thought I'd write you and hear your thoughts on a recent
situation I had, and the affect it's had on me.
few weeks ago, I was hired as a P.A. on a local low
budget film shoot in the Detroit area. This was my first
paid gig and it had a few semi-known actors in it, so
I was very excited. Well after the first day was over,
I went home aching in pride and body. The body part
I didn't mind and was expected, but the pride part was
tough. I was yelled at and confronted with so many things
that weren’t my fault that my head began to
a few days of this, I came to the conclusion that this
is how it is and I either must live with it or quit.
I decided to stay with it and continue to give a hundred
percent. Well after ten days of the month long shoot
went by, the AD had a talk with me and another PA and
then promptly fired us both. The other PA was awful
and should have been fired, but I couldn't understand
why I was. I was busting my arse, never late, never
sat down and did all and more of what I was asked.
I come home after this, embarrassed and ashamed. I vow
never to let people treat me like that again. Maybe
I wasn't meant to be a PA. I feel I have a great mind
for film. I went to a technical college to strengthen
my knowledge of the tech aspect of filmmaking (which
is still lacking) I know I can succeed on the creative
side of the business, but I am afraid that no one will
ever give me a chance to shine. I temporarily lost my
zest for film but got it back, and now I want to go
full force in the industry with ideas and projects that
sit on my desk and seep out of my mind daily. However,
I don't have the financial resources to do this on my
own or a direct path to follow.
may or may not be a question in there somewhere for
you. I may just need some advice or guidance on where
to go when no one gives you a chance?
a side note: A little bit about me, which may help out.
I am not a spring chicken. Having decided at age twenty
seven that maybe I should stop renting 3 films a day
and go forward with my true passion, which is film.
So I quit my illustrious carpet cleaning job and attended
two colleges and a film school along the way. Now here
I sit, six years later at age 31, with two associate
degrees and really, it seems no further along then when
I started. I know much more, but no doors have opened
for me to pass through and the patience I once had when
starting out has given way to a burning anxiety.
problem is waiting for someone else to give you a break,
which in essence means you're waiting for someone else
to tell you you're okay. This was a big part of my escaping
Hollywood. Since I don't respect any of their opinions
on anything else, why would I accept their opinion of
me? Fuck them and the horse they rode in on. Nobody
has bestowed any movies on me. I bullied my way in,
and made all four of my features out of sheer tenacity.
The film industry doesn't give a rat's ass about me
as a filmmaker -- they are willing to accept me as a
TV director, but I'm not interested -- and, quite frankly,
I don't give a shit what they think. The film industry
has become a business that no longer repects experience,
knowledge, or talent, and honestly believes that their
only job is to make shitty drivel for children. So you
and I need to make our own movies in our own way, and
the hell with them or anyone else. And if you really,
really need to make movies, you'll figure out some way
to make them. What others think of you or your abilities
means nothing. Good luck.
you sound like my Dad talking about rap music. You stick-in-the
caught an interesting film on IFC tonight called "Once
Were Warriors". Have you seen it? It's about a
very dysfunctional Maori family in New Zealand. If you
haven't seen it you should check it out. It might interest
you since you have spent so much time in New Zealand.
I rather enjoyed it. I also caught a charming and delightful
film called "The Sandlot" the other day. This
one's about a group of kids who spend their summer days
playing baseball at a makeshift baseball diamond behind
a junkyard. It seriously cracked me up. The cast of
kids were hilarious. Good stuff.
what's it like getting scurvy?
I've seen "Once Were Warriors." Twice, actually.
And the first time was in New Zealand. I know several
of the cast members: Cliff Curtis, who plays the uncle,
and Sonny Arahanga, the kid with the tatoo on his face
(Moko, as they call it down there). The lead actor,
Temuara Morrison, is the boyfriend of Angela Dotchin,
the lead female in "Jack of All Trades." I've
met Tem, too (he came by the "Jack" set once
when I was there). And yes, it's a powerful film. Not
exactly enjoyable, but powerful.
my father was growing up in the thirties and forties
every kid he knew owned a rifle, usually a .22. Such
a situation today would be unthinkable, because, as
you imply, our society is too immature to handle it.
