Q & A    Archive
Page 43

Name: Lurker Steve
E-mail: shemptd@aol.com

Dear Josh:

First of all Mr. ???, Hunky_Ares is not a valid AOL account name. Second, why don't you start your own website and reveal your secret identity and take the time to answer those kinds of questions? Not that I believe you have directed so much as a home video of your dog taking a dump.

Dear Lurker Steve:

I'm glad you brough this back up. Perhaps I need to restate my purpose here. This isn't a film employment website, nor is it a script reading service. The folks that visit here are movie fans, just like me. If a filmmaker or a screenwriter has what I consider to be a rational question -- which is most of them -- I do my best to answer them honestly. Otherwise, I'm simply a participant in the ongoing movie discussions. I have no doubt that in my own tiny little way, by just consistently being here and trying to be truthful, I have done more for the legitimate, sincere, striving, upcoming filmmakers that have visited this site than you ever have, Mr. Too-Gutless-To-Leave-His-Name.

Josh

Name: ???
E-mail: Hunky_Ares@aol.com

Hello,

As a fellow director, I was very interested to what you have to say... but when I came to this site I was unpleasantly surprised. Ok, listen... you have people who are genuinely interested in you... and let's face it... you're not marvelously well known... and to be so god damn rude in your response to some questions asked... I must wonder why you feel the need? I mean someone asks you for help with their project... asked kindly might I add and you accuse him of presuming that you will do it... read the email carefully... and I wanna know why you don't show more appreciation that people have actually bothered to email you... AND don't say I'm not a well-known director cos you might just eat the dust if you find out who actually wrote this!

Dear ???:

It's not my job to help other people get into the film business. Just dealing with my own career has been more than sufficient. Anybody that thinks that someone on the internet is going to help them crash the film business needs to wake up. And if you don't like the way the questions are answered here at Beckerfilms, Mr. ???, then don't come here. And I don't care if you are the living resurrection of John Ford.

Josh

Name: julie
E-mail: juliejhsn7@aol.com

Indeed, welcome Anthony. Your skills as a scintillating conversationalist have turned this place into a veritable Algonquin Round Table. With such droll banter as "faget pigeon fucker" and "Becker Babies" you really bring credibility to this humble message board.

That aside, I saw The Others today and it was the first film I saw all summer that I liked. I also saw a film on your list called The Red Shoes and I loved it. How did the director do the effect of her jumping into the slippers and the shoes themselves around her ankles? Stop motion?

--Julie

Dear Julie:

Now, now, leave Anthony alone. And yes, I believe it was stop-motion animation that magically put the red shoes on her. Moira Shearer is pretty incredible, yes? Now you need to see "Black Narcissus," which I like even more, also by Powell and Pressburger.

Josh

Name: F. R.
E-mail: swanlandprods@yahoopleasedon'tspamme.com

Hey, Josh!

Excellent point you make about "My Man Godfrey." It had been a while since I saw it on AMC, and I totally forgot about the "twist" ending -- probably because, now that I think about it, it was disappointing -- indeed, what a cop-out that such a charming, wise, attractive, marriageable man of course couldn't *really* be "poor." I haven't seen "Holiday," even though I liked "Bringing Up Baby," which was also Hepburn/Grant (what true stars! so entertaining in comedy or drama! such presence! very cool. . .). I might quibble with you a bit about "Philadelphia Story" again being rich girl hooks up w/poor boy, because "Tracy"(Hepburn) winds up with her ex-husband (Grant), who, as I recall, was also (of course) a rich guy, even though she was being pursued by "Mike" (James Stewart), who was, I guess, "middle-class" (a reporter).

Actually, I think this discussion kind of links in with the "Sierra Madre" discussion (I haven't seen that one yet), for one reason: we're talking about the really charismatic stars of the past -- Hepburn, Grant, Bogart, also adding lots including Spencer Tracy, James Cagney, Carole Lombard, William Powell (probably why I remembered the "positive" aspects of "My Man Godfrey" -- he was so urbane, suave but smart-aleck), etc. In discussions of films, we usually focus on which titles are best, or directors, but I don't know if we've talked about actors from the 30s, 40s & 50s lately.

