Q & A    Archive
Page 47

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

Dear Josh,

Your 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.

Do 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?

Thanks.
Ben

Dear Ben:

I 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.

Josh

Name: Mary
E-mail:

Josh:

Are 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.

Best,
Mary

Dear Mary:

I 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.

Josh

Name: Ray-The Screenwriter
E-mail: ray3259@excite.com

Dear Josh:

Hey 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.

Yesterday, 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:

1) 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.

2) Abbott & Costello Collection. I don't know if you ever gotten into them. But most of their films are just fun to watch.

I also took a look at your favorite films of all time and the majority of them, I love.

I 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!

Dear Ray:

Yeah, 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.

Josh

Name: Diana Hawkes
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 one.

High Plains Drifter--"highly unsatisfying?" Pale Rider--you couldn't stand?

Granted, 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.

Pale 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...

I loved both films' characters' dialogue and thought all the acting (of the main players) was stellar.

I 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?

Dear Diana:

If 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.

Josh

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

Hey Josh,

Since 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?

Also, 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 all that)

Finally, 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 of thing.

Thanks,
David

Dear David:

Screenwriters 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.

Now, 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.

Josh

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

Dear Josh:

Ok, 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!!

Dear Bryan(?):

You didn't answer my question. Where did you meet Ted Raimi? If you can't answer the question, please stop coming here.

Josh

Name: Noelle
E-mail:

Dear Josh,

Sounds 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.

I 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.

Dear Noelle:

As 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 work.

Josh

Name: Ron Bass
E-mail: ronb@aol.com

Josh,

What are your favorite patriotic films and why?

Dear Ron Bass:

Are 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.

Josh

Name: fan x
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

Very funny. Don't even start comparing me to that Bryan Singer/ares loser. The fake one I mean. I know nothing of the real one.

Marty was a good film dammit. It was certainly Bornign's (sp?) best performance.

Dear Fan X:

Just 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 warmly.

Josh

Name: Jonathan Kenworthy
E-mail: kenny.plisskin69@virgin.net

Dear Josh

Hi 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

yours Jonathan

Dear Jonathan:

Are 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.

Josh

Name: Caroline
E-mail: clt19@hotmail.com

Dear

Josh, I was wondering if you heard any news regarding the birth of Renee's child? I heard something about it being born already.

Thank you for your time, Caroline T.

Dear Caroline:

I haven't heard anything, but I'll ask.

Josh

Name: Will Armstrong
E-mail: andykaufman@home.com

Hey Josh,

The 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.

Josh, 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.

All the best to my friends in the states. God Bless America.

Dear Will:

Bernard 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.

Josh

Name: Keith
E-mail: keith34554@aol.com

Dear Josh:

Do 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?

Dear Keith:

Radio 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.

Josh

Name: Fan X
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

Actually 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.

Dear Fan X:

Sorry, I didn't mean to be snotty. All right, I guess I did. You're not Bryan Singer by any chance, are you?

Josh

Name: Maria
E-mail: Maria_Alley@hotmail.com

Dear Josh:

Hello, 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.

Dear Maria:

Sure, what would you like to know?

Josh

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

Josh,

I 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.

Now, movie question:
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.

No damned way Fan X is Bryan Singer.

Blake

Dear Blake:

Here's 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.

Josh

Name: Alana
E-mail: Realshemp@aol.com

Dear Josh:

Did 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? Thankss.

Dear Alana:

I've 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."

Josh

Name: Fan X
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

"Demosthenes" and "Locke" are the online pseudonyms that Valentine and Peter use in Ender's Game. Sorry that was a totally esoteric reference.

My 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.

Dear Fan X:

So you really didn't know what you were talking about. Do you know who Demosthenes and Locke were? Do you understand my references?

Josh

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

Dear Josh,

Ooh! "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.

One of these days, I've got to get organizized.

cindy

Dear Cindy:

I 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 . . ."

Josh

Name: Joel Moser
E-mail: jmoser@moserbrothers.com

Josh,

I absolutely agree with your thoughts on writing and directing. Your essays echo feelings I've been expressing about the current state of the industry.

My brother and I have just directed a 35mm short. Would you be interested in taking a look at it and lending us some advice?

