wondering why you weren't at the ED Anniversary at the
Main Art? I can understand why Sam wasn't there, being
spider-man's step father, but Tapert wasn't either.
Any reason why?
a long way from Oregon to Michigan and I didn't feel
like paying for the flight.
few more inquires on "Hammer."
you thought about taking your picture to the Independent
Feature Film Market in NY? I've been considering it
with my own picture (which is even older than yours...I
shot it in the winter of '98 and have only had 2 screenings)
and am curious as to what you know about it, if anything.
why not start selling copies of it off of this site?
I'm sure people would pay $30.00 for one. (It's been
a while, but I think the cost to have VHS copies made
is about $20.00?)
I believe you should really talk to Bruce and Ted about
what can be done, in their opinions, to enhance your
horror picture to the point to where they'd want to
help produce it. I mean c'mon. Both of these guys have
done their share of really bad films. I know you can
talk them into doing your picture. Horror is in the
can and all the Hollywood shit heads know to do is remake
all the classics. A new, independent horror film is
going to come along in the next few years and start
everything up again. I can sense it. I think an enourmous
opportunity is waiting for whoever gets there first
with something scary.
a good one.
have thought about the IFP and their market, and if
this sales agent I'm presently dealing with signs off
on the film, that might be my next move. I have a few
problems with selling the film myself: 1. I haven't
cleared the music rights yet, 2. I only have a crappy
transfer off a print, and 3. It's a big hassle. As for
the horror film, which I think is a good idea, Ted and
Bruce seem to have lost interest. Maybe they didn't
like my story, I don't know. So, there it is.
an aspiring film maker....with absolutely no practical
experience. Especially with film (actual filming with
celluloid). I've done some decent editing work with
my grandfathers old 8mm home movies (making them one
long ten minute reel instead of a bunch of minute and
two minute reels).
thought about putting ads in the ocal (Toronto area)
film schools to look for people who can show me the
practical side of using film equipment (ie: 16mm, sound
synching, etc...). My hope is to also find someone who'd
like my writing enough to help me make a film for little
or no money for us (the crew).
also don't want to enroll in film school because I've
been told that all you learn is mainly lighting and
camera angles for the first year (something I've taught
myself for video and should be no problem to adapt my
knowledge for film).
Just wondering what you think...
If anyone who sees this is a indie (or student) film
maker from the Toronto area, feel free to e-mail me.
what's your question? Should you make a film? Only if
you really want to. As Andre Gide said, "If a young
writer can refrain from writing, he shouldn't hesitate
to do so." If you actually need to make movies,
you'll make them.
been reading through your ED journal. I understand your
feelings of frustration at not being able to contribute
- been there! However, how does it feel to have instigated
an icon piece of cinema - namely the end tracking shot
is Sam a shy person? Maybe shy's the wrong word, but
he doesn't seem to seek media attention.
is kind of shy, in his own weird way. I just watched
ED again and I really did light half the film. That's
because Sam, Bruce, Rob, and I were the entire crew
for half the shoot -- Sam operated camera, I was doing
the lighting, running sound recorder and the boom, plus
I was the assistant cameraman, loading all the mags,
setting up the camera, putting on the lenses, and cleaning
the camera -- plus I did the lighting on most of the
reshoots, which is a lot of footage, like nearly everything
in the cellar, a lot of the tree rape, and nearly all
the inserts, which there are many of. I'd forgotten
how many shots were in that film. Also, if I may mention
it, after we'd shot the opening of the force coming
out of the fog and skimming over the water three times,
with less-than-perfect results, I dragged those guys
out to a piece of land my dad owns and showed them a
little lagoon-like area that worked perfectly for the
shot, and is what's in the film. Sam, BTW, was being
pushed in a rubber raft by Bruce, and had actually taped
an Arri-S camera to his hand. The front end of that
car, which we put there, sat rusting in that lagoon
for a couple of years until my dad got mad and made
us haul it away.
you tell me who controls World Sales for THOU SHALT
NOT KILL... EXCEPT!
do. The film is licensed to Anchor Bay Ent. for US/Canada
video/DVD at this time, but all the other territories
of the world are available.
are five inspirational films any aspring filmmaker should
see and why?
"The Bridge on the River Kwai"
"The Best Years of Our Lives"
examples of what you can do if you really care to think
James J. Nduati
have an obsession about making movies. I have an even
bigger obsession about me being in the screen. I have
lots of tapes that I have shot, mostly on family activities
of fun and comedies with my son. How can I turn them
into a good movie?
Romero's Night of the Living Dead again last night.
Just wondered what you thought of this low budget film.
(The library music was kinda... sweet!)
film scared the hell out of me when I first saw at a
midnight show in 1970 on its initial release (I saw
it with Ivan and Andrea Raimi, Sam's older brother and
sister. Sam was deemed too young to join us). The last
time I tried to watch it, probably about six or seven
years ago, I got bored pretty fast and turned it off.
Still, it was impressive in its day.
just saw "The Apartment" for the first time.
