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Q & A    Archive
Page 67

Name: Diana Hawkes
E-mail: sdhawkes@penn.com

Dear Josh:

Oh, that troubles me- reading that you are looking to be "less unhappy" rather than happy. I always love your cynical take on things, but that was downright gloomy. Do you accept corny cyber-hugs from strangers? {{{Josh}}}

I wanted to give anyone interested here a heads up that the Turner Classic Movie channel tomorrow evening will have a documentary about the work of Woody Allen. He participated in it, and the clips I caught indeed have him giving his opinion of his career. So there might be something touched on there that would hold something relevant for this Movie Geek Salon. So that's Saturday at 8 p.m. EST.

Josh, there are a couple of cute photos released of Renee and Lucy posing with Kevin atop the "road hog" on the set of Soul Poss.
To see them, CLICK HERE.

Isn't it bittersweet to see? I wondered, first, if you were around when these were taken and is there a fun story there?
And also, I'd been assuming that second unit filmed a double on the motorcycle for the outdoor "cruising the streets" scene. And even the indoor one- where he busts in to the meeting. So that only when Ares takes off his helmet is it truly Kevin. So, did Kevin really drive it at some point? Or are they all just posing during some down time outside?

Dear Diana:

Thanks for the cyber-hug. Yes, it was bittersweet seeing those pictures and Kevin looking so happy. That was out in the parking lot while we were shooting, and I wasn't there when the pictures were taken, I was inside working. You are correct in that it's not Kevin riding the motorcycle in the cruising scenes, not coming through the door, it's only him when he takes off the helmet. He did ride the bike the last few feet, and he was riding it around the parking lot. Kevin was one of those people that had no problem doing anything. If you asked him to ride a motorcycle, no problem; if you wanted him to ride a horse, fine; do comedy, great; drama, you got it. Meanwhile, I so don't care about Woody Allen anymore. I personally thought his career slid into the crapper by the end of the 80s. Now I don't even want to look at him. I did enjoy Barbara Kopple's documentary about him, "Wild Man Blues."

Josh

Name: joshua s. m. williams
E-mail: ingame149@hotmail.com

Dear Josh:

I have one question for you. I was wondering when you were going to post anymore reviews of recent films you saw? because i love reading your reviews. you trash movies like no other person i know and well i just like reading your reviews. you don't seem to water down your standards or seem influenced by other outside sources (such as movie critics and hollywood).

thank you for reading this,

joshua

Dear Joshua:

Thanks. perhaps I will soon, now that I've completed the first draft of my book and am presently at liberty. It just seems like the same thing is wrong with all these films -- the scripts -- and I think it gets tiresome repeating it. I just saw "The Anniversary Party," and, once again, they just don't have a script. It's okay for a while, but then people get up and start singing songs, and reciting poems, and it all just goes to hell. By the end when it reverts to melodrama and everyone's crying for no good reason, it's really become a miserable picture.


Josh

Name: John
E-mail: Chowkidar@aol.com

Dear Josh,

I wanted to revisit the science fiction question for a moment. As I've thought of it I've considered that, perhaps, science fiction is no longer a genre which is suited for movie format. I mean here "science fiction" as opposed to "science fantasy". As you and others have mentioned, special effects cannot carry a movie. In decades past, however, reaction to special effects might. We've now largely seen all of the monsters and death rays. Making them look better doesn't change them. Generally, science fiction is either a shocking or clever idea. These ideas may inherently be such that they can be conveyed in an hour but are over-stretched if taken to 90 minutes. The repercussions of such an idea might best be unravelled over several episodes. That could explain why most television science fiction doesn't translate well to the large screen. And why we don't get real science fiction, only science fantasy, in movies these days. Science fantasy, after all, is a western or sword-and-sandal set in space and more amenable to a ninety minute format. What do you think? Thanks.

John

Dear John:

I don't think the length has anything to do with anything. Most sci-fi novels seem like the perfect length for feature films, at 150-200 pages. It's simply that Hollywood films are made for twelve-year-olds, and the executives in Hollywood think all twelve-year-olds are brain-dead and any ideas may scare them away.

Josh

Name: Alex
E-mail: movies4life2001@yahoo.com

Dear Josh,

Wow, its been awhile since I posted here. Anyway, Josh, how is it going? Recently, I watched "TSNKE". Man, that movie always seems to impress me. It is just too bad there really aren't that many films like that.

Finally, onto my question. With all of these stories, screenplays, and all, it makes me wonder: have you ever took a stab at writing a novel?

Dear Alex:

Yes I did, twenty years ago. It was the story of the first guy sent to a concentration camp in 1933, who ends up killing Heinrich Himmler in 1945, and was called "Mann's Revenge." It was very poorly written. That's what I was doing while my buddies were making the film "Crimewave."

Josh

Name: Stryker
E-mail: :)

Dear Josh,

What was your short film Long Walk about?

Dear Stryker:

Ah, my one unfinished short film. It was a gangster story about a guy who is sent to the electric chair. It was all pretty cheesy, with badly constructed sets, crappy costumes, and terrible photography.

Josh

Name: Ward
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

I know you like bridge on the river kwai and lawrence of arabia, but are there any other david lean films you think are great?
thanks, ward

Dear Ward:

There are quite a few of Lean's films I respect a lot, like "Hobson's Choice," "Great Expectations," "Oliver Twist," "Brief Encounter," but I don't love them like "Kwai" and "Lawrence."

