discussion of 2001, which I've never seen, brings up
the question, Do you admire that which you can't understand?
Do you like it when movies don't explain something?
You seem to be a straight-forward storyteller, although
I've only seen Running Time. I saw The Minus Man last
year, and the preview was actually a piece about a guy
and a girl coming out of the theatre, talking about
the movie, and not paying attention to anything else.
Then they see the sunrise and are amazed that they talked
that long about the movie. Then the narrator comes in:
"The Minus Man, it will leave you thinking,"
or something like that. That preview seemed kind of
pretentious, but I did have a lot of questions.
you think leaving a lot of questions is a cop-out? Does
it depend? What have you seen that had an ending that
no one understood fully, and everyone had to develop
their own interpretations? And what would you say if
a director, not planning any theme or implication, just
puts in something weird so people will talk for a longer
time about the movie?
don't believe you can actually get people thinking and
talking by mistake or by tricking them. There actually
has to be something there to think and talk about. For
me, though, if I don't understand the film I blame the
filmmakers for doing a bad job. I honestly don't feel
like a film has gone over my head since I was about
fifteen. Quite frankly, I don't think any intellectuals
are working in motion pictures anymore. The last movie
I can recall to get me thinking and talking was "JFK,"
and it's not because my friend and I didn't understand
it, it's that the film had brought up a number of interesting
questions that were worthy of discussion.
there any kids movies that you like? THe only kids movie
I saw in recent years that I liked was My Dog Skip.
If you have a pet or have ever owned one it will make
you cry. I guess I'm intot he Old Yeller typr movies,
I also liked Shiloh and Shiloh 2, they were a tad hokey
but I thought they actually had a point to make unlike
alot of kids films out there.
didn't like kid's movies when I was a kid. I saw "Shrek"
on the flight to Europe recently and thought it blew--Michael
Meyers wasn't funny, Eddie Murphy was offensive, and
Cameron Diaz has an ugly voice. I didn't like "Chicken
Run" or "Babe," either. There are several
films about kids I like, such as "The Little Kidnappers"
(1953) and "Forbidden Games" (1951), which
have kids in the lead parts, but weren't made for kids.
there! This message from me isn't for help or anything
for my WWII script. I just need to mention that like
you, I have a love for old movies. A matter of fact,
I have a great amount of old films that vary from the
thirties and through the forties and the fifties.
I was searching through my old movies, I found a couple
of films that I just loved and havent seen for a long
time. They were:
Fritz Lang's "Fury" with Spencer Tracy. I
thought it was a great film, and you've probably seen
it before, not sure if you did or not. But I thought
that you should check it out if you didn't.
Abbott & Costello Collection. I don't know if you
ever gotten into them. But most of their films are just
fun to watch.
also took a look at your favorite films of all time
and the majority of them, I love.
recently tried to get a hold of Quentin Tarantino and
he never wrote me back. It has been a week now and no
mail from him. Ah well, maybe he is just one of those
guys who is hard get a hold of and one of those guys
who dont seem to give a damn about their fans. When
people write you, you answer them whenever you get the
chance, and it is usually a few days!
but Quentin's probably working and I'm unemployed. Regarding
"Fury," personally I think it's actually Fritz
Lang's best film. Spencer Tracy is terrific eating peanuts
all the time. And it's snappy, unlike most of Lang's
other films. I do like "Abbott & Costello Meet
Frankenstein" which was a life-changing experience
for me as a kid of maybe seven. I didn't know it was
a comedy and it scared the living hell out of me. All
in all, though, I'm not an A&C fan. To me Bud Abbott
always seemed like an unfunny version of Moe and Lou
Costello seemed like an unfunny version of Curly. Sorry.
E-mail: upon request
But, but, but...Josh! Wait just a cotton pickin' minute.
I'm going to have to go to the mat with you on this
Plains Drifter--"highly unsatisfying?" Pale
Rider--you couldn't stand?
both are more or less from the seeds of "Shane"
(Pale Rider's ending is almost a complete rip-off I'll
admit), but I found them to be 2 of my favorite Eastwood
films, and I've seen all but the ones with that orangutan.