Helluva movie. It was funny to see that one of the characters
name's was Carl Matuschka, Bruce's character in "Running
Time". Jack Stryker is an obvious reference to
John Wayne's character in "Sands of Iwo Jima".
That's cool. Are there any other references like these
in your films that I may have missed? Sam's character
in TSNKE isn't named Joe Buck, is he?
too big of a movie geek to not do them, but I try and
make them subtle. Meanwhile, I just love "The Apartment,"
and I think it's about as good as movies get. Billy
Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond really set that movie in its
contemporary time period, which isn't an easy thing
to do, and something that Hollywood avoids if possible,
for fear of dating a film. But references like when
MacMurray offers Lemmon theater tickets and he asks
what show? "The Music Man, what else?" And
all of that 1959-speak (the film came out in 1960),
like "buddy-boy" and putting -wise on the
end of everything, like, "Billing-wise and accounting-wise,
we're ahead of last month, October-wise." I also
think it's Fred MacMurray's best performance, and one
of Lemmon and MacLaine's best, too. "The Apartment"
is a perfect example of the lost art of filmmaking.
Nobody could make that movie now if their lives depended
I have to disagree with you about the lack of civil
unrest following the Revolution. In addition to Shay's
Rebellion of 1786, the best known outbreak, there were
any number of local purges of loyalists. These episodes,
many of which were as bad as what you read about happening
in the third world today, have been largely ignored
by history books. In addition to "patriotic"
purges, "loyalism" was often an excuse to
appropriate property and settle old feuds. My father
taught a course on revolutions at the Command and General
Staff College at Ft. Leavenworth and the unfortunate
truth seems to be that political revolution almost always
has a violent component. Even England's "Glorious
Revolution" of 1688, held up against the French
example a century later, was rife with violence. Ask
the Irish. Surprisingly, if you don't count Chechnya,
Georgia and other regions of ethnicly motivated unrest,
the dissolution of the Soviet Union was largely bloodless.
Certainly, very few Russians or Europeans died.
We Americans are pretty good about not recording our
atrocities. The USSR didn't end due to a revolution,
though, but it was fairly bloodless, particularly for
have to add one other revolution (of sorts) that managed
to avoid civil unrest and ecomonic collapse - the deposing
of the kings in Rome, and the establishment of the Republic,
c. 509 BC.
problem is - the only accounts we have of it were written
centuries later, by pro-establishment writers, who might
well have glossed over any problems. Perfect example
of the dubious nature of the story: the haughty Etruscan-blooded
king was named Tarquinius Superbus, whose name means
..... "Haughty Etruscan." (I'm reminded of
Monty Python's "Biggus Dickus," who "wanked
among the highest in Wome.") Still... there are
no legends of unrest or revolution for 15 years after
the republic was established, and then a patrician/plebeian
conflict was supposedly handled peacefully. So who knows.
saw a Kevin Smith film the other day (the dumpy Jersey
director, not the late actor.) I recall you have expressed
general contempt for his work, but since I'd never seen
any of his films, the debates here sort of went over
one I saw was "Chasing Amy." Interesting premise
(guy falls in love with lesbian friend) and I guess
it had three clear acts: he meets her and develops feelings
for her, he attempts to have a relationship with her,
and he screws it up. And it certainly had some funny
dialogue. But in that way, it reminded me of some other
popular films that left me feeling empty, like "American
Beauty" and Tarantino's films. There's sort of
an interesting set-up.... and the lines were interesting
and funny enough to keep me paying attention.... but
it just never evolved into anything. Plus all of his
characters sounded exactly alike. (same with Tarantino.)
I know it's been discussed here before, but that that
was a long time ago. :) So any comments on Smith or
his work? I just wonder if some of these guys shouldn't
just be writers for other people for a while until they
develop their craft. That or maybe develop a stand-up
Smith doesn't do a thing for me. Yes, he has the occasional
funny line, but that's it. He hasn't got the slightest
ability as a director, nor as a storyteller, so he doesn't
interest me. I saw an interesting film recently called
"The Turandot Project," which was about Zubin
Mehta putting on Puccini's opera and hiring the Chinese
director, Zhang Yimou, to direct it. Everything goes
very well at the first staging in Florence, where they're
very used to putting on Puccini operas. Then they put
it on again in Bejing and it's a real clash of cultures.
I was very amused and I like Zhang Yimou even more now.
I think he's the best film director of the past ten
or fifteen years.
was interesting about the US being the only revolution
in history that did not immediately lead to civil unrest.
I've never thought of that before. Maybe that has something
to do with the fact that we're on a different continent
than the country that we broke off of, and that we had
our own economic system by then. (which partially caused
our war with England)
Anyway, I remember you talking somewhere on your site
about a short science fiction story of yours called
"The Sins of Space," which you submitted to
a magazine and they wrote "Give me a break"
on the cover. What was this story about? I've been looking
for that mention of it on your web site, but I can't
seem to find it. Anyway, do you think the magazine realized
you were a kid, or did they think it was an adult? I
don't know why I'm wondering that now, but the question
just popped into my head this morning, easily months
from when I first read about it on your site.
don't know what they realized about me since they're
only comment was "Give me a break!" scrawled
across the title page in about 18-point-sized letters.