Josh

Name: Ed
E-mail: ednewman5@hotmail.com

Dear Josh,

I saw your film " Running Time " the other day and enjoyed it very much.

My question: What was the most difficult aspect of making the movie?

Ed

Dear Ed:

Writing the script.

Josh

Name: Darryl Mesaros
E-mail: simonferrer@hotmail.com

Dear Josh,

Have you or anyone at Renaissance Pictures considered marketing your old Super-8 films on video? It would be interesting, for instance, to see STRYKER'S WAR included on a DVD edition of THOU SHALT NOT KILL...EXCEPT. Your description of those films here, and Bruce Campbell's in his book both make them sound interesting. I'm sure that there are enough fans out there to make them marketable.

Yours truly,
Darryl Mesaros

Dear Darryl:

I guess this is a question I'll just have to keep answering every six months. All the old super-8 films are covered with stolen music and no one wants to deal with clearing the rights, that's why they're not for sale.

Josh

Name: Stryker
E-mail: :)

Dear Josh,

Who are your favorite boxers? Mine are Muhammad Ali and Sugar Ray Leonard

P.S.

I think that Humans In Chains would make a great original sci-fi movie, if I was a producer I would have bought it.

Dear Stryker:

Too bad you're not a producer. I don't think you can be a boxing fan and not like Muhammad Ali, he was so colorful and so smart (he's still alive, but his career is in the past-tense). Sugar Ray Leonard was a terrific boxer. There were many from that period, Tommy Hearns, Joe Frazier, George Foreman (I really like Big George), Roberto Duran, on and on. Right now, though, which is also a good phase of boxing -- and I don't want to turn this website into a boxing site -- I'm impressed with a lot of boxers, like Kostya Tsyzu, Lennox Lewis, Roy Jones, jr., Mike Tyson, David Tua (who just made a good comeback), Jameel McLine, Marco Antonio Barrera, on and on. What I like about boxing is that it's so dramatic and so raw. There's no other sport where you have to pay as much attention to what you're doing. Lose your focus for a split-second and you're knocked out. As has been said, you play football, baseball, basketball, and hockey, you don't play boxing. It's not a game.

Josh

Name: Court
E-mail:

Hey Josh,

I was looking at your list, and was wondering why Evil Dead wasnt on it. Is there a reason? or did you forget?
Thanks

Dear Court:

I didn't forget anything, it's just not one of my favorite movies.

Josh

Name: Jason McNeal
E-mail: clownhater@earthlink.net

Hiya Josh,

Hope things are well. I just saw Lewis Milestone's version of The Front Page from 1931 and I was amazed a the friggin' camera work! It was so crazy and, dare I say, "advanced" for the day! The opening shot is amazing. It is very unusual to see so much camera movement and odd angles in a film from so early in the days of sound. Camera work that is actually intended to accompany the action and the story. It reminded me a little of the camera work in Running Time. If you haven't seen it, it's worth a look for that reason as well as an interesting comparison to Hawks' His Girl Friday. Oh yeah, and it's got Edward Everett Horton in it too.

Over and Out,
Jason McNeal

P.S. I enjoyed your comments in Bruce's book.

Dear Jason:

Yes, it's very well done for 1930, although I must say that Adolph Menjou and Pat O'Brien aren't very good casting for the parts. They both have poles up their butts. I'm not crazy about the play, either. At least in "His Girl Friday" Cary Grant is funny. For another film at the same time that also has interesting camera work, but is a much better film, is Howard Hawks' "Scarface." I love Boris Karloff's death scene.

Josh

Name: Darryl Mesaros
E-mail: simonferrer@hotmail.com

Dear Josh,

Thank you for your answer to my question. Now that you mention it, Michael Elphick is familiar (I probably wasn't paying sufficient attention to the credits to link up the actor with the character).
What is your opinion of Vincent Price? (there's a non-sequitir for you)...What do you suppose his best role was? He himself stated that LAURA was the best film that he worked in, although I don't think that he had much of a role (however, he DID have his native Missouri accent), and that his favorite role was Oscar Wilde in DIVERSIONS AND DELIGHTS (which he played on the stage several times, but never filmed). Personally, I thought his best dramatic role was Inspector Dutour in THE SONG OF BERNADETTE, where he plays the lifelong cynic who must finally bow before the weight of the Lourdes miracle. His role that was the most fun to watch, however, is a toss-up between Dr. Anton Phibes in THE ABOMINABLE DR. PHIBES, and Edward Lionheart in THEATRE OF BLOOD (if you haven't seen the latter, you should definitely check it out - Vincent Price wearing an Afro wig is hysterical). What is your opinion?

Yours truly,
Darryl Mesaros

Dear Darryl:

I just answered this question for someone else. Yes, I like Vincent Price, but, as I said, I liked him best as a character actor in the 1940s. I particularly enjoyed his performances in "His Kind of Woman" with Robert Mitchum, and "Champagne for Caesar," with Ronald Coleman. I like "Theater of Blood," it's a bright, silly horror film, as are the "Dr. Phibes" films.

Josh

Name: Matt
E-mail:

Hi Josh,

Would it be possible to play a game with you? I think it would be pretty cool to throw a couple of log lines out there to see if you could guess the title of the film. Just something to pass the time--you game? Maybe you could toss a few to see if we filmafiles could guess the titles as well.