Interesting how we've regressed.
curious thing is how we combine an obsession with guns
with our demand for litigation. I've mentioned before
that I think torts law will be the drawback to drug
reform. The ebb and flow of gun control laws feed the
legal industry so lucratively, I'd be surprised if any
final resolution is ever attained.
note to Drew; as a life long student, one way or the
other, schools and the education they give are neither
good nor bad. There's nothing wrong with being technically
competent, for instance. Find the good and forget the
bad. Anything else is a waste of your energy and time.
I'm not quite as old as our esteemed Mr. Becker, but
he's right; twenty-one is still just the beginning.
Josh, are you going to do a book tour like your buddy,
certainly will if the book gets published, which remains
to be seen. I must say honestly that I'm weary of the
gun discussion. Guns don't make crimes, but it's not
a great thing have too many guns around. The end.
a previous post you wrote:
"On an historical and ingenuity level, guns intrigue
me. I think they're really clever inventions. But your
average person isn't responsible enough or smart enough
to have them."
believe it was Samuel Clements who said that (seriously
paraphrased here) 'you must never underestimate the
stupidity of your fellow man.' That said, I must say
that the shootings in the US must all be put into the
context in which they occur. The Brady Gun Control folks
lump police shootings, military accidents, and suicides
in with their inflated kill count. In general, most
licensed gun owners are responsible people who dread
ever being forced into the situation where they would
have to pull the trigger. I know I do. But if it came
down to protecting myself and my family - there won't
be any questions, just a puff of smoke, an earsplitting
bang, and the dull thud of a scumbag hitting the boards.
Just my 1.99999 cents there.
the film news side - "The Ghast" (GhostShip
Films) premiere went off with great reviews and is being
sent out to the usual suspects (distributers). I know
you can appreciate this - our 450k budget deal for "Hunters"
is being whittled down by the backers - they want to
drop actual production costs to 150k and do a hold back
for advertising and marketing. Business, business, business....
We can bring this one in for that amount but not the
way we want it. (Shrugs) At least they dropped the 'creative
input' requirement that they wanted.
how is the Western idea coming?
no western at the moment, nor anything else. Most gun
owners probably are responsible people, and that's not
who's shooting each other. But, as Michael Moore arrives
at in "Bowling for Columbine," in a society
this nervous, less guns are probably a better idea than
the political, non-movie related thread - I was glad
to see someone else railing on the notion of Federal
Agents conducting random, unannounced searches of U.S.
citizens within our nation's borders. This is one of
the most horrifying developments in Dubya's so-called
War on Terrorism (War on the Constitution is more like
it...). So much for due process, eh? Bush's America
seems to be heading more and more into a good old fashioned
police state mentality. I know the quote has been trotted
out time and again since the lockdown following 9/11,
but it is a good one and bears repeating until people
get it through their thick skulls: "Those who would
give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary
safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin
Franklin. It would behoove every American to write to
their elected representatives and voice their displeasure
at this sort of nonsense. Your Senators are the ones
to concentrate on immediately, since they're debating
Bush's Homeland Security Bill. You can find a directory
of contact info for Senators here:
you're right on with the notion of legalization. I would
encourage anyone who disagrees with the legalization
of drugs to go back to the history books and look at
a little thing called the Volstead Act. You know - Prohibition?
Remember how well that went? The result was a thriving
criminal underground that got fat and rich off of illegal
liquor sales, average citizens thrown in jail, and no
real decline in alcohol consumption. The parallels with
the War on Drugs are stunningly numerous. One of the
main differences is that the Volstead Act didn't have
proponents in the tobacco, lumber, and pharmaceutical
industry to keep booze illegal. Legalization is smart
- it will free up valuable government resources, create
new money for state and national budgets via taxation
of new products, and reduce drug-related criminal activity.
That's what it's really about. People who think that
all fans of legalization are only in it for the drugs
are deluding themselves and buying into the ill-conceived
arguments of big business lobbyists and religious fanatics.