Feel like listing some of your favorite actors and actresses of this period, and some of the reasons why? I know this could be a huge topic, but it does seem to fit in to the current discussion. And it could also launch the "corollary" discussion: why are so many of today's "stars" (Cruise, Roberts, Ryan, Crowe, etc.) so god-awful bland, charisma-less and one-dimensional in comparison? They're "stars, not actors" indeed!

Anyway, have a great one,
F. R.

Dear F.R.:

It's really a standard, sort of mundane, list, which I just gave, but here goes again: Bogart, Cagney, Robinson, Bette Davis, Katharine Hepburn, Audrey Hepburn, Kirk Douglas, Burt Lancaster, Jean Simmons, Gregory Peck, Gary Cooper, Dorothy McGuire, John Wayne, Marlene Dietrich, James Stewart, Myrna Loy, Mary Astor, Clark Gable, Vivian Leigh, Maureen O'Hara, Maureen O'Sullivan, Carole Lombard, Marlon Brando, Anthony Quinn, Shirley MacLaine, Montgomery Clift, Marylin Monroe, Jack Nicholson, George C. Scott, Peter O'Toole (as Groucho said, "A double-phallic name"), Alec Guinness, William Holden, Robert Ryan, Ingrid Bergman, Sidney Poitier, Richard Widmark, Henry Fonda, Teresa Wright, Robert Duvall, Dustin Hoffman, Al Pacino, I can't think of anyone else contemporary.

Josh

Name: D. Huffman
E-mail: L5g@hotmail.com

Dear Josh:

Is there a minimum on what production assistants make now, is it by the hour or by the gig? How the hell do you get a job being a PA anyway?

Dear D.:

I always got paid by the day, no matter how long it ran, and getting the gig was always based on knowing someone, like the producer, the production manager, one of the assistant directors, or the coordinator.

Josh

Name: F. R.
E-mail: swanlandprods@yahoo.com

Howdy, Josh!

Just to reinforce what you already know: for the love of God, do not see "Planet of the Apes." I went to see it at an entertainment industry screening with a group known for laughing derisively at bad films, so it's like a "Mystery Science Theatre 3000" experience to watch crap with them. Well, not only was there snickering throughout, but hissing -- actual *hissing* -- at the end. Dang, that was fun.

I'll spare you any other details about that incompetency-fest from Mr. Burton because I have respect for you and the other readers of this site.

Saw a film I did like, mainly for its seemingly realistic dialogue and acting: "crazy/beautiful." Sadly, the plot was totally melodramatic, your typical "poor little rich girl hooks up with noble guy living in poverty but trying to better himself," a plot that sucked when it was used in "Titanic" and 800 other movies. The only time I liked this plot was in one of its original appearances, in a movie I caught on cable called "My Man Godfrey."

"Sexy Beast" was really intense and well-acted. That one, I might even recommend.

Be well, and keep the faith,
F. R.

Dear F.R.:

The problem with "My Man Godfrey" is that he's really a millionaire himself out slumming, which is revealed at the end, because, God forbid, a rich girl should actually marry a poor guy. A better version, I think, is "Holiday" with Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant, where he's engaged to the wrong rich sister, and has to realize that he really likes the nutty sister, Hepburn, they keep locked up. The whole team, including writer Philip Barry, screenwriter Donald Ogden Stewart, and director George Cukor, all reunited two years later to do "The Philadelphia Story," which is yet another variation on that same theme.

Josh

Name: August
E-mail: joxerfan@hotmail.com

Dear Josh:

"Why did he go nuts? Think about what hell he went through ..... He's dirt poor begging for money from other Americans, then he finds himself woking his ass off under dangerous conditions, then becoming fat cat rich. Its not that hard to imagine what could push him over the edge. He wasn't that stable to begin with."


Wait a sec - is that "Sierra Madre" she's referring to, or the filming of "Hammer?"

I'll put in my own two cents' worth on "Sierra Madre," though. I thought that Bogart was pretty believable, since it was established early in the film that he was pretty much a low-life - not just down on his luck, but a dangerous character from the start.

That reminds me, though, of a story I've heard often, that in the early 50's, Huston wanted to film "The Man Who Would Be King" with Bogart and Clark Gable, but it never came together until 20 years later, with Connery and Caine. You hear stories like that a lot - films or dream casts that never worked out. I for one would have loved to have seen W. C. Fields as the Wizard of Oz (supposedly he was offered the role) or Cary Grant in the early 50's as James Bond (supposedly Fleming wanted him to appear in a movie version of "Casino Royale" that never came to fruition.) Any never-produced movie or cast that you would have liked to have seen?