Matt

Dear Matt:

With all due respect, I don't feel like it. I'm not much of a game-player, and never have been.

Josh

Name: Michael
E-mail:

Dear Josh,

What are you going to be working on next? I really can't wait to see "If I Had A Hammer" or anything else you have lined up. I feel "Dark of the Night", "Battle of Belleau Wood" and "The Biological Clock" would make excellent, worthwhile films. I really love the scripts to them and I enjoyed reading them. What did you think of them? Do you think you'd make them into feature films in the near future? Wow, I would LOVE to seem one of them made.

Dear Michael:

It's not that I don't want to make them, it's that I haven't got any financing. Getting the financing for a film is one of the most difficult jobs on the planet. It has nothing to do with my desire to make the films. Hell, I wouldn't have written the scripts if I didn't want to make them.

Josh

Name: Stewart Wright
E-mail: Dear Josh

Dear Josh,

Since you are a fan of boxing and movies, did you ever thought it would be a particularly good idea to make your own boxing movie? Did you ever once have the desire to write your own boxing script?

Dear Stewart:

Yes, many times, but I won't bother until I have an original idea. There are some boxing scenes in my script "Teddy Roosevelt in the Bad Lands."

Josh

Name: John
E-mail: basebalzac@hotmail.com

Dear Josh --

A freind of mine recently described to me a great shot -- an extreme close-up -- from "One Eyed Jacks": Brando's chewing on a toothpick, his face fills the frame as he slowly moves the toothpick from one side of his mouth to the other. So, I just watched "One Eyed Jacks" and the shot isn't in the film. He remembered wrong, or rather, he invented a shot and inserted it into his memory of the movie. My question to you is this: do you have any favorite shots from any of the films that you've seen, shots that make exceptional use of the extreme close-up?

Dear John:

The toothpick scene you're referring to is in "Bonnie and Clyde," and Beatty flicks his nose with it when he first shows Dunaway his pistol. Of course, "The Passion of Joan of Arc" is famous for its tight close-ups. I thought that Sergio Leone made interesting use of extreme close-ups, particularly in "Once Upon a Time in the West." The extreme close-ups of Anthony Perkins' eye looking through the hole in the wall in "Psycho" were well-used.

Josh

Name: Tania
E-mail: taniahossin@hotmail.com

Dear Josh:

Can you list ten characters that are used in the movie Gladiator. Their name and what was their job is the movie.Please tell me.

Dear Tania:

Characters and their jobs? What the hell are you talking about?

Josh

Name: Dani Isanna
E-mail: dont have one.

dear Josh:

You have to see "Bound", "187", and "Tape". Those are three amazing films that always seem to surprise me. Have you seen them already, heard anything about them? If you have not seem them already, you should really consider it. They are three very well written screenplays. They also are nicely paced and solidly directed.

one more thing: I read that you are a Kurasawa fan. How come you never mentioned "Rashamon"? You no think its good?

Dear Dani:

I haven't seen any of them, but they're all now I my Netflix list. Yes, I am a Kurosawa fan, and no, I don't really like "Rashomon." It's a brilliant concept, but the film itself has always bored me. I'll actually admit that I liked the American remake, "The Outrage," with Paul Newman and Edward G. Robinson a lot better.

Josh

Name: Stewart Wright
E-mail: Dear Josh

Dear Josh,

What TV shows do you actively tune into? Are there any? If there are, what do you think about my four favorite TV shows:

"24"
"Boston Public"
"The Practice"
"The Shield"

"24" has to be THE most original, suspenseful and entertaining television show out there and I can tell you, the acting is superb. For "The Shield", I am not sure if you have heard of it. It is about dirty cops and why they are corrupt. This is another exciting show that I like. Not only is it gritty and shocking, it is far better than "NYPD Blue" will ever be, in my opinion.

Dear Stewart:

I'm glad you enjoy them, but I don't give have slightest interest in any of them. The only show I watch, for whatever reasons, is "Sex in the City." Otherwise, that's it. I just watch movies, and boxing.

Josh

Name: Drake Gordon
E-mail: wannabedrecker3@yahoo.com

Dear Josh Becker,

If you don't mind, I have a few questions for you.

For one, how is the "Warpath" screenplay coming along? Is there any more screenplays you are willing to put on this excellent website? See any new movies that you can hopefully insult?

Hope I didn't annoy you,
Drake Gordon

Dear Drake:

You don't annoy me in the slightest. The "Warpath" script stalled out somewhere down the road, and is no longer on the front burner. As for new movies to insult, I just saw a doozy -- "A.I. Artificial Intelligence." It was three different movies all stuck together, none of which was particularly good. The first is the Brian Aldiss story, the second is the Kubrick spin on Aldiss's story by way of Spielberg's dull neverending obsession with "Pinocchio," then the third part is just plain knuckleheaded bad writing at it's worst, with robot aliens 2000 years in the future. I also saw "3:00 A.M." with Danny Glover, which was just barely okay. Two days later I can hardly remember it.

Josh

Name: Tom Stian Harestad
E-mail: tomstian78@hotmail.com

Dear Josh:

Hi! The fantastic series of "Jack of all trades" are being sent on Norwegian television these days... Do you know if this series is being released at DVD or VHS sometime? Thanks in advance!