Honestly, I don't do anything stronger than caffeine,
so the notion that us pro-legalization folks are all
junkies or Deadheads is way off base.
a final movie related note - welcome back to Detroit!
Do you have any projects in the works, or are you still
sort of unpacking? Do you ever talk to Tom Sullivan?
I'd heard that he was thinking about getting back into
films. And lastly - what do you think of the works of
H.P. Lovecraft? Why do you think that so many of the
filmic adaptations of his stories been such dismal failures?
a bunch for your time,
think that H. P. Lovecraft, and his inspiration, E.
A. Poe, used language so well that it's difficult to
translate them to the screen. It's the way they write
that's so good, not necessarily the stories themselves.
Meanwhile, thanks for the info on contacting senators.
Bush really is trying with all his might and minimal
brains to destroy our Bill of Rights. And I also appreciate
your quoting Ben Franklin, who is exactly right. I'm
reading a terrific biography of Franklin right now called
"The First American" by H. W. Brands. He was
a great character, and a great man. Regarding upcoming
projects, I'm just working on getting some bookings
from my film "Hammer," and getting the book
I wrote published. It's out at Harper's Press right
now, so everyone cross your fingers.
have 150 table in sql 7.i want to print the structure
of all table in msword or anyhow.how can i display table
structure to take printout.
have no idea what the hell you're talking about. Clearly,
English isn't your first language. I'm wondering if
it's even your second language.
haven't seen "John Q", nor will I, but I know
its premise. My wife has worked on transplant services
so I know whereof I speak; that situation could never
happen. The entire set up was racist in nature. It does
no one any favors and harms a great many people. There
was a time when film-makers used their films to address
existing problems in society, rather than try to create
new ones. Given African-American's past, very real problems
with the health care system, and the ongoing effects
on treatment and prevention, "John Q" is criminal.
As though blindly stupid weren't enough.
agree, not to mention it's just a plain old bad script.
Dramatically, the whole film drops dead at the end of
act one. Nich Cassavetes certainly isn't following in
his father's footsteps. I also recently watched "Shiner,"
which someone in the Q&A recommended, and that was
crap, too. It has no idea where it's going or why, and
Michael Caine, who is a terrific actor, is forced to
play bug-eyed crazy for two-thirds of the film, which
is highly wearisome. I also watched again "When
We Were Kings," which is a very well-made documentary
and extremely interesting. Muhammed Ali is an amazing
will have to check out "Grass". Hopefully
it will come on again. I dated this jerk-off in college
who used to lecture me about the dangers of smoking
pot. It's an illegal drug, it leads to harder drugs,
blah, blah, blah. He would tell me all this shit while
polishing off his 10th beer. People have really fucked
up attitudes towards pot. I've seen people get drunk
and get in fights with good friends, wreck their cars,
wreck their relationship etc. When my friends and I
hang out and smoke pot we have nothing but an excellent
time. No one fights, no one gets hurt, no one vomits
on the carpet. Last week we got all smoked out and had
this intense conversation about "The Simpsons"
that is making me laugh right now just writing about
disagree with you about hip-hop. I grew up listening
to hip-hop and I love it. I like all kinds of music.
For instance, just like you I am a huge Van Morrison
fan. Saying that it's not music is harsh. Maybe you
haven't really listened to the good stuff like A Tribe
Called Quest, The Beastie Boys, Outkast, The Fugees,
Mos Def. I'm not into the super popular stuff that's
all about "bitches" and money and phat rides
and shit like that. There are hip-hop artists who write
amazing lyrics and who don't sample other people's music.
It's good stuff.
I'm a stick-in-the-mud. But I demand a melody from music,
and without one I don't consider it music. Worst of
all, all rap/hip-hop has the same rhyme scheme:
find it all severely dull. And watching a bunch of these
rap/hip-hop bands at Woodstck 3, in Barbra Kopple's
"My Generation," I find them all offensive,
and if I were a kid I'd have burned the place down,
Long Time No See,
thought I'd drop you a line, since I haven't been able
to write to you in a long time. Since my last posting,
my life has been a downward spiral into a apocalyptic
hell where the windows have been painted black, and
the exit door has been sealed shut. Being only 21 and
still a kid, I know that this might seem a little melodramatic
and overblown, but I can't help myself. I recently dropped
out of school for the second time in my life, and it
seems that it will be the last time I will ever do that.