The editor certainly realized I wasn't much of a writer.
I guess I must have been fifteen possibly. It's about
a crazed, zealot Catholic nun, that stows away aboard
a space ship going to some distant, potentially habitable
world, so that she can bring religion to the native
heathens. The astronauts never realize she's aboard,
and when they get to the planet, they end up mistakenly
crossing her path, they think she's hostile and zap
her with their lasers, then high-tail it back to the
don't mean to be too disagreeable of a sort, but ever
since reading what you wrote about the act breaks in
"Taxi Driver" a couple days ago, I've got
to tell you that I think.
believe that "TD" has a much, much longer
act 1 than you realize. I don't think it concludes until
the moment we see him with the Mohawk. When we see his
transformation into totall crazy man (ie he's going
to try and kill the candidate, has bought the guns,
and shaved his head) that's the beginning of Act 2.
Nothing before this moment has been nailed down. It's
all been a set up and introduction of characters and
problems. The moment we see this whole sequence, we
know he's psycho, and that, I believe, is the start
of the film's second act.
far as act 2 is concerned, I find it ends after DeNiro
shoots Harvey Keitel dead on the front steps. He's made
his first kill and has foced the consequences of the
story onto his character. What hapens next is a conclusion
to everything that's gone on before. That's why I think
act 3 starts when DeNiro enters the flop house to slaughter
thought about this all day yesterday. I think the acts
end and begin where I said they do. I can't get around
it. Interested if you see see what I'm saying.
a good one.
disagree, but I see what you're saying. I can go along
with you that killing Sport is the end of an act, but
it would be the end of act two. Act one definitely does
not go until then. An act end comes at a point of no
return for the main character, either physically, mentally,
or emotionally. Betsy dumping him is an emotional dead-end
for Travis, and he's not the same thereafter. He then
has to confront the fact that he's a loser, which causes
him to buy guns and begin training himself ("Every
muscle must be tight"), and he resolves his issue
by killing people. I must say that his appearance with
the Mohawk always seemed like the beginning of act three
to me, even though he doesn't succeed in killing the
senator. I feel that he's resolved in his plan to kill
somebody at that point, and fate won't allow his killing
the senator, so he chooses other people to kill. But
I assure you that act one does not run 100 minutes of
a 113 minute film. You're saying it's all a set-up until
the first killing, and I think that's wrong. The set-up
is his reasons for wanting to kill somebody, anybody.
so cool you went to the "Bloodsport" premiere!!
Must have been some show. I only saw it for the first
time a few years ago when I was a senior. I didn't intend
on stealing the name from Bloodsport though, more of
an homage for my friends (we had a Kumite of our own
in a hotel during a theatre festival and filmed it sooo...out
came Kumite Entertainment for me). Anyways, I wanted
to thank you and those who contacted me on the broadway
photo experience, I can't imagine how many people they've
screwed and how they get away with it! I do have one
more question for you Josh; you say that distributors
won't pay for digital, but what about the film "Tape"
from Richard Linklater, or Soderberg's "Full Frontal?"
Even 'Bamboozled'! All shot on mini dv and have had
a theatrical run and distributor. Maybe I'm just answering
my own question but is that because if there's a name
talent attatched it will get distributed, and independantly
no-named talent will not be recognized. That's a shitty
reality there. Would you say it was easier to become
recognizable in the film industry back in the ED days
than it is now? or is it about the same?
forgot to mention "Star Wars." But none of
those films mean anything, honestly. If you have an
all-star cast you can possibly get away with it. Of
course, if you have an all-star cast, why bother with
DV? As I've said, I think there a lot of people that
would like this situation to change, but it hasn't yet.
And if you give sales agents or distributors a reason
to not deal with your film, they'll take it. "Running
Time" was just being represented at Cannes, and
although many foreign distributors liked it, no one
would buy it because it's in black and white. The German
distributor liked it enough to suggest colorization.
"Hammer" is in color and 35mm and everyone
seems to like it, or that's what they say, but I can't
get a distribution deal because it hasn't got any recognizable
names in it. It's so difficult to get an independent,
low-budget feature distributed, you simply don't want
to possibly screw your deal before you even get a chance.
Meanwhile, it was no easier getting a film made back
in the days of ED or TSNKE, but you could honestly hope
for, and possibly get, a theatrical release, as both
of those films had. Now, there's almost no hope for
that, as Tom DiCillo just pointed out with his new film,
"Double Whammy," which has an all-star cast
and he can't get it released. It's an ugly situation.
There are more movies screens than there ever were before,
but far less movies showing. There was a much bigger
selection when I was a kid.
make Sam sound like my friend Rob, only more so. And
the fact that so many celebrities in the entertainment
industry are either from Canada or have spent time there
only feeds my pet theory ( the one where the Canadians
are using the entertainment industry to hide their espionage
ring in the United States).
Anyway, I do have a cinema-related question for you:
what did you think of the film version of "1776"?