Rider I thought was filled with incredable scenes such
as when the gold panner's young step-daughter rides
into <Sean Penn's brother's> mining site, is given
a proud tour of the destructive water-blasting mining
method the men are using to essentially rape the land
for gold, and then tear her off her horse and proceed
to start gang raping her..I thought that was powerfully
told. I also loved the story when it shows us the loss
of her dog (symbolizing innocence, imo) to violence
and her wanting to loose her virginity at the site where
she buried her dog...
loved both films' characters' dialogue and thought all
the acting (of the main players) was stellar.
know, I know, put it to the 3 act criteria, movies can't
just be a collection of good scenes, it has to have
a point, as you say, but deconstruction makes my head
hurt, I just know when I've been moved by a film or
not. (Well, I think they DO have a point, the same one
most of Eastwood's films had in, like, a 20-30 yr. span
but I won't prattle on about that.) Were both of these
too predictable for you?
the films moved you then they worked. Those films didn't
move me, but I do see how it's possible they worked
for you. For Clint Eastwood films, I'll take "Dirty
Harry." Anyway, I just caught a western I really
like called "Warlock" with Henry Fonda, Anthony
Quinn, and Richard Widmark, and a very young DeForest
Kelly as a gunslinger. It has an interesting, logical,
compelling script by Robert Alan Arthur with well-defined
characters having believably dramatic relationships
with one another. It came out in 1959 when I was one
year old, and as I watched it, I somehow felt proud
to be connected in some way to a time when this was
just one more pretty good picture that came out that
week. But I rattle on. I respect your taste, Diana,
so go ahead and like "Pale Rider," and the
next time it's on I'll give it another chance.
it seems that you write the majority of your scripts
with the intention of making them yourself, why don't
you write them in the shooting script format? Is that
just so other people can read them easier, or is it
just a personal preference?
I just saw 2001, A Space Oddesey and became incredibly
confused. First of all, the long, drawn out space scenes
just bored me. Not that I'm wasn't fascinated by them
and I wracked my brain trying to figure out how Kubrick
shot them, but I've just seen that in so many other
space movies now that I think those particular scenes
are excessive now. Secondly, I did not understand the
ending, and whenever I ask anybody I know who loves
the film to explain the ending to me, they always say
it's been too long since they've seen it and change
the subject. Normally if something in a film confuses
me I'd try to watch it over again, but due to the length
of the film and other time constraints I didn't have
the chance. I don't mean to be a pain, but do you think
that you could explain the ending to me? (the whole
"space baby" thing and the dining room and
do you know of any mail-order or online stores that
would be good for buying sound equipment like boom microphones?
I'm stuck in the middle of Kansas for the time being
and there's nothing here that specializes in that sort
aren't supposed to write in shooting script form --
it's not their job and they don't know what they're
doing (I do, but that's different). The shooting script
is prepared by the 1st A.D. or the production manager
when they break down and budget the script. It's part
of a technical process, and if you don't know what you're
doing, you will certainly do it wrong.
let's discuss "2001: A Space Odyssey." The
film blew me away as a kid when it came out, and was
very much part of the early hippy/drug experience. We
would all take LSD and sit in the front row, engulfing
ourselves in the 70mm visuals. It's a bravura piece
of filmmaking, and science fiction that's not aimed
at children, which I've come to respect a lot more over
the years. Science fiction does not have to be aimed
at children. Nevertheless, as a story, I don't think
it makes all that much sense. The film is based on Arthur
C. Clarke's short story "The Sentinel," where
scientists pick up a reading on the moon, dig up the
monolith (which is a pyramid in the story), and it sends
a signal back to Jupiter, where it came from. The idea
being, the folks of Jupiter felt that humans weren't
worth dealing with until they had the technology to
locate and dig this item up on the moon. Now humans
will be contacted or taken over or something. It's a
cool little story. In the film the story is taken backward
to the "Dawn of Man," where the folks of Jupiter
are giving us a hand in developing by helping us make
the leap to the use of tools. The bone club leads directly
to the spaceship, and now humans can locate the monolith
on the moon, which they do, and a signal is sent back
to Jupiter. Humans now head out to Jupiter, but the
computer goes nuts for no particularly good reason.
I personally have never believed that Keir Dullea could
get back on the ship if HAL didn't want him to. I also
don't believe he could fire himself into the vacuum
of space without his helmet. Kubrick does a very convenient
dissolve at this point and suddenly Dullea is in the
ship, wearing his space suit, on his way to lobotomize
HAL, which, once again, I don't see why HAL would allow.
Anyway, Dullea gets to Jupiter, is tiny human mind is
freaked out by all the timeless, pure knowledge, where
life occurs in a circular, neverending fashion, so you're
both old and young at the same time. The Louis XVI room
is like a zoo. Originally, there was voice-over narration
and it made so little sense that Kubrick, Clarke, and
the MGM executives decided to drop it and hope that
people would not understand what they were watching,
and, as the expression goes, "That which is not
understood is admired." And it worked. I too have
problems with the editing, which I feel was approached
backward. Music is composed or cut to the visuals, not
vice versa as it's done in "2001." We hang
on the effects while the piece of music plays out. Nevertheless,
given all of these problems, I'll still happily take
"2001" over all science fiction space films
that have come out since then because it's not aimed
at kids and it's not intentionally stupid. It may not
actually come off as a story, but it's infinitely more
interesting and sophiticated than all the "Star
Wars" nonsense we've gotten since.