Regards, Tom Stian Harestad

Dear Tom:

Not that I know of. I'd like to see them on DVD.

Josh

Name: Kevin Kindel
E-mail: kindel@mail.mc.maricopa.edu

Josh,

If you don't mind I would like to respond to Kevin Mills' inquiry.

Kevin,
What if the main characters do not know that they are going to a haunted house / murder site. Maybe, under false pretenses they are being led there by a sinister person with ulterior motives. You come up with the motives. Point being that for a believable reason they are going there. Ignorance is a good excuse for a lot of things, especially for going to a murder site. This will also lend your story a rightful and fitting villain and an obvious conflict for the protaganist to overcome. Good luck, hope this helps.
Kevin...

Dear Kevin:

There's another possibility, from one Kevin to another.

Josh

Name: Noelle
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

Hi. Could you clear up something up for me? According to imdb.com (the epitome of accuracy *yeah right*) David M. Goodman produced Lunatics. But they also list a David H. Goodman as having worked on Evil Dead and all the other Renaissance stuff. So who is the real David Goodman? And is the David Goodman in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer crew credits the David we know and love or another guy? Just wonderin'

From Noelle

Dear Noelle:

David M. Goodman was co-producer of "Lunatics," and worked on many other Renaissance Pictures films. I don't think he worked on "Buffy."

Josh

Name: Matt
E-mail: vegasstiles@hotmail.com

Dear Josh:

What do you think of the old Heston pic "The Omega Man"? I haven't seen it since i was a kid and wondered if a film buff like yourself thought it was worth my time searching it out.

Best,
Matt

Dear Matt:

I liked it, although it's not one of my favorites or anything. It's a remake of the 1964 film "The Last Man on Earth," based on Richard Matheson's novel. I am forever hearing that it's being remade again, under it's original title of "I Am Legend."

Josh

Name: Johnny
E-mail:

Josh,

If you were to make a low-budget horror film, what subject would interest you most? The films I have found most frightening were not actual horror films, but frightening just the same. Some of my favorites are: Lord of the Flies, Deliverance, The Bad Seed, To Kill a Mockingbird, Cool Hand Luke, and In Cold Blood.

Cheers,
Johnny

Dear Johnny:

It's an interesting list, but I don't see what it has to do with low-budget horror films. I'm not even sure what you're asking.

Josh

Name: rocko
E-mail: rocko72@hotmail.com

Josh,

What do you think about an immersion filmmaking program like New York University has? They have 8 week, 3 month, and 2 year programs where you write, direct, and edit several pieces throughout. You also assist other students with their projects. Do you think such a program could be valuable for a young
director? Moreso than perhaps an actual film study program where you spend a lot of time studying theory?

Best,
Rocko

Dear Rocko:

It couldn't hurt. Regarding theory or production, I don't think it's really an issue of one or the other, I think you need both. Just working on productions will not get you to understand what makes a good film, which is mainly theoretical and about writing and seeing other films. Nevertheless, any experience is good experience.

Josh

Name: Kevin Mills
E-mail: thespythatshagsu@rogers.com

Joshua:

I'm stuck...

I'm writing a haunted house script and I'm incredibly stuck.

It's a story involving themes brought up in Alan Moore's From Hell and Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five (according to my friend...I have yet to read Vonnegut). It's got themes of WWI and realistic mental illness (my mom's friend had a breakdown and I'm using alot of what she's gone through).....but I have one problem...

WHY THE HELL WOULD THIS GROUP OF PEOPLE GO TO A HAUNTED HOUSE/MURDER SIGHT IN THE FIRST PLACE??????


Sorry...had to vent....

--Kevin Mills

PS: Seriously though, could you think of a reason you would go? I mean you personally?

....It's a question I'm asking alot of people

Dear Kevin:

You could borrow the set-up from the classic British horror film "Dead of Night," where a bunch of people in analysis are having a group analysis session on a weekend at a country estate where the psychologist is meeting with them, or something like that.

Josh

Name: Jim
E-mail: JEaganFilm@aol.com

Josh,

Have you seen any of Maya Deren's work? I've taken several film courses at school and it seems like I can't get away from this lady's films. College professors just seem to be in love with Meshes in the Afternoon. I think I've seen it at least 6 times by now, maybe 4 if you count the number of times I was (trying to) pay attention. Is there any value at all to this film? I can appreciate some of the visual choices but its just such a depressing, unsatisfying thing to watch that I find it hard to get anything out of it. The thing the bugs me even more is that this is the type of film the professors want us to make. In other words, we need to make something along the lines of Meshes to get a good grade. I don't know if I can force myself to create such a dull piece of work, even for a course grade. Oh yea, and there are other similar films we have been shown. One was 10 minutes of fireflies flying around in front of a video camera. Another was a video shot of a street intersection with the occasional cut to a pepsi can. I didn't find it surprising that this particular professor found Memento to be the best film made in the past several years.

Jim, zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Dear Jim:

I'm glad someone bothered to make experimental films, but they don't interest me in the slightest. And let's face facts, most teachers are idiots that manage to make their subjects, which are often fascinating in and of themselves, dull and unbearable. I had a film teacher in college that couldn't have made the history of cinema, probably my favorite subject, into a complete bore. I had a history teacher in high school that figured out how to make the entire history of the world into one huge bore. If you get one or two good teachers in your life you've got to be thankful.

