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?
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.
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
it bittersweet to see? I wondered, first, if you were
around when these were taken and is there a fun story
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?
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."
joshua s. m. williams
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).
you for reading this,
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
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
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.
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.
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?
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."
was your short film Long Walk about?
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.
know you like bridge on the river kwai and lawrence
of arabia, but are there any other david lean films
you think are great?
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."
saw your film " Running Time " the other day
and enjoyed it very much.
question: What was the most difficult aspect of making
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.
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.
are your favorite boxers? Mine are Muhammad Ali and
Sugar Ray Leonard
think that Humans In Chains would make a great original
sci-fi movie, if I was a producer I would have bought
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.
was looking at your list, and was wondering why Evil
Dead wasnt on it. Is there a reason? or did you forget?
didn't forget anything, it's just not one of my favorite
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.
I enjoyed your comments in Bruce's book.
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.
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
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.
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
all due respect, I don't feel like it. I'm not much
of a game-player, and never have been.
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.
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.
E-mail: Dear Josh
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?
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."
Dear Josh --
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?
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.
you list ten characters that are used in the movie Gladiator.
Their name and what was their job is the movie.Please
and their jobs? What the hell are you talking about?
E-mail: dont have one.
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.
more thing: I read that you are a Kurasawa fan. How
come you never mentioned "Rashamon"? You no
think its good?
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.
E-mail: Dear Josh
TV shows do you actively tune into? Are there any? If
there are, what do you think about my four favorite
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.
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.
Dear Josh Becker,
you don't mind, I have a few questions for you.
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?
I didn't annoy 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.
Tom Stian Harestad
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!
Tom Stian Harestad
that I know of. I'd like to see them on DVD.
you don't mind I would like to respond to Kevin Mills'
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.
another possibility, from one Kevin to another.
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?
M. Goodman was co-producer of "Lunatics,"
and worked on many other Renaissance Pictures films.
I don't think he worked on "Buffy."
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.
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."
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.
an interesting list, but I don't see what it has to
do with low-budget horror films. I'm not even sure 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?
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.
writing a haunted house script and I'm incredibly stuck.
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...
THE HELL WOULD THIS GROUP OF PEOPLE GO TO A HAUNTED
HOUSE/MURDER SIGHT IN THE FIRST PLACE??????
Sorry...had to vent....
Seriously though, could you think of a reason you would
go? I mean you personally?
a question I'm asking alot of people
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.
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.
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.
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.
PS. My copy of TSNKE just arrived. The wife read the
cover and moaned. That's a good sign.
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
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?
believe his name is Michael Elphick.
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!!
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.
you heard from Mark Savage recently?
in a few months, why?
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
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.
Shirley Robbins LeVasseur
c/o P.O. Box 86
East Vassalboro, ME 04935
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.
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
Dear Josh: Josh:
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.)
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."
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
I'm emailing back. I wish you all the very best.
GREG JARMON JR
ARE YOU CURRENTLY MAKE OR PLANNING ON MAKING DEVIL DOGS?
THE SCRIPT IS SWEET AND I HOPE YOU CAN GET IT ON THE
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?
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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!
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."
How could you not like "Ghost World"? I still
think this is a great movie.
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.
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.
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.
have absolutely nothing bad to say about this film.
a good one.
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."
strokes for different folks, Blake.
Rob Tapert up to these days? Hope your book is coming
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.
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?
Have you watched "Bottlerocket" yet?
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.
Oh Josh, Josh, Josh:
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.
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.
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! :-)
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
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
that's it for me. I want to start "Running Time"
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.
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.
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.
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?
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?
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