I just wanna leave a little disclaimer that says: That
last email was nothing to do with me... I swear....
it was my PA messing about. Sorry about that, guys!
Take care, guys and get out more!!
didn't answer my question. Where did you meet Ted Raimi?
If you can't answer the question, please stop coming
like we're all pretty worn out and cranky this week.
I hope we can all learn to be more patient with one
another here at Ye Olde Q&A page.
too really loved Unforgiven with Clint Eastwood. The
scene when Morgan Freeman is outside the bar in the
coffin was so unsettling. How do you feel about the
early Eastwood films? I though High Plains Drifter was
really interesting--weird--but interesting.
a kid I loved "A Fistful of Dollars" and "For
a Few Dollars More," which were very unique films
at the time. Sadly, they don't hold up at all. I also
really liked "Coogan's Bluff" and "Dirty
Harry," too. I also enjoyed "The Outlaw Josey
Wales," but when I see it now it seems like a very
badly directed film. "High Plains Drifter"
was interesting, but highly unsatisfying. I couldn't
stand "Pale Rider." "Unforgiven"
stands head and shoulders above all the rest of his
are your favorite patriotic films and why?
you the Academy Award-winning writer? My favorite would
have to be "Sgt. York." Laurence Olivier made
"Henry V" as a propaganda film during WWII,
and I think it works well as a patriotic film. "Wake
Island" always moves me, too. Although rather manipulative,
I still quite like "The Human Comedy" (which
was Louis Mayer's favorite film ever produced by MGM)
with Mickey Rooney and written by William Saroyan. It
about a Western Union delivery boy during WWII that
has to deliver all of the death notices to the families
of soldiers. It's pretty powerful. And of course there's
"Mrs. Miniver," which I love. The final scene
in the church with the roof blown off but services still
going on is very moving.
funny. Don't even start comparing me to that Bryan Singer/ares
loser. The fake one I mean. I know nothing of the real
was a good film dammit. It was certainly Bornign's (sp?)
kidding. I know you're not Bryan Singer, you're really
Michael Bay. I completely agree, and I think Mr. Borgnine
has been very good in a number of films, like "From
Here to Eternity" and "The Wild Bunch."
When i first lived in Hollywood in 1976-77, they were
shooting a short-lived TV series across the street called
"Robot Cop" with Borgnine. I passed him in
his cop uniform on the street and I said, "What
do you want to do tonight, Marty?" and he smiled
basically I'm working on a short(ish) horror film (Had
a go at horror in the past, but on veiwing the finished
product it was just comedy)and had the idea of basically
shooting all of it in the first person (characters monsters/creatures
inc) rather than the common or garden third, is this
a workable idea or am I just tripping out
you talking about shooting everything from the monster's
POV? It's a wearisome technique that was experimented
with a few times in the 1940s, the most famous example
being "Lady in the Lake" (1946) with Robert
Montgomery (who also directed). The whole film is from
the detective's POV and you only see him in mirrors.
It's a camera shtick that doesn't aid in storytelling,
even when it was used in "Dark Passage" with
Humphrey Bogart for only the first third of the film.
I was wondering if you heard any news regarding the
birth of Renee's child? I heard something about it being
you for your time, Caroline T.
haven't heard anything, but I'll ask.
backwards sound thing at the end of "Taxi Driver"
was a suggestion from Bernard Herman(who died a couple
of days after writing the score). It's just a "Scare
chord" that they use in horror movies, sampled
backwards. The scene with Sport and Iris was completely
add libbed by Keitel...but I didn't find it necessary.
do you have a DVD player? I really suggest getting the
Taxi Driver disc. The picture is great and there's a
hour and a half documentary which is pretty darn good.
You can also read the orignal script along with the
movie which is a very cool feature.
the best to my friends in the states. God Bless America.
Herrmann actually died the night he finished recording
the score, Dec. 23, 1975. I do have a DVD player, but
I don't own that disk yet. I'll get it sooner or later.
As a bit of trivia, "Taxi Driver" is the first
film photographed by Michael Chapman, a great cinematographer,
who previously had been camera operator on "The
Godfather" and "Jaws," most of which
he hand-held very smoothly.
you think radio drama is superior to the film/television
medium? Recently I was introduced to the serials during
the golden age of radio and have enjoyed such shows
as Suspense and X-Minus One. Are there any current new
radio drama's on the airwaves? And is there a market
for writing radioplays?
dramas were interesting in their day. You actually had
to use your imagination. But I'd say there's no market
for them now. Our imaginations have dried up and withered
away. Hell, Tomorrowland as Disneyland now looks like
a 1930s "Flash Gordon" serial. We can no longer
even imagine our immediate future.
yes I did know what you were referring to, I majored
in Literature with an emphasis on Rhetoric in college.