Josh

Name: John
E-mail: Chowkidar@aol.com

Josh,

Two related questions; first, what do you think about the various comedy teams of the thirties, forties and fifties? I saw at least one Marx Brothers film in your list of movies you like, and I know that the Super-8 shorts you did owed a lot to the Three Stooges, but how do you feel about Abbott and Costello, Laurel and Hardy, Hope and Crosby, Bush and Quayle (sorry, wrong time period). These teams seem to have been dependent upon the studio system as we no longer have their equivalents. Would you agree?

Second question; I seem to find a lot of the young Bob Hope in many of Bruce Campbell's comedic roles. I know people familiar with Campbell, people familiar with Hope but precious few familiar with both to confirm or refute my thinking. Thoughts? Thanks.

John
PS. My copy of TSNKE just arrived. The wife read the cover and moaned. That's a good sign.

Dear John:

I'm not a big fan of the comedy teams. I liked the individual comics of the 1920s much better, like Lloyd, Keaton, and Chaplin. I do like the Three Stooges, but I never liked Abbott & Costello. The early silent Laurel & Hardy shorts are funny, but I can't sit through their features. Try to watch the Marx Bros. now for me is just painful. I do like Groucho on "You Bet You Life," though. Hope & Crosby have a few funny gags scattered throughout their pictures, but I don't really care. For comedy in the 1940s I'll take Preston Sturges's films. And I don't think Bruce is intentionally doing Bob Hope, if it's there then it's just there.

Josh

Name: Darryl Mesaros
E-mail: simonferrer@hotmail.com

Dear Josh,

I'm completely stumped. I'm trying to find the name of an actor, and I can't seem to find it anywhere, so I was hoping that you might know. I've only seen the actor in two roles, both in British films from the '80s. The first is David Lynch's THE ELEPHANT MAN, where he plays the hospital nightwatchman who shows off the Elephant Man to his friends. The other is THE KRAYS, the bio-pic about the two brutal British gangsters (and twin brothers) Ronald and Reginald Kray. In that film, this actor plays a prisoner in the stockade (shortly after the twins are drafted, and proceed to beat up their drill sergeant on the first day), who tells the boys about their criminal potential (it's a very short but pivotal scene). I can't tell from the credits of either film who this actor is. Any ideas?

Yours truly,
Darryl Mesaros

Dear Darryl:

I believe his name is Michael Elphick.

Josh

Name: Stuart
E-mail: StuHBK@aol.com

Dear Josh

I'm 20 years old and seriously interested in screenwriting and directing the problem is where does a guy like me go from here? I've apllied to university degree courses, I have been accepted for two. The first is Film and tv studies which consists of learning the history of film and critical analysis and it seriously lacks practical work. the other is a degree programme in time based new media, which is heavliy practical and consists of many different forms of media and doesn't really focus on a particular area.
Would you recommend studying a degree to pursue a career in the areas i mentioned or would you look at alternative ways of going. I don't know what to do!!

Many thanx!!
Stu

Dear Stu:

I'd go with the film and TV studies. It certainly can't hurt you to know more about the subject. The most important thing a director has is their sensibilities, what seems good or bad to them based on what they know. If you haven't seen all the great movies, and read the great books, you don't really know what's good, and you'll never be able to get it into your own films until you can recognize and understand it. Every young filmmaker comes into the medium thinking they will reinvent cinema, but none of them do. It's like trying to reinvent the formula for clay, which is unnecessary, just make a better sculpture. Good luck.

Josh

Name: Debbie
E-mail: klangholm@attbi.com

Dear Josh:

Have you heard from Mark Savage recently?

Dear Debbie:

Not in a few months, why?

Josh

Name: Court
E-mail:

Hey Josh,

I am a large fan of yours, and look forward to reading your comments on different films all the time. I recently found a copy of TSNKE... and it has become one of my all time favs. I know you must not like when people ask you this, but would it be possible for me to get your autograph on the TSNKE box? It would mean a lot to me, and i would appreciate it very much. Thanks Josh

Dear Court:

No problem. I'm glad you liked it (I'm glad anyone liked it). Send it to Shirley, the webmaster, and include a stamped, self-addressed envelope.

Josh

 

Hi, Court,

Send it to:
Shirley Robbins LeVasseur
c/o P.O. Box 86
East Vassalboro, ME 04935

Shirley

Name: Stryker
E-mail: :)

Dear Josh,

Have you ever seen the Terry Gilliam film The Adventures Of Baron Munchausen? Along with Brazil, I think it's one of the weirdest films ever.

Dear Stryker:

I'm not Terry Gilliam fan (he's certainly my least favorite Python member). I thought "Baron Munchhausen" was a disaster, and utterly failed in all ways. I think you'd do better filming Eric Idle reading the phone book.

Josh

Name: Deana
E-mail: DeanaLackey@msn.com
Dear Josh: Josh:

First of all, I wanted to thank you for responding to my e-mail comments/questions. It's nice to hear what you have to say as you are definitely in the biz. I am not. I don't know what I want to be in, but, I do know that I like to create, and I'm a director with openness to many perspectives. Anyway, I think Bonnie & Clyde is one of the best films ever made. It's just "filmed" so well, in my opinion. I could go into detail, but I don't want to bore you. In your opinion, what is the (or one of the) best films ever made? (You've probably already answered this question in the past, if you don't mind indulging me. Thanks.)