Thanks,

August

PS - your exchanges with "Tony" Bortolussi are about the funniest thing I've read since "Mr. Fat Dick" a few years ago.

Dear August:

Yes, I agree, I think Bogart's character is established from early on as having a slightly psycho side. He does throw a glass of water in little Bobby Blake's face, which is a rather intense, psycho thing to do to an eight-year old. Also, he and Tim Holt beat the piss out of Barton MacLane, who admittedly deserves it, but still. Regarding films that never were, Cary Grant as James Bond in "Casino Royale," if it was shot as written, would have been great. I'm saddened that Joseph Von Sternberg never got to finish "I, Claudius" with Charles Laughton, who was perfect for the part.

Josh

Name: Daniel Neumann
E-mail: neumann@hellseals.de

Dear Josh,

about your screenplays - you promised to put them back online for download... could you please do it (or ask Shirley to do so)? I would love to read them as I don´t like to read them online...

Thanks
Daniel

Dear Daniel:

You are correct, you did ask and we did say we do it, or, at least I said that Shirley would consider doing it. Oh, Shirley, will you please put the zip.file versions back up when you have a chance? Thanks.

Josh

 

Oops! My bad - I actually forgot all about it. Sorry about that. I'll try to have them up within 24 hours.

Shirley

Name: Benedict
E-mail: ben@internetben.com

Dear Josh,

If you're Becker Films, then who's Panoramic Pictures?

Love you, too,

Ben

Dear Ben:

Wouldn't you like to know? Beckerfilms is the website, Panoramic Pictures is my production company, okay?

Josh

Name: Noelle
E-mail: apple4pear@aol.com

Dear Josh,

Well that is definitly the first time I have ever heard anyone disparage Bogart in Treasure of the Sierra madre. That film is perfection. Why did he go nuts? Think about what hell he went through before all the work they went through just to dig up that stuff? He's dirt poor begging for money from other Americans, then he finds himself woking his ass off under dangerous conditions, then becoming fat cat rich. Its not that hard to imagine what could push him over the edge. He wasn't that stable to begin with.

Dear Noelle:

Yeah! What she said.

Josh

Name: David Pollison
E-mail: Daverat@aol.com

Dear Josh:

When are you going to post your review of A.I. I've been dying to read it. also your review on that piece of shit Planet of the Apes.

Dear David:

That would entail me having to see those films, and that kind of aggravation I don't need. I don't like Spielberg's "good" movies, I'm sure as hell not running out to one no one likes. As to "Planet of the Apes," since I happen to love the original, and wasn't even willing to go with the many sequels, I'm sure not going for the remake. Let's face it, Tim Burton isn't even in the same league as Franklin Schaffner, nor is Marky Mark to Charlton Heston, nor Danny Elfman to Jerry Goldsmith, on and on. As opposed to seeing that film, I can accomplish the same thing by repeatedly sticking myself with a pin.

Josh

Name: Campbell Cooley
E-mail: camcooley@yahoo.com

Hey Josh!

This past weekend I finally saw TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE for the first time. Despite being a classic, I was sort of disappointed. Sure, there were some classic moments and Walter Huston's performance was absolutely awesome but I wasn't convinced by Bogarts transition into paranoia. It seemed rushed. Wanting to give Bogart the benefit of the doubt, I was wondering what you know about the editor Owen Marks? Is it possible he editted some scenes out that may have damaged Bogarts performance?

Hang in there. The coffee's on the way.

Campbell

P.S. Also saw MY FAVORITE YEAR again after 15 years. I think the best line is Peter O'Tooles panicked admission, "I'm not an actor, I'm a MOVIE STAR!!!!"

Dear Campbell:

Well, I think "The Treasure of the Seirra Madre" is terrific and Bogart is really great in it, as is Walter Huston. I don't know a thing about the editor, but it never seemed badly cut to me. Honestly, I don't see how anyone could be disappointed in a awesome film like "Treasure" compared to the crap coming out these days. But, different strokes for different folks.