School, to me, seems like a safety net for people who
are scared to put their foot in the cess pool of life,
because they are afraid of the muck that might become
secured to the bottom of their heel. To be quite honest,
Mr. Becker, I just wasn't learning anything there. All
my life I have wanted to be a filmmaker, and I thought
that school was the place to conquer that dream. But
when I got there, creativity was thrown out of line
in order for the school to utilize it's young talent
to make fire safety videos, and commercials for the
better part of the Nelsonville, Ohio area. They were
teaching us how to be technicians, not filmmakers, and
the juices in my spongy apparatus I call my brain, became
depleted due to the stupidity of what was laid forth
in front of me. I'm scared, Becker, and I just wanted
to know if this is how you felt when you were 21 years
I recently finished Bruce Campbell's book, and is it
true that you got scurvy from eating too much pasta
while staying in L.A.?
everything seems overly dramatic when you're twenty-one.
By the time you reach my adavnced age you'll realize
that nothing means all that much. As Bryan Ferry said,
"We live, we die, we know not why." I never
had any love for school myself and had thrown in the
towel by the time I was twenty. Sam Raimi and Bruce
Campbell both dropped out of college, too. If you really
want to be a filmmaker, then get on it; make films.
If you can convince yourself for any reason that you
shouldn't make films, then you probably shouldn't. When
I was twenty-one I had just bailed out on living in
LA for the second time, came back to Detroit, and worked
on the crew of "Evil Dead." I then spent the
next five years attempting to raise money for a feature
and getting nowhere. With way less money than I really
needed, I went and made TSNKE. I was twenty-five at
that point. I got my second movie made when I was thirty-one,
my third when I was thirty-eight, and my fourth when
I was forty-one. And there's my life. Yes, I did get
scurvy when I was eighteen and first living in Hollywood.
All I ate for a year was macaroni and cheese (which
was fifteen cents a box then). Since then I take vitamins
everyday and I drink a lot of orange juice. Good luck
to you on whatever it is you do.
but I forgot one thing. I did enjoy ROGER & ME,
and agreed with Mr. Moore's views in that film. It's
only recently that he has drifted too left of center
for my taste.
Moore is a dyed-in-the-wool liberal and always has been.
Maybe you're drifting to the right.
will admit that the federal government's war on illegal
drugs is largely ineffective. However, the idea of the
government regulating legal traffic in and, in the case
of addicts, providing drugs, is distasteful to me. It
smacks of bread and circuses: the government pacifying
the population while becoming all the more tyrannical.
On another subject, I have read your views on handguns,
as well as the opinions of contributors writing about
them here. I had avoided writing about this earlier,
as the gun topic often bitterly polarizes people. However,
I would like to voice my opinion now.
I am a gun owner and a member of the National Rifle
Association. I have a pistol permit for the state of
Connecticut and own two handguns, either of which I
carry fairly regularly. My purpose for owning these
weapons is two-fold: recreation (sport-shooting at the
firing range) and self-defense.
It is the point of handguns and self-defense that I
would like to expound on. Most handguns used in crimes
are either stolen or bought illegally on the black market;
only a small percentage are used by legitimate owners
for felony purposes. Those who use guns, legally or
illegally owned, for a crime, are criminals, and should
be punished. The gun-owning population at large is not
to blame for the actions of a few individuals.
As for the carrying of handguns, I see no drastic problem
with it. The police cannot be everywhere at once, nor
are they legally required to provide individual protection
to citizens. Violent crime can happen anywhere, at any
time: the notion of "safe" and "unsafe"
areas or neighborhoods is a farce. Since it is not convenient
to carry rifles about, handguns provide a means of portable
I understand your concern about individuals with different
temperaments having access to weapons. However, when
in our history has ready access to arms led to catastrophic
violence on a large scale? The gunfights of the Old
West were nowhere near as numerous as Hollywood would
have us think, and even our one revolution and one civil
war followed rules of order.