(I thought that one would be appropriate, considering
the holiday). Personally, I enjoyed it, although I was
initially put off by the idea of a musical about the
Founding Fathers. The actor who played Benjamin Franklin
(I'm sorry that I forgot his name) was excellent in
it, brining alive the wit that shows up in Franklin's
writings. I heard somewhere that the actors were almost
entirely cast from the original Broadway run. Just wondering
what you thought of it.
No matter what terrible things happen in the world today,
I am still amazed and pleased that the great experiment
in the absurd concept of democratic government has continued
for another year (226 as of tomorrow, and still counting).
Happy Independence Day!
Independence Day to you and everyone else out there.
Yes, it's an amazing experiment that keeps functioning,
one way and another. Ours was the only revolution in
history that didn't immediately erupt into civil unrest
and violence. In fact, the only violence to come out
of our revolution, beside fighting the British, was
the duel between Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton.
Anyway, I didn't much care for the film (or the musical)
"1776." None of the songs turn me on, and
it all seemed overlit and stodgy. The actor that played
Franklin was Howard DeSilva, who also played Louis Mayer
in "Mommie Dearest" and the bartender in "The
Lost Weekend." He was blacklisted and didn't work
for about ten years. I was pretty good friends with
his son, Dan, for a while until he disappeared off the
face of the earth.
Great Oz?" Damn, you ought to use that on him somehow.
Maybe you could slip that into the interview package
for a talk show or interview program with Sam. Those
shows usually call relatives and friends to get information
about the guest in question, and you could let that
little bit slip. It would be funny to see that crop
up in PRIVATE SCREENINGS with Robert Osbourne, or even
better, INSIDE THE ACTOR'S STUDIO with that Lipton guy.
I can see it now...
.."well, that's truly fascinating, Mr. Raimi, or
Sam, if you prefer..."
"Not at all Larry. Please call me Sam." (ingratiating
"Sam it is then." (disarming media smile).."If
we could move on, there is something I'd like to ask
(shuffles through notes)...what can you tell me about
"The Great Oz?"
(shifts in his chair, alternately looking angrily for
Josh Becker and trying to remain serene under Lipton's
question).."The Great Oz? Well, uh, Larry, to tell
you the truth (nervous laugh)..." (catches sight
of Josh Becker in the front row with the other guests,
looking away innocently and whistling under Sam's glare)...
just a thought, but I think it would be pretty funny.
you knew Sam you'd know he wouldn't feel the slightest
bit of shame or discomfort being called The Great Oz
or The Master Cylinder, since that's what he is. He's
a take-charge kind of guy. He and I went to the same
summer camp, and I can see he uses his camp counselor
training in these matters. The moment we arrived in
Tennessee to make ED, he became our counselor. By the
way, both Gilda Radner and Chevy Chase went to that
camp, too, as did Mike Binder, who has his own show
on HBO now.
do you think about the method Robert Rodriguez employed
to make El Mariachi? One director who is also the DoP,
one actor by your side all the time, shooting MOS, no
slates, one take of every shot etc.
of all, I think Rodriguez was flat-out lying about his
budget--nobody's bringing a feature film in for $7,000,
no how, no way. I don't care if you buy short-ends,
the stock and processing are more than that. And what
if it doesn't work on the first take? Do you not shoot
a second take? I also found that being the director
and the camera operator and DP wasn't a good idea. It
takes your full attention as director to do a good job,
as it does with operator and DP.
to diverge from the purpose of the Q&A here, but
I have a message to Brian ("Kumite Entertainment")
that I thought might be somewhat helpful to anyone else
who suffered similar problems.
too have suffered the bullshit of Broadway Photo. I
purchased a Canon GL-1 from them back in July (A quality
device to be sure, and it's really withstood some of
the beatings I've put it through), and believe me when
I say that they scammed the hell out of me. I have only
myself to blame for this, with the exception of some
bad advice from a family-member-turned-"producer."
In hindsight, I really should have known better; just
take a gander at some of these telltale signs:
They were offering the camera for $1600 at the time,
which was at least a $800 lower than most of their competitors.
However, when I was going to purchase it, they claimed
that the $1600 "model" was from overseas,
and therefore they couldn't offer a warranty on it.
They COULD, however, guarantee the camera if I bought
it for $1900. Somehow, the "producer" managed
to convince me that this was my best bet (especially
when a warranty would come in handy for some of the
intense shooting I planned for it).
Then, the slick bastards offered me "the package
deal of a lifetime: The camera and all the standard
equipment that comes with it, an extended warranty from
them, 8 more mini-DV tapes, a carrying case, and something
I was led to believe was a 4 hour battery (as opposed
to the 1 hour battery that came with the camera). Once
again, the aforementioned producer, for
the asking price of $2000 shucked me into believing
this amazing deal.
Long story short, the warranty (which made up the bulk
of the price) amounted to jack squat, and the battery
was in fact some cheap-o Battery CHARGER that in no
way shape or form made an improvement over the power-up
time of the standard charger.