Josh

Name: John Jones
E-mail: wealthyjones@hotmail.com

Hello Josh,

I would like some movie writing tips from you. Any that you have to give. I'm an actor, singer, song writer, and model and I have so many new ideas and commercials and just everything.

A friend of minds down in LA give me your site add...

I also need a good LA agent because I really desire to be an Underwear Model and do some commercials to pay the bills while I write.

Here's some of my info. and what I've done so far. I hope that you can find the time to help me.

Keep up all the good work and congrats on all your success.

Thank You So Very Much for all of your time and for listening,

From: John Jones

Dear John:

Is that all you want? What do I get out of this? I'll tell you what, you teach yourself how to write, go get yourself an agent, star in an underwear commercial, then write back and tell us all how it went.

Josh

Name: Chopped Nuts
E-mail: danjfox@home.com

To Mr. Becker,

On more worthwhile topics, I remember a while ago someone put forth the opinion that Bruce Lee was one of the most charismatic personalities to ever hit the screen. I was wondering which actors would get the nod from some of the others gathered here.

I'd have to say Yul Brenner and Lauren Bacall myself.

Dear Chopped Nuts:

I discussed Yul Brynner with Anthony Quinn, who directed him in "The Buccaneer." Quinn wasn't impressed and referred to him as a "poseur," which I found amusing. But I agree with you, Dan, I think he had tons of charisma and screen magnetism. As a kid I loved "Taras Bulba." Lauren Bacall certainly had "it" when she was young, although I don't think she hung onto it as she got older. There used to be, however, long rosters of actors with charisma, like: James Cagney, Bette Davis, Katherine Hepburn, Audrey Hepburn, Edward G. Robinson, Humphrey Bogart, Boris Karloff, Gary Cooper, Gregory Peck, Burt Lancaster, Jean Simmons, Kirk Douglas, Spencer Tracy, Cary Grant, on and on.

Josh

Name: S.C.
E-mail: scornett@yahoo.com

Hi Josh,

Just wondering if you've seen "The Caveman's Valentine", and if so, what you think of it. I found it to be one of the finest movies that I've seen in quite a while. I thought that it might also be a movie that you'd like, because it actually had a really good story and script. It might be a little long for your tastes, but who knows.

Anyhow, thanks for your time, Josh. And let me know what you think of "The Caveman's Valentine".

-S.C.

Dear S.C.:

I've never heard of that film. I'm starting to feel like a visitor from another planet. Greetings Earthlings. Should the film make itself available, I'll certainly watch it.

Josh

Name: Blake Eckard
E-mail: bseckard@hotmail.com

Josh,

Speaking of Teddy Rosevelt, the film I'm currently making is a documentary on the Sasquatch phenomena. In my research on the subject, I've come across a good many interesting old stories that relate to the mystery. One I found most provocative directly deals with Rosevelt. Did you know that he believed in reality of Bigfoot? In fact, he recounted, in his book "The Wilderness Hunter", a story that was related to him by an unrefined, old trapper by the name of Bauman, who claimed to have been stalked, and I found this most interesting. Thought you might find it thought-provoking too, what with your interest in TR and the fact that you're movin' to Sasquatch country!

Have a good one.

Blake

Dear Blake:

Well, Teddy was a true naturalist and spent a lot of the time in the woods. Of course, back in those days many of the naturalists also shot the creatures they studied, but that just made them easier to observe. In regard to the guy's statement about his partner being killed by "something that walked on two legs, and smelled of a foul odor" up in north-western Idaho in the early 1800's, that sounds like a description of most of the men up there.

Josh

Name: Fabio Blanco
E-mail: longtom@oeste.com.ar

Dear Josh:

Well, I want say how much i like your articles, your scripts and your reviews. I am your fan from the time (years ago) I catch LUNATICS in TV. I did know who was you, but I knew now. That is, only for say you have a fan here in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

By the way, Happy Birthday!
(i promise questions next time)

Fabio Blanco

Dear Fabio:

Thanks. Give my best to everyone in Argentina.

Josh

Name: Laura
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

Thank you. That does clear up my DVD worries.

I stumbled across this little anecdote from D.M...loosely reminded me of the bit in Winds of Fate which i coincidentally just read-- when the guy hides out and reads A.K.