Dear Deana:

I also like "Bonnie and Clyde" very much. It's a hell of a picture in all departments. I love the use of flashing in the scene near the end when they go back to Texas to visit Bonnie's family, which gives the scene a soft, fantasy quality (flashing, BTW, is pre-exposing the film before shooting it). Burnett Guffey, who shot the film, and won an Oscar for it, had previously won in 1953 for "From Here to Eternity," and was a terrific DP. As for great films, I never seem to get "The Magnificent Ambersons" out of my mind, nor "The Bridge on the River Kwai," for that matter. I also have a tremendous fondness for "The Member of the Wedding."

Josh

Name: Kai.
E-mail: Goldenstar999@aol.com
Dear Josh: I did read your rule and follow yours. I don,t need your money even apeny.I 'm not looking for job.all I know is you are a very good person to give the knowlege as much as you can .I feel so impress and keep your self that way you will never go down.I wish you can save my life and my baby. just pray for me and e-mail back only ; YOU HEAR ME; That all I will ask. godbless you

Kai ...

Dear Kai:

Okay, I'm emailing back. I wish you all the very best.

Josh

Name: GREG JARMON JR
E-mail: EZEHAND@AOL.COM

ARE YOU CURRENTLY MAKE OR PLANNING ON MAKING DEVIL DOGS? THE SCRIPT IS SWEET AND I HOPE YOU CAN GET IT ON THE BIG SCREEN.

Dear Greg:

It doesn't matter what I'm planning, someone else with at least $10 million would have to also be planning to do it, too, and that's not happening. I envision Harvey Keitel for Sgt. Daly, what do you think?

Josh

Name: GREG JARMON
E-mail: FIREHAWKV8@YAHOO.COM

I JUST FINISHED READING THE SCRIPT FOR DEVIL DOGS AND I MUST SAY I LIKE IT. BEING A MARINE MYSELF, I HAVE ALWAYS HOPED TO SEE A MOVIE ABOUT REAL LIFE MARINE CORPS HISTORY. OTHER THAN THE SANDS OF IWO JIMA, THE STORIES I HAVE SEEN ARE QUITE LACKING. YOURS IS EXCELLENT. I HAVE A SUGGESTION, AS THE CREDITS SCROLL DOWN IN THE ENDING, I WAS THINKING THAT INSTEAD OF GOING TO BLACK, YOU SHOW THE MONUMENT AT BELLEAU WOODS AND THE GRAVEYARDS. JUST A SUGGESTION. WELL I HOPE TO SEE THIS SCRIP ON FILM ONE DAY. SEMPER FI.

Dear Greg:

Thanks a lot. If I can get the script past a marine, then I feel like I've accomplished something (I've gotten it past a few other marines, too). That's also a nice idea for the end credits. Maybe over a close shot of the plaque the French put up renaming Belleau Wood to "Bois de la Brigade Marine" (or something like that). Anyway, that's the script of mine I'd like to make more than any other.

Josh

Name: Deana
E-mail: DeanaLackey@msn.com

Josh:

It's me again. You said you were willing to be a "whore" in Hollywood but that nobody accepted your offers. Come to think of it, by pissy friend reminds me of a whore in Hollywood. He's so miserable to. He's so negative and bitter about everything. So, when you touched upon LA as the hell hole on earth, I think that speaks volumes for his unhappiness. He's been there over 10 years and he's miserable, even though he gets 6 digits per script now. Whatever!

Dear Deana:

Money doesn't buy happiness, and Hollywood is proof of it. It's the biggest conglomeration of bitter, unhappy, unfulfilled people on the planet. I have a good friend who worked for Steven Spielberg for ten years and she assures me he's the unhappiest person she's ever met, and the only time he ever smiles is when he knows a photo is being taken of him. Although I don't know that I've actually achieved happiness yet up here in the woods, I have severely decreased my unhappiness. I figure that if I become sufficiently less unhappy, happiness should follow.

Josh

Name: Leonard Avery
E-mail: lenorex1882@excite.com

Dear Josh:

I am stuck in a tough position. I have a perfect story that I want to write as soon as possible, but the only problem is, I need to plan it out and I don't know where to start with the planning.

You see, I need honest help with creating an outline/synopsis. How do I go about writing one? I have never seen one done by an actual writer. Do you think you can help me out? Thanks, man, your help is greatly appreciated.

Dear Leonard:

An outline (which is different than a synopsis) looks just like an outline, although you don't have to bother with letters and numbers, just numbers will do. It looks like this:

Act One:
1.
2.
3.
4.
Etc.
Act Two:
1.
2.
Etc.

A synopsis is a one-paragraph to one-page version of your story. What I really recommend is writing a treatment, which usually runs anywhere from 4 to 20 pages, is written in plain-old prose, and is basically a short story version of your story. A treatment is the easiest place, I think, to just let yourself go. Put in anything and everything you can think of, and keep going all the way to the end. If you can get 10 or 12 pages out of it, you'll be well on your way to knowing your story well enough to write the script. I also highly recommend reading my structure essays. Good luck.