(getting my Master's in English now) I was just referring
to them in context of pseudonyms. Actually you kinda
remind me of some of the English Profs.
I didn't mean to be snotty. All right, I guess I did.
You're not Bryan Singer by any chance, are you?
My name is Maria, i live in Canada, and I am in high
school. I was wondering if you could give some facts
about becoming a director.
what would you like to know?
just got back from N.Y.C. on Monday night. I've been
shook up bad from it. But, I think it's great to be
able and come here and not hear or see any more about
it all for a while. It's good to forget about things
sometimes, that's why we have movies.
Do you think it's worth approaching "famous actors"
for indi films? Once you can get a certain person signed
or "on board" a production often times money
will come through. I only think of this because you
mentioned a while back that you'd like to have Harvey
Keitel in the lead for your "Devil Dogs" script.
Have you tried to send him a script, or a script out
to any other actors or even producers? What about Tapert,
he's a buddy, plus something of a well known producer.
Bruce Campbell would come on board, that's sorta someone
famous. Just wondering.
damned way Fan X is Bryan Singer.
the Catch-22, name actors will not read a script that
doesn't have financing and a deal attached. Their agents
won't even give them the script. If there is a deal,
the agent has to give it to them. BTW, it's Hunky Ares
who says he's Bryan Singer, not Fan X.
you ever write a novel or short story that was published?
Do you think it's easier to sell a novel/short story
than a screenplay? What's your favorite fiction book?
never had any fiction published. I have a had quite
a few articles published over the years, though. It
all seems difficult to me. I haven't read a novel in
so long I can hardly remember. I really liked Larry
McMurtry's "Lonesome Dove," and Colleen McCullough's
books on the Roman Republic, which are historical fiction.
I quite liked Alice Hoffman's book "Seventh Heaven"
and Anne Tyler's "Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant."
and "Locke" are the online pseudonyms that
Valentine and Peter use in Ender's Game. Sorry that
was a totally esoteric reference.
favorite Stooge was Ted Healy, kidding kidding. One
of my fav's is the one when they are training some guy
to box a gorilla.
you really didn't know what you were talking about.
Do you know who Demosthenes and Locke were? Do you understand
Cynthia E. Jones
"Taxi Driver" discussion! It's one of my favorite
films of all time. My theory was that Travis hallucinated
Betsy in that last scene, 'cos she's only in the rear-view
mirror, and then there's that weird backwards sound
loop and the endless lights of the city. And as for
plausability, Bickle's "heroism" happened
years before Bernard Goetz became a similar kind of
(gun-toting creepy subway) hero. God's lonely man.
of these days, I've got to get organizized.
never thought of that. I always felt that Travis would
at some point try to kill Betsy, or kill someone else
to impress Betsy. My one single gripe with the film
is that I don't think we need the scene with Keitel
and Foster dancing. It's the only scene outside Travis's
POV. "Listen you fuckers, you screw-heads, here
is a man who would not take it anymore . . ."
absolutely agree with your thoughts on writing and directing.
Your essays echo feelings I've been expressing about
the current state of the industry.
brother and I have just directed a 35mm short. Would
you be interested in taking a look at it and lending
us some advice?
congratulate you on making a film, but I do my best
to stay away from critiquing scripts or films. Good
like everyone else, am pretty shaken up. I hope you
can assure us that your friends and colleagues are all
Dad was in NYC until Saturday. My former girlfriend
lives in Greenwich Village, not very far from lower
Manhattan. I still haven't been able to get through
emailers... don't slag me off after I've gone... instead
email me... rather than being cowardly... I worked long
and hard on X-MEN... and I ain't about to hear any minor
criticise my work and state false stuff about me...
u aren't journalists, thank you very much. Anyway, its
taking me longer than I thought it would to set up a
site... so my hats off to Josh... but I am working at
the moment on this great movie called 'Great Mates'...
it's very cool... anyone that wants to preview some
of the script, which I'm working on with Robin Redfield
can email me. Anyway, in order to get this printed,
I better ask a question. So, Josh, um... yes... um...
what were you doing in Amsterdam.... u dirty sod!
Bryan nee Tom:
folks here don't believe you really are Bryan Singer.
Since my friend Ted Raimi knows Mr. Singer, why don't
you tell me something about Ted. How do you know him?