When I called these shysters to complain about being
so mislead, they gave me some longwinded and obviously
rehearsed speech about how a misinformed employee must
have given me a poor description of the deal, and they
couldn't be held responsible for it. In other words,
"tough titty toenails."
the non-confrontational guy I am (I save that for my
writing and directing persona), I didn't put up a fight.
I should have, without a doubt. I should have at least
had the balls to strangle that bastard family member
who put me through all that crap. In the end, the run-around
I got with the camera and other setbacks cost me the
small window of opportunity I had to make the movie
that the GL-1 was intended for. But I've moved on, and
the GL-1 serves me well in the projects I use it for.
moral of this story is, Brian - Don't trust those Broadway
Photo bastards. If you already sent them your money,
get it back immediately. I'm more than positive that
there are other businesses that won't rip you off as
badly as those guys.
by all means, never let a family member get the impression
that just because they've seen a couple "behind
the scenes" specials on HBO and can pay a mortgage
on time, they know anything about film production. It's
not only dangerous to your films, it's fucking annoying
for passing the information along.
am a fairly new screenwriter. Recently I just finished
my second draft on a script, but it seems there may
be a problem.
end of act one doesn't happen until page 50. And then
act three begins around 30 pages later. This seems all
wrong when looking at proper formating 'rules'. The
reason is because it is a party story with a lot of
characters, and I am using the long first act to introduce
them and establish thier characters.
this too long and a sure bet that it will not work?
Should I go through it again before I send it out and
make my act breaks concrete and 'properly spaced. It's
a bit like that dazed and confused as far as the cast,
only more complicated of an outer goal by my protaganist.
long of an act one is aggravating. I have a 45-minute
act one in "Lunatics" and I think it's a mistake,
I think people really want to get to the mian action
of the story, which is act two. I really recommend not
exceeding 35 pages for act one. Therefore, trim it down.
kind of liked the MRE pound cake myself, although my
absolute favorite (along with three-quarters of the
armed forces) is the cheese spread, especially the jalapeno
cheese spread (ironically, it only comes in about one
out of every four meals). I was with my Guard unit up
at Fort Drum for the last two weeks for annual training,
and Watertown, NY, if not the asshole of the universe,
is certainly the armpit. Mosquitoes, raccoons and bears,
oh my! :-)
Anyway, I saw in the credits of some of your early shorts
that Rob Tapert is credited as "Rip Tapert."
Was that an error, or was it a nickname that he tried
to cultivate and never got off the ground with? When
I was twelve, I tried to get people to call me "DJ"
(I had seen some old Hollywood comedy where a movie
director was called by his initials, a la DW Griffith,
and thought it was cool). This backfired when one of
my FORMER buddies realized that DJ was the name of one
of the girls on that sitcom, FULL HOUSE, and got everyone
to tease me unmercifully about it. Currently, my buddies
in my unit have hanged the moniker of "Moose"
on me (I know someone's looking for me when I hear someone
bellow "Mooooooose!" down the armory hallway).
Is that the case with "RIP"?
Rip was Rob's half-assed nickname for a while. I think
he wanted it to be his acting name. It may have just
been something Sam tagged him with. I've personally
never had a nickname. My friends seem to enjoy mispronouncing
Josh as Posh, Nosh, or Splotch, but luckily none of
them took hold. Sam's nicknames, all behind his back,
were The Master Cylinder or The Great Oz, as in "no
one sees the Great Oz, no how, no way."
Josh get this,
batted the pros and cons of buying a digital camera
and finally decided on it. Even asked David Wain (director
of Wet Hot American Summer and he broke it down for
me). Anyways, I found the canan GL-1 for only $1,360
so why not? I ordered it from a place called broadway
photo in New York a month ago. Haven't recieved it so
I called them and this guy gave me the run around saying
"ohh that cameras outta stock but you can get the
GL2 for 2grand." Nice of them to call me to let
me know huuh?
for useless info-but now I'm back to debating. I went
to a film school in Birmingham MI so I've gotten to
work on 16mm film. I like it really, it's just too damn
expensive for what I want to shoot. My plan was to perhaps
make this feature on digital and submit it to festivls
that would accept it. I went to Sundance this year and
they have five other festivals mainly dedicated to digital
underground films, yet I doubt there's any distribution
deals out from that, but still. Do you think that's
a bad plan? I know you don't care for digital video
much but if they accept it I figure do it. Thanks for
the commentary track on RUNNING TIME was much help when
I shot my student short last summer. (BC also autographed
the dvd during his big book tour!!)
Ent.? That's from my buddy Sheldon Lettich's film "Bloodsport."
I was at the premiere, many a moon ago. I've got nothing
against DV, and I think it's been a terrific blessing
for documentary filmmakers. I also think it's great
for shorts, like you're talking about. I wish it were
acceptable for features so that we could begin getting
the next generation of filmmakers working. Nevertheless,
it's still not an acceptable format for features because
no one will pay for them. I didn't decide this, the
worldwide distributors did. Hell, those guys still won't
accept black and white. But if your point is to make
a short film and get it into festivals, DV is a great
What do you think of Basil Poledouris? I've haven't
seen even most of the movies he's scored but those in
I have seen I enjoyed his music. Didn't he work with
SR on "For Love of the Game"? I think he also
did one or more of the "Robocop" movies. I
thought his music was the best part of "Conan"
and I also liked his stuff on "Quigley Down Under".
