lead character must be going through a CHANGE of
some sort that is important to the lead character."
would you say Hud "developed"? Did his character
thanks Shirley, for fixing archive pg. 31)
is not the lead character of that story. The lead character
is the one that really must be developing and the Brandon
DeWilde character is most definitely changing. Subsidiary
don't really have to develop, just so long as they have
an impact on the lead. Hud is the opposing force working
on DeWilde, the other side being Melvyn Douglas. A better
character than Hud is the Patricia Neal character, who
is also developing. Hud and the father are simply representations
of things. BTW, the book, "Horseman Pass By"
by Larry McMurtry is excellent and also the Patricia
Neal character is black in the book.
just read Ball Breaker start to finish in one sitting
and it's fucking hilarious. I'd lay down some cash to
see Joe Ball Breaker blast someone with that old Colt
Dragoon. And hey I think Mickey Rooney might still be
alive I'd love to see him kick some ass for once.
another note: One of my favorite movies is the Bicycle
Thief (you mentioned neorealist cinema to someone else
earlier) Whenever someone tells me that they really
loved some shitty movie they just saw I tell them to
watch Bicycle Thief and then come back and tell me they
still thought "Rushmore" was pretty clever.
I like 400 Blows too, but I had to do some research
to figure out what the title meant.
Rooney is still alive. And I completely agree with you
about "The Bicycle Thief," which made me cry,
and was made for about $10 right after the war. It completely
goes to show that if you have a good story to tell,
having no money won't get in your way.
Ryan St. Evens
was reading some page on your site and you had a great
quote about how a good script has to read good, it won't
be fine/fixed when it's filmed. Now I can't find this
page, and google is no help.
Got the url?
I don't have all of my writing memorized. I would assume
it was in one of the Structure essays.
Mr. Director Man,
was very touched by your essays about AIDS: Stevie the
Cat and High Cholesterol. Nobody should have to go through
what Rick went through and I'm glad you wrote that piece
because it reminded me of how insignificant my own problems
are. I also liked the other stories called, A Spoon
in the Sink, The Crazy Man, Then There Were None. Commando
Mission should be published in an anthology. When can
I buy the Josh Becker Collection to put next to my Davis
Sedaris, Joe Queenan, and Fran Lebowitz?
care. And I'm waiting patiently for If I Had a Hammer.
(Reminds me of the old joke: If I had a hammer, there
would be no more folk singers)
for the nice letter. This website is my collection,
sort of a cyber-collection, and cheaper than a paperback,