Josh

Name: Roseann Ferrara
E-mail: research8@mindspring.com

Hi,

I am in the process of putting a course together to teach to managers about the subject of teams and teambuilding. I wanted to call the course 'If I Had A Hammer' (because it's based on this song) and wondered what you had to do to call your film by this name ? If I need to see a lawyer to use the name please let me know. The course is not about the song but about the music. Any help you can lend is appreciated!
Thanks in advance!
Roseann

Dear Roseann:

It's different for me since I actually use the song in my film. I don't think it matters at all if you use the name for a course title, and I don't think you have to get permission or contact anybody. As a little point of fact, the song isn't actually called "If I Had a Hammer," it's called "The Hammer Song" and simply came to be known as "If I Had a Hammer."

Josh

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

Josh,

Man! How could you not like "Ghost World"? I still think this is a great movie.

First off, and I don't usually go fo movies about teenagers, I do not think those girls were boring. They are pretty funny, and show a whole variety of emotion. True, they may not be the sharpest tools in the shed, but that doesn't mean they aren't worthy of a film about them. I mean come on, there's a category of people or typs of people that can't have movies made about them? Bullshit. I'll take "Ghost World" over "A Beautiful Mind", or any of the other best picture nominees for that matter, any day of the week.

I really liked watching the lead girl (it's been long enough now that I don't recall any names) start hanging around Buscemi to try and hook him up and then see how she fell for him. I also loved the idea that the girl who Steve met at the airport remembered the "moment" they had, read his ad, and called him.

The picture managed to make me feel good despite being about unpopular people and their problems. However, unlike, "Crumb", the focus was never on the problems. It also refreshed me seeing the picture never turn down a gratuitous road. At the onset, I was convinced there would be a big sex scene or a nasty suicide by the end. Nope.

I have absolutely nothing bad to say about this film.

Have a good one.

Blake

Dear Blake:

It all seemed pretty deeply dull to me, and I nearly bailed-out halfway through. I didn't care at all about either girl, nor about their relationship to each other. I also didn't like Thora Birch's relationship to Steve Buscemi, which seemed creepy and manipulative. The bottom line is that I didn't like the girls, who really seemed morose and bored, and therefore nothing else mattered. I was honestly surprised a couple of times in "A Beautiful Mind," which I'm not saying was actually a good movie, but was better to me than "Ghost World." For a film about kids that age, I'll take "Fast Times at Ridgemont High."

Different strokes for different folks, Blake.

Josh

Name: rocknman
E-mail: rock741@aol.com

Josh,

What's Rob Tapert up to these days? Hope your book is coming along well.

Good luck,
The rocknman

Dear Rocknman:

Rob's doing the Hollywood hustle. And he's about to have another baby -- well, he and Lucy are. That should keep him busy for a while.

Josh

Name: rubbersoul
E-mail:

Hey Josh,

Would it be possible to put up a Netflix suggestion page so we could keep track of what you've seen, what was suggested, and maybe read a brief summary of what you thought of the film? Kinda like a 4 star review thingy. I really want to know what you think of the films we suggest. Btw, what do you think of Blake Edwards' directing style?

Thanks,
rubbersoul

P.S. Have you watched "Bottlerocket" yet?

Dear Rubbersoul:

No, not yet. Look, I review the films I feel inspired to review. As I see these films I've been mentioning them here in the Q&A. Should I actually see something that makes me feel something other than boredom and disdain, I'll mention it.

Josh

Name: Deana
E-mail: DeanaLackey@msn.com

Oh Josh, Josh, Josh:

I just read your little diddy about leaving LA. How refreshing. You were in Oregon living at the time. I have a friend (well, so-called "friend") in LA who's a screenwriter and he's an absolute piece of sh__. Well, I'm trying not to be vulgar, but I figure, since you are cursing at times on this Website, I thought you might understand my cursing as well. I just wanted to say, THANKS for telling it like it is. More power to you for wanting to make movies no matter where. I suppose this is one reason you chose to work in New Zealand? Definitely not Hollywood is it? One reason why I enjoyed watching Xena is because it was different -- a different TV show (but, I won't go into the exact details of what I mean by "different"). Anyway, thanks for being so honest about the crap out there in filmland! Thank you thank you thank you.

Dear Deana:

I didn't choose to work in New Zealand, it chose me. That's where my buddies were making their TV shows, so that's where I went. I'm not all that virtuous, either. I'm like a woman who has decided to become a whore, stood on the corner for twenty years and got no offers, then gets to retire a virgin and say she was never a whore. I wanted to be a whore in Hollywood as bad as anyone when I got there. It was the lack of offers that made me reassess my priorities.

Josh

Name: Raymond Rantuccio
E-mail: Filmsrpriceless@yahoo.com

Dear Josh,

I just want to say, thank you very much. I just got your signature in the mail and I greatly appreciate it. Honestly, the signature that you put forth the effort to write me really lifted my spirits. I was frustrated with my latest script and I was so close giving up on it. When I just got your signature in the mail, I felt inspired to give my latest script more work and more depth. I just reworked the story and I am now going over the proper structure. The most important part for me is the characters. I am trying to make them as interesting and believable as ever, since the film is basically inspired by a true story. The structure is very important, too, and I have you essays to thank for that. I can't say the script is perfect, but I'm glad I tried to make it better than it is. For giving me inspiration, I thank you. I think I'm going to watch "Running Time" again tonight! :-)

BTW, another film I just got done watching was "Blue Velvet". I know opinions vary, but I found "Blue Velvet" to be Lynch's greatest film, his best ever. It is chilling, inventive, and wholly original. The film is also well cast with seemingly impressive direction. Everything is Lynch with "Blue Velvet". I can't wait for the Special Edition to be released on DVD. He did a great job with this film. He also did a fairly good job with "Eraserhead", "The Straight Story" (Unique Lynch), and "The Elephant Man". I feel his worst is "Lost Highway" (please, don't tell me you like it!). I didn't care for "Dune" either. I think I should give "Dune" another chance because now, I'm starting to give films second chances. About Lynch's latest, "Mulholland Drive". I'm not sure what to think of it. A lot of aspects really surprised me and it kept me watching more and more. The pacing is fine, too, and Lynch really keeps the pace going. I wasn't shocked, though, with the story, the techniques, and the symbolism, being that it is a David Lynch movie. If you have seen the film, you know what I mean. What did you think of "Twin Peaks"?