"Once upon a time in the dead of winter in the Dakota territory, Theodore Roosevelt took off in a makeshift boat down the Little Missouri River in pursuit of a couple of thieves who had stolen his prized rowboat. After several days on the river, he caught up and got the draw on them with his trusty Winchester, at which point they surrendered. Then Roosevelt set off in a borrowed wagon to haul the thieves cross-country to justice. They headed across the snow-covered wastes of the Badlands to the railhead at Dickinson, and Roosevelt walked the whole way, the entire 40 miles. It was an astonishing feat, what might be called a defining moment in Roosevelt's eventful life. But what makes it especially memorable is that during that time, he managed to read all of Anna Karenina. I often think of that when I hear people say that they haven't time to read." --David McCullough

Dear Laura:

Although I didn't use that incident, you ought to read my script "Teddy Roosevelt in the Bad Lands," which is all about TR at that time. One of my favorite books, which was of great help in writing the script, is David McCullough's book "Mornings on Horseback," about the life of young TR. David McCullough's new book, "John Adams," is really terrific, too, and I'm about 300 pages in.

Josh

Name: Tommy Jr.
E-mail:

Dear Josh,

Just wanted to say that I really loved your scipts of "Cleveland Smith", and "Delirious". I wish Cleveland was made into a movie. I think Bruce would have done a great job on it. I do have a question though. What do you think of Tom Hanks movies? And if you saw,"Cast Away", what did you think about it?


P.S. This is to that person that talked about Bruce in Running Time. You can't forget about the other cast,they also did a GREAT job. Jeremy Roberts,Anita Barone,even that bum dude in the alleyway.

Tommy Jr.

Dear Tommy Jr.:

I'm trying to think of a Tom Hanks film I liked . . . "Apollo 13," "Splash," and . . . I can't think of any others. No, I haven't seen "Castaway." That bum dude in the alley, by the way, is Jules Desjarlais.

Josh

Name: Eric
E-mail: wpc@marz.com

Dear Josh:

Quick comment: RUNNING TIME is one of the coolest indie films I've ever seen. And Bruce's performance in it is his best performance ever. Thanks for making the movie!

That's all-
-Eric

Dear Eric:

Thanks. Both Bruce and I had a great time making the film.

Josh

Name: Vadim
E-mail: vadox@yahoo.com

Dear Josh,

First off, I want to say that I really enjoy your work. I thought Running Time was a brilliant film, both in its concept and execution, and I enjoyed Lunatics as well. Also, I really appreciate the fact that you take time to interact with your fans and answer their questions on this website. It's a noble thing to do, and I only wish that more of my favorite directors would do that.

As a film student about to graduate, one of the things that scares me is what everybody (including most of my instructors) have been saying: that the chances of anyone making it in Hollywood are extremely slim, next to nothing. Now, I realize that my Film degree will hardly mean anything when it comes to finding a job in the industry, and I think that I'm being realistic by thinking that I won't get to direct anytime soon. My question is - what chance would a fresh-out-of-film-school schmoe like me have of finding even a low-level position such as PA or a camera loader to begin with? Or an assistant editor? From what I understand, the competition is extremely high, no matter which part of the field you're trying to get into... And also, do you think television an easier medium to break into than feature films, or is it just as difficult?

Thanks,

Vadim

Dear Vadim:

I don't want to be a bummer, but all film-related jobs -- features or TV -- are very difficult to get. And you're correct, a film degree means nothing. If you don't have some kind of plan and think you'll just work your way up the ladder to director, you'll never direct. There is no ladder and there's no working your way up. I think you're better of making independent films elsewhere, but you must do what you must do. I wish you all the luck in the world.

Josh

Name: Laura
E-mail: pixie_stix@hotmail.com

Dear Josh,

Sorry I have to ask such a dumb question but I am a clueless DVD shopper. What, if anything, is the difference between widescreen and letterboxed? Does it depend on what format the film was originally filmed? If you answer this question I promise I will buy one of your DVDs.

Thank you, Laura

Dear Laura:

It's a rational question. Widescreen is how the film was shot and letterbox is the format it's being shown in. All films before 1953 were shot at a ratio of 1.35:1, which is rather square and very similar to a TV screen, which is why old movies don't need any letterboxing. Most films shot since 1953 have been in the widescreen ratio of 1.85:1, meaning the picture is 1.85 wide to 1 tall, or nearly 2:1. The really widescreen films are shot at 2.35:1, which is also referred to as 'scope, which is short for Cinemascope. Either way, it won't fit on a TV screen unless they only give you part of the frame, known as "pan and scan," or they have to put in the letterbox framing.