He seems to do well with grand themes. Thanks.
he's a big, booming composer. It's a little too big
and booming for me. I haven't seen his name on anything
in a while.
was just reading your lists of your favorite movies,
as well as looking at some recently answered questions.
It seems that you have virtually none ,if any, foriegn
films that you like. I was wondering if there was a
reason for this, a preferance of sorts.
when mentioning great film composers, everyone should
mention Taro Takemetsu as being right up there with
the best of em. His contributions to Kurowsawa's films
alone warrant that mark.
are foreign films on the list, and a number of Kurosawa's
films, too, like "Ikiru," "Seven Samurai,"
and "Dersu Uzala." I was just extolling the
virtues of two Chinese films I just saw and liked, "To
Live" and "The Road Home." I also just
saw a very good Italian film, "Ossessione,"
from 1942, although I don't think it was as good as
the American version, "The Postman Always Rings
Twice," in 1946. I might go so far as to say that
Zhang Yimou was the best director of the 1990s.
got a question about what is commonly called "library
music". I believe all of George A. Romero's films
from "NOTLD" through "Creepshow"
were basically composed with pre-existing music.
you know more about how this works when wanting to score
a film? I'm specifically thinking of who to go to and
how you are charged.
a side note, I just heard some of the most annoying
new I can imagine. Michael Bay has just announced that
he's going to remake "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre."
What in the hell is going on? Josh, horror is in the
can. Make your Campbell thriller! You can start a new
wave! I'm sure you can get a story together that you
all like enough to make. I want to see this happen because
I want to be able and see more good movies before I
die. You know it?
a good one.
I hear Bey is doing a whole series of horror films.
As I was saying to my buddy about it, there's a sincerity
and innocence to the first one that no one will ever
repeat. It's certainly not in any of the sequels. Anyway,
library music. I used library music on two of my short
films, "Cleveland Smith" and "Torro,
Torro, Torro!" We went to a place in Detroit called
Film House Music, that either owned or had a deal with
the owners of an enormous array of music. Using already
recorded music they then scored the films, cutting music
in and out as needed. We paid them a flat rate for each
film, I think $500 for one and $750 for the other, and
we had the rights to all that music. It was pretty painless,
really. And as for the horror film with Bruce, well,
that remains to be seen. My treatment doesn't seem to
have knocked anyone out.
you ever counted the act breaks for some of your favorite
films? What about films like TAXI DRIVER, THE BRIDGE
ON THE RIVER KWAI, and BLUE VELVET, some of my favorite
films of all time.
must check out the independent film HALL OF MIRRORS.
It is brilliant on every level, with a very talented
cast and a top-notch script. It was shot with digital
and it was made with a 5000 dollar budget -- it looks
amazing, too. I really think you should check it out.
Who knows, you might just like it. Some other movies
you should check out (if you haven't already): BREAKDOWN,
FUNNY GAMES, and DEATH AND THE MAIDEN. Those are three
films that I had the pleasure to watch recently. If
you want, check them out. You might like them, as well
as HALL OF MIRRORS.
certainly have with dissected "Kwai" and "Taxi
Driver" to my own satisfaction. I actually own
an original shooting script of "Blue Velvet,"
but I haven't watched the film in quite few years. I
don't think it's an issue of counting the acts, though,
as there are only three, it's recognizing when the acts
begin and end. In "Kwai" act one ends when
Col. Nicholson is released from the oven, the British
soldiers cheer, and Col. Saito pounds his head in shame.
I'd say act two ends when the sabotage team arrives
at the bridge, then goes to sleep. Act three begins
in the morning and the river has gone down. In "Taxi
Driver" act one ends when Betsy dumps him, and
act three begins when he gets out of the cab, dumps
some pills in his hand, and as he tilt up we see he
now has a Mohawk.
just saw "Running Time" and thought it was
the best flick that I have seen in a long, long time.
The story was awesome, the camera work was great and
the black and white photography was beautiful. I also
thought that Bruce Campbell's performance was the best
that he has ever done. I really enjoyed the film and
I'm planning on watching it again tonight!
you the good work!
Have you seen "Hedwig and the Angry Inch"?
glad you liked it, and I hope you enjoy it again on
the second viewing. No, I haven't seen "Hedwig."
I was out of the loop for a few weeks (you just haven't
lived until you've seen two raccoons fighting over an
MRE in upstate New York at one o'clock in the morning),
and I was just catching up on the old postings.
I just had an opportunity to watch STRYKER'S WAR (aah,
bootlegs..), and just wanted to comment on it a little.