Where did you meet? Also, here on Beckerfilms, anyone
that wants to say anything about any movie can do so,
whether you like it or not. Regarding your question,
I was vacationing in Amsterdam.
sure you see flaws in some of your earlier scripts and
films. Do you regret writing or making them? Does this
philosophy work even on a personal level? Surely, we
all learn by our mistakes, and it's that axiom that
I'm basing my opinion on. But hey, I'll agree to disagree
if you will. I guess I have to hit a few more of your
old films list. I saw Marty at your request and I found
it kind of boring. I watched other old films and I think
that a lot of them may have been coming out of the live
theatre mindset and spent a few years over-acting. Not
all. I'll be the first to admit that I haven't seen
many old films, but the ones I have seen tend to have
exaggerated acting. So I'm not saying that good films
aren't worth studying, but just that the bad ones aren't
worthless. But we can disagree. And by the way, there's
not much you or I could do to bring down Hollywood anyway,
so I continue to see new films. Fan X, who is Joe? And
no I don't know who you referred to, so I don't get
brownie points, but I don't eat them anyway.
keep the victims in your thoughts and hope they don't
make a cheesy TV movie out of it.
strokes from different folks. Paddy Chayefsky's writing
on "Marty" is so wonderful, the characters
are so fleshed-out, it deeply impresses me every time
I see it. Stuff like "Raiders" and "Back
to the Future" have such thin, weak characters
that I don't care at all. And, I are you trying to say
that anyone in "Marty" is coming close to
the over-acting of Christopher Lloyd in "Future"?
Or the vapid, dull, under-acting of Harrison Ford in
"Raiders"? I really do think Ernest Borgnine
is simply amazing in "Marty" (much better
than Rod Steiger in the TV version).
the horrible events of Sept. 11, I don't even want to
discuss them here. I'm very disturbed.
I think *all* anonymous hate mail is from disgruntled
Xena weirdos, as opposed to the rest of us gruntled
weirdos. The ironic thing is, it always appears to be
from the same person, and each time, a dozen or more
of your fans observe what an utter loser someone is
to track down a filmmaker's website in order to heckle
him. Sheesh, Steven Spielberg would be a loser if he
were to heckle you, and I don't think these guys are
the down side, it looks like you've lost one fan in
Spain, so there go all those anticipated pesos from
the "Lunatics" revival in Barcelona. The other
ironic thing is how the whackos get offended when you
refer to crazy Xena fans, and yet an awful lot of your
fans discover your work initially through the Xena connection,
and yet miraculously don't get offended. Reminds me
of the old joke where the Native American boy questions
his grandfather on how their tribe names the children
with such picturesque names, discovering that the names
are taken from what is observed in nature at the child's
birth. Hence Three Rivers, Standing Elk, Still Waters,
etc. The grandfather then asks "But why do *you*
ask me this, Two Dogs Fucking?"
the other hand, sadly I do remember the Stooges' mission
to Sunev, and now you've got "Ay-yi-yi - bee-bop"
running through my head.
I need to ask a question here - so what's the latest
on "Hammer" - any anticipated release dates,
or smaller film festival showings?
- if your mom resembles Olivia deHavilland, all I have
to say is, in the words of Wayne from Wayne's World
- Dude - your mom is a babe! My chin hits the floor
with a loud thud whenever I see her in "Capt. Blood."
DeHavilland is about 19 in "Captain Blood."
But that's sort of what my mom looked like when she
was young, although I didn't know her then. She turns
70 this month. No word on a release date for "Hammer."
catcher rye guy is full of sh!t, ofcourse. you films
have made an outstanding difference in people that want
to strive for more than the norm and high praise to
you for standing up against the system in a time when
the system is so praised. evil dead would not be evil
dead if you would not have stuck it out on the horrendous
shoot you were on and please, by all means, bitch on,
for all that is holy bitch on. the way i think of things
is: the more i piss people off the more i know i'm doing
something right. unfortunate but true. dustin
I'll bitch on all right. People that attack me on that
level are clearly only interested in money--since I
haven't made any high-budget films, nor have any of
my films grossed big bucks, I don't count. Well, I don't
see it that way. My films exist, therefore they count.
Every bit as much (or more) than the high-budget garbage.
With all due respect to my friend Sam, I would much
rather have made "Running Time" or "If
I Had a Hammer" than "Spiderman." My
films are a true expression of me, not a committee.
If they suck, it's because I have no taste or talent,
but nobody made me do anything or stood in my way. I
think that's more important than succeeding within the
corrupt, awful system.
Hey how are you Josh?
rented the DVD of Robocop recently which is a director's
cut. According to the commentary they had to cut some
scenes down to keep from getting an X rating. It was
pretty violent but it didn't feel to me like it deserved
the dreaded X rating.
don't laugh at me but I saw Scary Movie 2 ( I never
saw the first one) with friends this summer and was
totally taken aback by what they were able to get away
with for an R rating especially in comparison to Robocop.