Josh

Name: David
E-mail: david@dustdevil.com

Josh,

I read your review of "The Passion of Ayn Rand" and saw that "The Fountainhead" was on your list of favorite movies. I was wondering if you have read any of her books. I've read the Fountainhead and really liked it, even though one in every three pages is the preaching of her philosophies. Also, a friend of mine is majoring in architecture and told me that Roark in the Fountainhead is loosely based on Frank Lloyd Wright. What do you think of her books?

Thanks,
David

Dear David:

I read "The Fountainhead" and "Anthem" as a teen and enjoyed them very much. I like King Vidor's film of "The Fountainhead," too. When I was about 18, I got about 500 pages into "Atlas Shrugged" and literally threw the book across the room in disgust, and subsequently never finished it. Ayn Rand was sort of like an intellectual kid's writer.

Josh

Name: Cristina
E-mail: CRISTINA_CA99@yahoo.com

Hello There!

YOU BIG o'l Jerk.I am writing to say that I jest had your baby and wanna know when are you going to start paying child support?

Cristina

Dear Cristina:

Come and get it.

Josh

Name: Ann
E-mail: bfarrow_74434@yahoo.com

Dear Josh,

Say,are you any relation to Michael J. Becker from California?

~Ann

Dear Ann:

No. Are you related to Mia Farrow?

Josh

Name: Cathy Beals
E-mail: toscatw2@prodigy.net

Dear Josh:

I was reading your answer about blacks winning oscars and noticed you missed one. Cuba Gooding Jr. for that silly show me the money movie. That at least takes you up to the second hand.

Cathy

Dear Cathy:

Ooops! I forgot Cuba. That's because I've done such an excellent job of putting "Jerry Maguire" right out of my head. The story of a nice agent; it's like a story about friendly mosquitoes.

Josh

Name: mj
E-mail: simulant666@hotmail.com

Good day,

I was directed to your site by an acquaintence. I've read over your commentary, reviews, and list of favorites.

I understand that you prefer, personally, to work from original material. I would like to know what you feel a screen writer who chooses to adapt a work from anonther medium owes the original source (novel, play, etc).

I ask this because you fault, in your reviews, Verhoven in his production of "Starship Troopers" for failing to address the sheeplike nature of the people in accecpting the fascist rules of the government. The rule by elite and special privilige to the warrior class was a part and parcel of Heinlein's philosophy. Verhoven accurately portrayed the intent of the novel. The movie was still intestinal fiber, but it was true to the original intent of the source.

You list "Bambi" as a movie you actively liked. It bears as much resemblance to Saltzen's young adult novel as Demi Moore's "The Scarlet Letter" does to Hawthorne's morality play. "Bambi; a Life in the Forest" is a complex, challenging, and layered work of fiction. Disney used the name and trivialized the concept.

Is there a point at which you think the screen writer should caveat the work with the words "loosely derived" or "I haven't read this book" but I want to use the title to sell my screenplay?

mj

Dear MJ:

I have no problem with the adaptation of books, plays or stories to movies, I just can't bear anymore remakes or sequels. As to what fidelity is owed to the original source material is up to those doing the adaptation. The book of "The Bridge on the River Kwai" is very different than the movie made from it, and I think the movie is quite a bit better. In "Hud," the brilliant film version of Larry McMurtry's book "Horseman Pass By," the crucial role played by Patricia Neal (who won a well-deserved Oscar) was originally a black woman in the book, but in 1963 they couldn't have gotten away with the flirtatious nature of the relationship, so, to stay true to the material, they changed it. Also, I think you need to reread my review of "Starship Troopers" because I did not pick on the aspect of the story you point out, I simply said there was a bigger metephor to play into that wasn't taken advantage of. In Heinlein's book they certainly didn't spend most of the story shooting 9mm bullets at the bugs. I never read the original "Bambi," but, as far as Disney animated films go, it's the best and I can easily live without all the others (except "Jungle Book," which I love, and is certainly a bastardization of Kipling's book, but nothing in the book is as good as Phil Harris and Louis Prima scat singing together).