Yet another film I watched was "Tape". "Tape" has no point, no story, just a few characters talking about a topic that has no relevence or meaning. Really dissapointing. The only thing that struck me was the acting, which was almost decent and appropriate for this kind of film. This one was mentioned before. If you have seen this already, I'm almost certain that you didn't find it appealing. There is just NO way. Throughout the whole experience, I was just thinking to myself, DAMN, this is really just dull, pointless stuff.

Anyway, that's it for me. I want to start "Running Time" soon. Adios!

Dear Raymond:

I'm just pleased that my autograph has some meaning, beside making my checks cashable. I agree with you that "Blue Velvet" is David Lynch at his Lynchiest best. I saw the film four times in the theater the year it came out and it kept getting me. I'd say his ouvre goes like this, in order of quality: "Blue Velvet," "Elephant Man," "The Straight Story," "Eraserhead," and all the rest, which are just crap. "Twin Peaks" was okay for two episodes, then became the same thing over and over, ad nauseum, just like his films.

Josh

Name: Darryl Mesaros
E-mail: simonferrer@hotmail.com

Dear Josh,

As always, thank you for answering my last post. I finished watching the extra stuff on THE THIRD MAN DVD last night, and I noticed in the production notes that Carol Reed originally wanted Jimmy Stewart to play Holly Martins, but that David O. Selznick (who had the American distribution agreement, and was helping to finance the film)insisted on Joseph Cotten for the role. I honestly can't imagine how Jimmy Stewart would have been in the part. That one struck me completely out of left field.
My question isn't about The THIRD MAN, however. I was watching YOJIMBO last night, and was wondering about the origins of the film. The story is that Akira Kurosawa saw an American western, and decided to transpose the genre onto a feudal Japanese setting. I wonder if he and Ryuzu Kikushuma based their screenplay on the basic structure of a movie western (mysterious stranger comes in and cleans up the bad town), or if they were inspired by a specific film? Have you heard or read anything to this effect? Incidentally, I agree with you in your opinion of Kurosawa losing his sense of pace as he got older, but I also somewhat disagree. The editing in YOJIMBO, The SEVEN SAMURAI, and of course RASHOMON (directors have been copying his basic premise of different versions of the same "truth" from different people for the past 50 years) is superb, coming down to split-second timing. RAN, on the other hand, does drag out, with long, rather eerie scenes (the opening scene of the camp is creepy, mainly due to the whine of the wind and the silence of the actors). However, I found a similarity in the pace between RAN and DERSU UZALA, which Kurosawa made years before, and DERSU UZALA didn't drag, despite the long scenes. This raises the question as to whether the pace in RAN was deliberate or not, since an earlier example of the same pace exists in his films.

Yours truly,
Darryl Mesaros

Dear Darryl:

Except that I disagree, I don't think the pacing in "Dersu Uzala" is anything like "Ran." The former is 21 minutes shorter, and I think a lot snappier. He always had a stately pace, even in his really old films, like "Those Who Tread on Tiger's Tails" and "Sanshiro Sugata," but he really petrified when he got old. Part of his "Dreams" are some of the dullest things I've even seen in a movie.

Josh

Name: Jim K
E-mail: jamesfkenney@yahoo.com

Dear Josh:

I notice you like a few of the earlier Frankenheimer films... I was curious what you thought of his later work...he made a lot of mediocre films in later years, but the fact that he actually made releasable (52 Pickup & Fourth War) films for Cannon Pictures says something, as I'm not sure anyone else did! But i do think French Connection 2 & Black Sunday were underrated and actually quite good, and "Ronin" highly watchable...plus his TV work during the 90s ("Burning Season", "Against the Wall", etc.) was uniformely above-average, and should count as heavily as crap like "Dr. Moreau & "Dead Bang" in making judgement against him. As on older director, I think he often agrees to projects just to keep working (I can't believe he really wants to do Exorcist 4 or whatever it's called), but I think with the right material the son-of-a-gun still pulls it off. I just wondered if you'd kept up with him at all?

Also, I just read the Teddy Roosevelt script and indeed liked it...while I know you'd consider yourself the perfect director for it, is there anyone still working you think could do it well?

Dear Jim:

I never thought about it. If it's not me directing, then I don't really care. Regarding Mr. Frankenhiemer, I'm a big fan up to "Grand Prix." Since then his films have gotten duller and flatter and more generic. "Ronin" and "Reindeer Games" could have been made by a machine. I don't care for any of his TV stuff, either. As far as good films from Cannon, the only two I'd nominate are "Barfly" and "Street Smart."

Josh


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