They had a giant penis strangle a person to death. There
was a scene with a girl getting blasted across the room
and splattered in the face by an elephant size ejaculation.
And a zillion other unfunny "jokes." I'd sit
down and watch Robocop with someone under 18 with no
qualms but Scary Movie 2 was like pornography for children
(and there were more children in the audience than adults).
Of course I deserve to be flogged for seeing the movie
in the first place.
the ratings board loosened up its tie lately or does
blood just make that much of a difference?
our weird society violence is fine for kids, but sex
is verboten. I've seen the X-rated cut of "Robocop"
and it just had a lot more squibs -- big deal. I was
threatened with an X-rating on TSNKE, which I didn't
accept and went unrated. It's a very silly, I think.
Roland T. Flakfizer
question I know, but time for some Wishful Thinking.
you could film any one of your scripts (for that matter,
any script at all) tomorrow, which one would you shoot
with which cast?
would be "Devil Dogs: The battle of Belleau Wood"
and it would star Harvey Keitel as Sgt. Dan Daly.
really like the ending of "Taxi Driver" too.
I think the last shot is supposed to mean that Travis
still isn't well. Like he's a ticking time-bomb. He's
gonna go off again and hurt himself or someone else.
Damn, I wished they still made movies like this. Another
"Dude, Where's my car?" and I'm going to shoot
Just wondering who your favorite Stooge is? This is
the most difficult question I've ever asked myself...I
really like Moe. I don't think anything would happen
without Moe. He gets things off the ground.
only as healthy as you feel."
like Larry the best. He gives the best reaction shots.
At one point Moe reaches up under Larry's shirt and
tears a giant handful of hair off of his chest.
doing my part to add to the ongoing tension. heh heh.
in order to be a good novelist we should read horrible
books? Or learn to paint by carefully observing kindergarten
fingerpainters? And on top of that we should pay money
out of our pockets for inept filmmakers to NOT entertain
us? What a plan.
on the subject of my name or email address I will gladly
send it to individual Joe's on request but I will not
open or respond to anything sent to me. I used to use
the email email@example.com but I changed it. I could
start going by Demosthenes or Locke and if you know
what that refers to then you win a brownie point.
don't care if you reveal yourself or not. I do agree
with your points about novelists and painters. As for
Demosthenes or Locke, are you an empiricist with a mouthful
of pebbles? Or are you a guy with a mouthful of pebbles
that's trying to learn something from the experience?
you are going to hate me for this...
have to ask you for a little bit of imput again. I know
in the past, I asked for so much help it isn't even
funny. So, I can see why you'd be pissed at me posting
I am STILL scripting my WWII script. I am about 30 pages
into the script and it's coming along okay so far. I
also know that you don't find a liking to most new WWII
films. Including the miniseries of Band Of Brothers,
Saving Private Ryan, and The Thin Red Line. I have read
the Saving Private Ryan and The Thin Red Line reviews,
already. I thought you bashed them very well, by the
I am asking is:
do you find unique about most WWII films? What do you
think can be new and interesting?
have the story down A-okay, but most of the scenes that
I have treated seem dull to me. Derivative is the good
word to describe how I am feeling. I really want to
write one and I am still banging the thoughts of new
interesting tidbits to put it. I still think I need
the final touch. Something just HAS to be there, I think.
And there is no way I am dropping the script. That isn't
the way I work.
you're annoyed by now -- anyway, if you can get back
to me anyway, its decent.
not the slightest bit pissed or annoyed. You sound like
a rational guy that's at least trying to do good work.
All I can suggest is that depth comes out of the characters,
not the plot. That's the main problem with "Band
of Brothers," they're not well-drawn characters
so I don't give a crap if they live or die. Check out
William Wellman's "Battleground," which won
the Oscar that year for best original screenplay by
Robert Pirosh. It's about the Battle of the Bulge and
Pirosh was really there. It's all kind of cliched now,
but you certainly do get a sense of each of the characters,
and when they die, it matters (particularly young Ricardo
Montalban, who is from L.A. and has never seen snow
and ends up freezing to death--nice irony). Or watch
"From Here to Eternity" (or better yet, read
the book), which has great characters. That's what you
need to focus on. Good luck.
thought I'd write a positive post to balance out the
negative bollocks that gets written here. Anyone who
dogs Josh Becker with insulting comments clearly has
nothing better to do with their time, and consequently
will NOT grow up to be the famous directors/actors they
think they will be. If you think you're gonna be the
next Kubrick or Olivier, you have to get off you're
arse and do it, not spend time ripping on people who
you think you're better than. Until you can prove him
wrong he's a better filmmaker than all of you. Most
people here haven't even made a film, so you lot don't
even qualify as bad or even terrible movie makers!!