Josh

Name: August
E-mail: joxerfan@hotmail.com

Dear Josh,

I thoroughly agree with your response to Fan X on sci-fi; sooner or later, someone ought to be able to do something with one or more of the classics, especially with the wonders of CGI now. I myself am hoping someone will one day film Zelazny's "Nine Princes in Amber," or one of his other works - even "Damnation Alley" would make a good movie (and of course I'm not counting the George Peppard version of that, even though I did like the post-apocalyptic multi-colored sky.)

Anyway, I just wanted to give you and all the Becker-groupies out there a heads-up. I see that "Mosquito" is airing on the USA channel at 4:00 AM EDT this coming Saturday night/Sunday morning. I caught the last 30 minutes of it once, but I'm guessing you had already been killed off by then. Josh bares it all for the camera - is TV ready?

Any reminiscences about this film?

Thanks,

August

Dear August:

Let's see . . . My buddy Gary Jones asked me to be in the film, and I said yes. He then said, "Oh, you'll have to be naked in one scene." I said, "Gary, I'm not doing any nude scenes. I'm 35 years old and I haven't been working out lately." Gary said, "Oh, okay," and I thought the issue was settled. I showed up the day of shooting at an old factory in Detroit, which was their sound stage, and everybody on the crew -- all of whom I knew -- said as the passed by, "I can't believe you're doing a nude scene," and I kept saying, "No, Gary says I won't be nude," and each of them went "huh" and walked away. Finally, Gary came walking up and I said, "Everyone still thinks this is a nude scene." Gary nodded, "It is." I couldn't believe it, "But you said I didn't have to." Gary shrugged, "You do," and walked away. They hired the girl for the scene from a topless bar and she couldn't act at all, thus most of the scene was ultimately cut out. I spent 8 hours naked on top of this woman in a tent in the middle of a stage humping and rolling around, trying not to have occur what generally occurs in this sort of situation. She also had the sharpest hip bones I've ever encountered. At the end of 8 hours I had the worst headache of my life.

Josh

Name: D. Huffman
E-mail: L5g@hotmail.com

Dear Josh:

What does a line producer do?

Dear D.:

A line producer actually produces the picture. They are there, on the line, so to speak, dealing with the day-to-day minute-to-minute issues. It's what the production manager used to be, but now they're just stuck in the office, which is where the line producer is generally found, too.

Josh

Name: Helen Chambers
E-mail: Thirdsister42@yahoo.com

Dear Josh:

Why do so few comedies win Oscars? Oscar nominations? Please answer quickly. Bail me out of this Cinema Appreciation class!

Helen C.

Dear Helen:

Because people don't take comedy seriously. Even though George Bernard Shaw said that, "Dying is easy, comedy is hard," most people don't think comedy is that big of a deal. The only comedies to win "Best Picture" are: "It Happened One Night" (1934) and "Annie Hall" (1977).

Josh

Name: Dean
E-mail: Dxpipes21@aol.com

Hi Josh,

I came across your website and all I can say is that I am so happy someone actually agrees with me on some of the crappiest movies ever made! I am a film major at The College Of New Jerseygoing into my 2nd year and I just wanted to tell you that I really admire your work, keep at it and I hope to see many more Josh Becker titles!

Sincerely,
Dean Piper

Dear Dean:

Thanks. Yeah, there's no shortage of crappy movies around. My one real amusement now with movies is hearing people sound disappointed when something like "Planet of the Apes" isn't any good. Awwww . . .

Josh

Name:
E-mail:

Dear Josh,

How about selling a collection of those shorts on VHS? You know it's very cruel for all of you guys to go on and on about those shorts and for them to be out of our grasp.

From Noelle.

Dear Noelle:

I'm not a distributor. I suppose if someone wanted to distribute the films they'd contact one of us.