It seems to me that some of the characterizations in
the pilot version were superior to the ones in the finished
feature. Bruce Campbell's portrayal of Stryker was better
than Brian Schultz's by far (I also like the plot point,
later deleted, that Stryker had received a battlefield
commission), and although I liked the actors cast as
Stryker's buddies in the feature version better, I felt
that the dialogue between them in the car in the pilot
was more realistic. Do you have any thoughts on this?
I also saw THE BLIND WAITER, TORRO, TORRO, TORRO, and
CLEVELAND SMITH, BOUNTY HUNTER, among others. CLEVELAND
SMITH in particular, was hilarious.
to hear from you again. I take it you were on maneuvers.
Bruce Campbell and I snagged a bunch of MREs for a camping
trip from his brother Don, who's one of Stryker's buddies
in the movie with a mustache, and is also in the National
Guard, and we liked them. And there are so many little
extra fun items, like candy and gum and tea and coffee.
I went to a summer camp in Wawa, Ontario as a kid and
they gave us C-rats, and I liked those, too, particularly
the pound cake. Taste-wise, I'm suited for the military.
Anyway, you saw the relics of a hunk of my life there,
from 1980-1983. I personally like the super-8 "Stryker's
War" better than the feature, too. It's got a better
feel to it and Bruce is better in the lead. The three
marine buddies are better in the feature, though. It
was a long time ago in either case.
was D.S. (who asked about film scores), I'm also the
guy who was asking you on your thoughts on stop-motion
a while back. It's wonderful to hear you love Herrmann.
He is my favorite composer as well. My favorite score
by Herrmann is The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (I fell in love
with the recording that is currently available on Varese
Sarabande Records). Citizen Kane is a brilliant score
(as brilliant as the film itself). I love his theme
for rosebud (especially in the closing scene of Kane,
in which the theme has such an emotional and profound
impact on the viewer). I think Vertigo is my favorite
of his Hitchcock work, though they all shine (including
his enthralling North by Northwest).
Herrmann composed I often find immensely motivating
and stirring (his television works included...especially
his Twilight Zone work). Have you read the book "A
Fire At Heart's Center: The Life and Music of Bernard
Herrmann"? It's a must read for all fans of Herrmann.
I haven't read it, but I'd like to. I have a documentary
about him on tape somewhere. There's a shot of him by
his pool, playing with his dog, wearing a suit and tie,
a cigarette hanging out of his mouth, which I found
very ingratiating. There's also footage of him recording
the score for Truffaut's "The Bride Wore Black,"
where Truffaut is being an idiot, overrides Herrmann,
and is just wrong. I think Hitchcock was wrong regarding
dropping Herrmann's music in "Torn Curtain,"
too. It's interesting without the music, but much better
with it. That Hitchcock sent the whole orchestra home,
even though they had already been paid, was supremely
insulting to Herrmann, and showed what a creep Hitchcock
had become in his later years. Although not as well
known as many of his other scores, Herrmann's music
for "The Kentuckian" is terrific.
about to do a Review of "Running Time" for
my site, and was curious if you'd be willing to do a
small Q&A session?
can check us out online at http://www.unrealisticexpectations.com
I'd be happy to.
you discuss films here on the boards, you often speak
of the movie's orchestral score. Do you have any favorite
many. I'm a big fan of Bernard Herrmann, Jerry Goldsmith,
Elmer Bernstein, Jerry Fielding, Alex North, Ernest
Gold, Miklos Rosza, Ennio Morricone. Bernard Herrmann
was the master, and all of his scores from "Citizen
Kane" (his first) to "Taxi Driver" (his
last) are brilliant, with several of Hitchcock's best
films in between, like "North By Northwest,"
"Vertigo," and "Psycho." From a
straight listening standpoint, and all good film scores
are not necessarily listenable, I like Vangelis's score
for "Blade Runner," even though I don't care
for the film.
I haven't seen the Cruise/Spielberg film and if I never
do it may constitute imperical evidence of a benificent
god. I have seen the trailers, however, which depict
highways running along the sides of two-mile high buildings.
From what I understand this movie takes place fifty
years in the future. I don't know how it is in your
neck of the woods but around here it takes almost a
year just to replace an intersection. People who do
"science fiction", allowing generous definition
of that term, seem inevitably to allow too little passage
of time for the changes they purport. Even "2001"
which was well thought out(meaning that it was written
by Clarke)seems to have been set at least a hundred
years too soon. I would think that a rule of thumb might
be; if it looks panoramic it's probably too expensive
to happen. Barring application of that rule, set the
story centuries in the future so no one will have to
think about it. That was one strength of the "Star
Trek" series. This is just an annoyed rant. Thanks.