Its very easy to believe you're the best thing since
sliced bread, its another thing to actually prove it.
Oh, and hasn't Josh demonstrated numerous times that
he couldn't give a good fuck about childish criticisms?
He's not gonna quit because some teen who thinks he's
Tarantino says "you suck".
Anyway man, keep up the good work. This is the most
stimulating film site on the net, and its like a well
kept secret. I've learned more about the dynamics of
art here, than in any class or book.
Cheers muchly for your time,
guess it's OK getting ripped when I am consistantly
so well defended. Speaking of Laurence Olivier, I think
he put it very succinctly when he said, "You think
you're an artist? Prove it." Meanwhile, I saw two
good films last night (after laboring through "Band
of Brothers"): "Dark Days," a documentary
made by Marc Singer (not the actor, a young British
fellow) about people living in an old Amtrak tunnel
in NY. It's really well-made and very effective. Cool
photography, too, in 16mm black and white. I also the
newly restored 1919 documentary "South: Shackleton
and the Endurance Expedition," about the ill-fated
Antarctica expedition of 1914. This is the actual footage
shot at the time. The ship gets stuck in pack ice and
is crushed, which you get to see, then it takes these
poor guys two years to get home, and they all make it.
Very cool stuff.
Cynthia E. Jones
to see that you've been getting so many posts from assholes
lately. I guess all the film students are back from
their parentally financed vacations in Europe and they're
feeling a little uninspired. In my experience, people
aren't insulting unless they're insecure.
I watched "Hush...Hush...Sweet Charlotte,"
last night and loved seeing Olivia deHavilland as I
knew she always should be -- pure evil. She always seemed
like such a damn goody two shoes to me in every other
film. And Bette Davis rocked, as always.
also had the interesting experience of renting "Helter
Skelter," which just reminded me an awful lot of
"TSNK...E," my copy of which I left in California.
Ah, well. They'd make a great double bill.
always wondered...why do you have to be any more or
less polite than anyone else out there? You're you.
If "Bryan Singer" (yeah, right) or anyone
else thinks you're 'letting down' your fans, uh, well,
then I guess they have a hard lesson to learn about
celebrities vs. 'real' human beings: they're the same
thing. Hm. I don't think it's a letdown when you have
you're own opinion, I think it's refreshing. Possibly
revolutionary. Keep on keepin' on.
be mean to Olivia DeHavilland, she always reminded me
of my mother. You really must see her in "Captain
Blood" and "The Adventures of Robin Hood,"
she's certainly not pure evil in either of those films.
I do want to smack her lights out as Melanie in "Gone
With the Wind," but so does everybody (particularly
Scarlett, who refers to her as "mealy-mouthed").
For me, though, "Hush, Hush . . ." is a somewhat
half-assed follow-up to "Whatever Happened to Baby
Jane?" which has always tickled the crap out of
me. I love when Joan Crawford says to Davis, "You
wouldn't treat me this way if I wasn't in a wheelchair,"
and Bette replies, "But you ARE in a wheelchair,
Blanche. You ARE."
listen to those bastards Josh. Anyone who sends anonymous
hate mail is guaranteed to be some total douche bag.
Probably a disgruntled Xena weirdo again.
didn't sound like a disgruntled Xena weirdo, did it?
been a biker for more years then I care to think of.I
have a true story entitled "The Tequila Sheila
Story".It won an ebook of the month back in April,2001.
If you enter in Yahoo search - the title of the story
or my name you will see a good deal of what I`m talking
have been told by many of it`s readers that they think
it would make a great movie.I thought you might be able
to help me in this matter.
would love to hear back from you,and any input you might
have.Hell who knows maybe if you like it we could become
partners? A script writer I`m not..!
the subject interests me or I wouldn't have written
my script "Cycles," which you might enjoy
reading. But I only want to write my scripts and make
my movies. And I sure don't want anymore partners. Thanks
for the offer and I wish all the very best luck with
Dear Josh and Fan X,
of all, I, and others who visit this site and take in
(most of) Josh's insight, are no longer Average Joes.
We're trying to understand why good films are good and
bad films are bad. If you notice the posts on there,
I enjoyed the films enough to sit through them, but
I still understand the points that could have been improved.
Of course, I would like to get a consensus on things.
Second of all, someone asked for it and it didn't seem
like it was going to happen anytime soon, which is fine.
Personally, I don't think that examining the good is
sufficient. Especially if we have multitudes of good
examples of bad films, there is a lot to be learned.