Josh

Name: Cynthia E. Jones
E-mail: cynthiaejones@hotmail.com

Dear Josh,

Enough about the "bastards." I was wondering how you feel about true-crime type serial killer movies, I.E. "Ed Gein," which just came out on video, executive produced by and starring Steve Railsback. Now, you may recall Mr. Gein as one of the most heinous and disgusting serial killers of all time, who inspired several films, not the least of which being "Psycho," (an extremely tame version of what he did) a more accurate and terrifying version being "Silence of the Lambs." (And, lest we forget, "Skinner," and the former bio-pic, "Deranged.") So, my question is, is it better to tell the story because it's something we can learn from, or should we just leave the poor bastards alone? I mean, if someone comes out with a bio-pic of the kids from Columbine, is that in bad taste? And is Gein okay to glorify because it happened in 1957? Curious...Will the Dahmer picture be coming soon?

thanks,

cindy

Dear Cindy:

I just think that there's better, more interesting, and more edifying subject matter out there for stories. Every other show on Discovery and TLC is about serial killers and forensic science. Our culture is idolizing serial killers simply because they found a way to rise above the hoi poloi. It bores me. And "Silence of the Lambs" bores me. I like "Psycho," but maybe because it's so far from the real thing.

Josh

Name: Blake Eckard
E-mail: bseckard@hotmail.com

Josh,

Oregon is a great place. I'm getting ready to move there too. Don't be fooled though, you'll get plenty of mist\rain in Medford, too. Just light for OR.

Loved the essay on shorts. I think there's an almost melancholy feeling of days that were easier and simpler for filmmakers who started out making shorts.

Your essay prompted me to dig out two shorts that I made 8 years ago. I was shocked when I realized I was enjoying them more than the feature I've just completed. Did making a short after 2 features help you concentrate on making a good little movie ("Running Time")?

I ask because I've completed an indi feature and am half way through shooting (in Oregon) my second, no budget, self financed, feature film. Maybe making a short is a good way to wipe away the sometimes clouded feelings of confusion that can come to light when considering how to best finish a movie. A short film is nothing but telling a story as quickly and clearly as possible. Sometimes, on a feature, the sheer volume of footage can bog good ideas down.

I think your essay is gonna drive me to taking a stab at making a good short again. Sounds like a good way to get back to the uninhibited attitude we all had when just trying to make good movies...not good movies that would sell.

Know what I mean? Have a good one.

Blake

Dear Blake:

Nice letter. I'm glad you liked the essay. My problem is I'm perfectly happy with my newest feature, "Hammer," I just can't get anyone to do anything. It's a tad distressing. Oh well.

Josh

Name: Lurker
E-mail: pikklebiz@aol.com

Dear Josh:

Shirley has it right. And for history buffs...

According to Safire's New Political Dictionary, this is "a pseudo-Latin phrase meaning 'don't let the bastards grind you down'. Small signs and plaques carrying this message have appeared in U.S. business offices and army posts for at least a generation, since General "Vinegar Joe" Stilwell used it as his motto in World War II. Carborundum is a trademark for silicon carbide, a leading commercial grinding substance...In politics, the motto was popularized by 1964 Republican nominee Senator Barry Goldwater, who hung the sign in his office." (--from Safire's New Political Dictionary, p. 353)

Dear Lurker:

Huh.

Josh

Name: Fan X
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

Sheesh. Bite my head off.

Actually, I lived in for five years and it is a wonderful place, if you can handle the rain.

From fanX

Dear Fan X:

It's not very rainy down near Medford; the weather's quite temperate most of the time there.

Josh

Name: Fan X
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

"It only matters if you value their opinion."

However "Don't let the bastards get you down." has a nice ring to it."

or the modern abbreviated translation: "Bite my ass."

I hear there's a guy in Seattle who raised forty million dollars to make War of the Worlds independently. So I guess if he can do it who knows what else is possible.

Dear Fan X:

Yeah, well, I'm going to move Oregon and everybody in the film business can bite my ass. And that asshole in Seattle can bite my ass, too, because we don't need anymore remakes, certainly not by independents.

Josh

Name: Fan X
E-mail:

Dear Josh and August,

Do we really want Hollywood to make more Sci fi out of the classics? Look at what they did to The Positronic Man (Bicentennial Man).

Dear Fan X:

Isn't it better to at least begin with good material, then to never have it all?

Josh

Name: gene johnson
E-mail: genej50@webtv.net

Dear Josh:

Please translate "illegitmi non carborundum" i tried ref. at yahoo and your site was offered.

thank you

g

Dear Gene:

I did take Latin in college, but I have no idea what that sentence means. Anybody else have a suggestion?

Josh

 

Dear Gene,

I have seen the phrase translated as, "Don't let the bastards grind you down."

Shirley


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