If Spielberg makes a feature with Russel Crowe they
could call it "A Simple Plot".
favorite example of that is "Frankenstein -- 1970"
made in 1958. I just caught part of "12 Monkeys"
and it's set in 1996, so it was dated within 12 months
of release. As a kid reading sci-fi books, most of the
good ones by Asimov, Heinlein, and Clarke, were set
50,000 to 100,000 years in the future. Asimov's last
book, "Gold," has an entire section of essays
about writing science fiction, and offers logical science
fiction worlds for young SF writers to use as they care
to. As he puts forth, logic is definitely a big part
of sci-fi, and it has almost nothing to do with sci-fi
films. He goes through a wonderful explanation of why
the entire Star Trek world is nonsense, or anything
with humanoid aliens, for that matter. All of the sci-fi
of recent days is aimed at red-neck hicks that think
that aliens travel a zillion light years across the
universe to visit Earth then perform anal probes on
comment about celluloid being used as toilet paper then
sold with an 80 mill marketing budget would be amusing
if it wasnt so truthful. I'm looking at the figures,
and its just sad what audiences run to see nowadays.
The new Adam Sandler movie, which has gotten unanimous
1-star reviews and by all accounts is godawful, is set
to do a huge 40-50 mill. opening weekend based on friday's
numbers. The combined creative IQ on that film probably
averaged in the mid 60s range and yet they have just
become "major hollywood talent", from the
actors to the writer to the director. It almost makes
you nostalgic for the days when an innocently dumb Jim
Carrey movie was successful. Sandler is half the talent
of that guy, just as his movie is half as funny. I could
understand movies by Spielberg and Hanks doing alot
of money over the summer, but when shit like Scooby
Doo and Mr. Deeds are among the biggest moneymakers,
something is really fucked up. Anyway, more bitching
I guess. I'd like to be having an intelligent discussion
on this board about movies made fairly recently but
it seems pointless. Eventually we'll have to run out
of good older movies to discuss and there will be nothing
left. Have you seen anything lately worth discussing?
I haven't seen any reviews put up, so I'm guessing thats
I did, actually. I saw Zhang Yimou's "To Live"
(1994) and "The Road Home" (1999) and I liked
them both. "To Live" is about a couple in
China and we follow their lives through the 1940s, the
1950s, and the 1960s, with the history of China at that
time as a background. The basic concept is that within
every bit of good luck lurks some bad luck, and vice
versa, and ultimately that's just life. "The Road
Home" stars Zhang Ziyi, who was the pretty young
princess in "Crouching Tiger," and it's about
her determination to snag the new school teacher as
her husband. It's very simple, and very well made. Neither
one inspired me to write a review, but I enjoyed them
both. I also very much liked Zhang Yimou's films "Raise
the Red Lantern" and "The Story of Qui Ju."
I think he's one of the few directors working that really
understands human beings and their motivations, as well
as metaphor and allegory.
did you think of Man Bites Dog?
was bored. I didn't care about the characters, and I
can't stand non-stop hand-held camera work. It seemed
like violence for the amusement of violence.
enjoyed your page very much. I do have a comment about
the "Black Hawk Down" review however. Maybe
I misread it but you mentioned that Marines don't leave
their own behind, but ironically a man was left behind.
The ones involved in the operation were Soldiers not
Marines. Also I'd like to say that even though you try
not to leave anyone behind in battle you may not have
a choice or not even realize it at the time. Finally
you mentioned that more soldiers died trying to save
others. That is the nature of the beaste. I would personally
rather die trying to save my buddy than to not try at
all and live with that knowlege the rest of my days.
In combat you do not fight for America, or Demacracy,
or the people back home. You fight for your buddies
on your right and left. That is why men throw themselves
on grenades and rush machine gun bunkers. When you go
through together what combat service men go through
together there is a bond stonger than any other. That
is why it is done and the sacrifice in the eyes of soldiers
is well worth it. Trust me when you know your buddies
won't leave without you it gives you the stength to
sure that's so, but from a command standpoint, if you
keep losing more and more men going back to get the
dead and wounded, that starts to become a very stupid
battle plan. It was a very stupid battle to begin with,
and when things went wrong it just got stupider and
stupider. Yes, I know they weren't Marines, but they
were acting like Marines, and the slogan of the picture
was something like "Leave no man behind,"
and indeed a man was left behind, which the film never
mentions. But worst of all, I didn't care about any
of the soldiers, and that's the worst thing you can
do in a war film.
picked up the drugstore cowboy special edition dvd today
and i just got done it for the first time ever. i really,
really liked it, and i was under the impression that
you liked it as well. what are your thoughts on it particularly?
i didn't see the ending coming at all, and i felt really
bad that he had to die because he was a troubled character
whom you cared about, and that doesn't happen all the
time in drug movies.
bully or hardcore logo yet?
you spend most of your time naked up a tree? I don't
know that Matt Dillon's character does die, he's still
alive at the end of the film. Yes, I like "Drugstore
Cowboy" very much. I think it's believable, has
interesting characters, and is very compelling given
we're watching a story about junkies. I love when Dillon
runs up in the car and suddenly sees cows floating by,
as the "warmage" fills his veins. All of the
actors, Dillon, Lynch, James LeGros, James Remar, are
all at their best. And it's Gus Van Sant's best film
by miles. Yes, I saw "Hard Core Logo." Was
that some kind of practical joke having me see it? If
there's one thing the world absolutely doesn't need
it's a serious version of "This is Spinal Tap."
I really hated it. It's a bunch of ugly, stupid characters
in a fake band playing fake songs. Yuk!