Dear Joel:

I congratulate you on making a film, but I do my best to stay away from critiquing scripts or films. Good luck.

Josh

Name: Noelle
E-mail:

Dear Josh,

I, like everyone else, am pretty shaken up. I hope you can assure us that your friends and colleagues are all well.

Noelle

Dear Noelle:

My 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 to her.

Josh

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

Hi Josh,

Listen 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!
See ya,
Tom

Dear Bryan nee Tom:

Most 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.

Josh

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

Dear Josh,

I'm 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.

Everyone keep the victims in your thoughts and hope they don't make a cheesy TV movie out of it.

Ben

Dear Ben:

Different 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).

Regarding the horrible events of Sept. 11, I don't even want to discuss them here. I'm very disturbed.

Josh

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

Dear Josh,

Yes, 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 Spielberg.

On 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?"

On 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.

Guess I need to ask a question here - so what's the latest on "Hammer" - any anticipated release dates, or smaller film festival showings?

Thanks,

August

PS - 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."

Dear August:

Olivia 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."

Josh

Name: dustin
E-mail: dustglas@hotmail.com

josh,

that 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

Dear Dustin:

Oh, 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.

Josh

Name: Julie
E-mail: juliejhnsn7@aol.com

Hey how are you Josh?

I 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.

Now 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.

Has the ratings board loosened up its tie lately or does blood just make that much of a difference?

Dear Julie:

In 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.

Josh

Name: Roland T. Flakfizer
E-mail: roland@gullible.com

Dear Josh,

Dumb question I know, but time for some Wishful Thinking.

If you could film any one of your scripts (for that matter, any script at all) tomorrow, which one would you shoot with which cast?

Cheers,

Roland

Dear Roland:

It would be "Devil Dogs: The battle of Belleau Wood" and it would star Harvey Keitel as Sgt. Dan Daly.

Josh

Name: Will Armstrong
E-mail: andykaufman@home.com

Dear Josh:

I 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 myself.

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.

"You're only as healthy as you feel."

Dear Will:

I 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.

Josh

Name: Fan X
E-mail:

Hey Josh,

Just doing my part to add to the ongoing tension. heh heh.

So 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.

And 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 fanx2001@aol.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.

Dear Fan X:

I 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?

Josh

Name: Ray-The Screenwriter
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

Damn, you are going to hate me for this...

I 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 here again.

Okay, 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 way. Haha.

What I am asking is:

What do you find unique about most WWII films? What do you think can be new and interesting?

I 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.

Damn, you're annoyed by now -- anyway, if you can get back to me anyway, its decent.

Ray Rantuccio

Dear Ray:

I'm 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.

Josh

Name: Dan Cork
E-mail: dannycork@hotmail.com

Josh,

Just 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,
Danny Cork.

Dear Danny:

I 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.

Josh

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

Dear Josh,

Sorry 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.

So...anyway... 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.

I 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.

I've 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.

cindy

Dear Cindy:

Don't 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."

Josh

Name:
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

Don't 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.

Dear ___:

It didn't sound like a disgruntled Xena weirdo, did it?

Josh

Name: Bumper Smith
E-mail: bumper@internetni.com

Josh,

I`ve 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 about.

I 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.

I 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..!

Very Sincere,
Bumper Smith

Dear Bumper:

Obviously, 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 it.

Josh

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

Dear Josh and Fan X,

First 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.

Is 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?

And 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.

Ben

Dear Ben:

I 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."

Josh

Name: Will Armstrong
E-mail: andykaufman@home.com

Dear Josh:

You don't care for Army Of Darkness, eh? Well maybe I don't care for you! Just kidding.

I 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!

Larry: He got onesies...you gave him twosies!
Moe: Here's fivesies...(SLAP!)

Dear Will:

In "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.

Josh

Name: Daniel
E-mail: skoochpooch@aol.com

Dear Josh:

What's 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.

Dear Daniel:

I thought those folks all went away when the show went away.

Josh

Name: Catcher Rye
E-mail: catchthis@nospam.com

Josh,

Do 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 job. Schmuck.

Dear Catcher Rye:

You 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.

Josh

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

Hey Josh,

If 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?

Thanks, David

Dear David:

They 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.

Josh


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