I'm not expecting the typical critical opinions. Josh
talks about theme, characterization, structure, consistency,
length -- these are all things that we can extrapolate
on based on his writing and opinion.
this wrong, Josh? You don't have the time or desire
to be an active filmgoer, but I, and others, still do.
Isn't there something to be gained by picking apart
bad movies? Wondering why the theme wasn't clear, why
the dialogue was bad? If you build a car and it doesn't
drive, wouldn't it be to your benefit to examine it
rather than try and mimic a Mercedes?
a word about anonymity, sure it may be prudent on the
Internet, but it is frustrating to speak to someone
named Fan X, unless it's his or her birthname. I don't
know; stranger things have happened. I once knew a guy
named Spiro Spyrou.
think the more discussion about these topics the better.
It's not like I haven't see my share of crappy movies,
I just won't go out of my way to the theater and see
them anymore. I personally believe that there is a lot
more to be learned from good examples than bad ones,
but, as they say, you've got to take the bad with the
good. I truly think you'll get a whole lot more from
watching "From Here to Eternity" than watching
"Pearl Harbor." Watching intelligent people
tell a story well, with terrific characters and great
actors, is, I believe, much more edifying than watching
idiots tell a story with bad characters poorly. Speaking
of WW2 films, I watched the first 2-hour episode of
"Band of Brothers" last night and there isn't
a decent or interesting character in the whole band.
I still think we're better off with "The Longest
Day," where you can at least tell the people apart
because they're all big stars. These nobody actors with
dirt smeared all over their faces all seem like the
same person. For the story of a platoon of soldiers
during WW2, I'll still take "Battleground."
don't care for Army Of Darkness, eh? Well maybe I don't
care for you! Just kidding.
know this isn't really fair to be asking YOU...but,
I noticed that Taxi Driver was on your favorite films
list (AND IT SHOULD BE ON EVERYBODY'S) and I had a question.
Why wasn't Bickle arrested for killing all those junkies
and pimps? I know he got celebrity status for saving
a little girl from a horrible life but...
I like all this Stooge talk of late! I just saw Indian
Summer. A little too mushy for me. Camp was never that
fun. Sam was a hoot! Tamakwa looks beautiful!
He got onesies...you gave him twosies!
Moe: Here's fivesies...(SLAP!)
"Taxi Driver" you see the various articles
about what happened to Travis tapes to his wall. Clearly,
he got off because he saved Jodie Foster from evil bad
guys. Of course, they don't know that if he had his
druthers he'd have shot the senator earlier. This is
called irony, a very sparse commodity in American movies.
That last shot of Travis looking into the rear-view
mirror is scary without specifically saying anything--I
love it. To continue the Stooges discussion, I think
their late shorts from the 1950s with Joe Besser are
underrated. I particularly like when the go to Sunev
(which is Venus backward), which has a very young Dan
Blocker as the monster.
up with all the fan fiction people coming here to talk
about how they are not really as pathetic as they seem?
If you want to write your little jerk off stories then
go ahead, but don't expect anyone else to give a crap.
thought those folks all went away when the show went
you think you'll ever become a respected director that
more than three people (people you grew up with in Michigan
, by the way) know? All of your friends have made it
except you, and you just drag behind holding on to their
successes with clenched fists. What gives? You sound
like a total schmuck. Filmmaking is more than just squealing
about how injust the system is, or how bad the films
have been for the past twenty-some years. (Strange,
nearly the same length of time as your illustrious film
career.) Kinda sounds like an excuse for not making
it, doesn't it? If I put down all the movies during
the time I've been strugling to make it, then it doesn't
reflect on my talents as a director, does it? Interesting
Psychology. Your problem is you bitch too much. You
sound like the old man who sits back after his life
is almost over and says, "I coulda' been, if only..."
You know by now that filmmaking is more that just putting
a frigen lens to your one good eye. You have to get
financing, make deals, schmooze a little, schmooze a
lot, etc. Practically sell yourself and your vision.
You act like a guy who starts a business and then says,
"But I don't want to sell, I'm not good at selling."
What the f%@#$! You are no Ford, Wyler, Hitchcock, or
Huston and you know it. You would probably make a great
film historian though. You should've taken the teaching
knew just how to brighten my day, didn't you? Well,
I certainly don't have to defend myself to you, whoever
you may be.
someone put all their money into a movie, then ended
up needing to file for bankruptcy, would the bank sieze
the film and try to sell it, or would that person get
to keep it?
could, but they probably wouldn't since they don't know
how to sell any better than you or I. If that was a
viable way to get a film sold, I'd have done it with
my last one. Also, the film doesn't belong to just me,
it belongs to the partnership and the partners, or investors.
It's the partnership that would have to declare bankruptcy.
As an individual, it's not my asset or liability, depending
on how you look at it.