My point is that the average gun-owner is not to blame
for the criminal misuse of weapons, and to disarm him
is to make him prey to the deprivations of the criminals.
Most of us are extremely responsible with our weapons,
particularly now when our right to have them has never
been under greater attack. We are not the enemy, nor
even the problem. The problem is a federal government
that passes gun laws to fool the people into thinking
that they are doing something about crime, while contriving
to make them helpless against it. This post is overly
long, so I'll cut it short and await your reply before
continuing. You'll more than likely disagree with me
(as is your right), but thank you anyway for allowing
me to express my view.
you illustrate, the point of a handgun is to be able
to conceal it, and without that permit it's illegal
to carry a concealed weapon. I wouldn't have a problem
if everybody who wanted to have a handgun had to have
a concealed weapons permit. But why do we have over
11,500 shootings a year here in the U.S. when every
other major country in the world has between 50-200?
I'm asking you? I drove a taxi cab in Detroit for a
few years and almost every cab driver had a gun. It
was highly recommended to me to get one, but I didn't.
I felt that my chances of shooting someone, which I
really and truly don't want to do, would go up by 100%
if I owned a gun. Instead, I did my best to be cheerful
and pleasant to one and all that rode in my cab. While
others drivers were held up, robbed, and in two cases,
shot, I had no trouble at all. Quite frankly, in many
cases I think having a gun makes the owner act like
an asshole and think they're Charles Bronson in "Death
Wish." On an historical and ingenuity level, guns
intrigue me. I think they're really clever inventions.
But your average person isn't responsible enough or
smart enough to have them. And I think your bread and
circuses comment is foolish. People with addictions
are a health issue and need to be treated. That's not
mollifying the masses, it's dealing with a needy part
of the population. And guess what? They count as much
as everybody else.
your comment on "John Q," what do you think
(if you care to speculate on another person's motives)
would be the reason that Washington took the role? If
it was some low-profile actor who needed a paycheck,
we could assume that, yes, it was intended as a stab
at black people, but this is Denzel. I'm sure he saw
something totally different in the script. Maybe it
wasn't intended the way you took it, and maybe the majority
of the audience also saw it as having a positive message.
Of course, your opinion and mine are the only ones I
have of the movie, so this is pure conjecture. It just
doesn't seem to make sense.
was just speculating on this yesterday with a friend
of mine, and sadly, our conclusion was -- money. They
offered Denzel his asking price, whatever it is ($3
million? $4 million?) and he took it. There aren't very
many good roles out there, particularly for black leading
men, and this one offered him a chance to act all over
the place. I kind of get a sense that nobody, not Washington,
Nick Cassavetes the director, or Robert Duvall, actually
asked "And what's the point of all this?"
They just took it, and went with it. I thought it was
a particularly offensive, illogical, and assinine script.
That he takes a hospital hostage at gunpoint so his
kid can get on the list for a heart transplant is just
stupid. From the first second they should have just
said, "Yep, he's on the list, and we'll fax it
to you." But instead they're saying inane shit
like, "Do you know how hard it is to get on that
list?" Also, that the evil police chief, played
by Ray Liotta, has a SWAT sniper attempt to shoot him,
but only nicks his arm, then falls out of the air vent,
is a new low in stupid plot twists. And when will bad
screenwriters get it through their thick heads you can't
realistically crawl through air vents, they're too small
for humans and are held together with duct tape. Anyway,
you'd like to believe that fine actors like Washington
and Duvall don't just take pictures for the money, but
they do. Why else was Duvall in "Days of Thunder,"
"Newsies," "Geronimo: An American Legend,"
"The Paper," "Phenomenon," "Deep
Impact," "Gone in Sixty Seconds" and
"The Sixth Day"? Actors gotta eat, too.
outfit landed on guadalcanal as soon as an air strip
was availaable. we were the 82nd engineering squadron
--6th air service group. my grand son in college is
writing about me in the service and wants to know which
air foce we were with. all I know is what i wrote above.
can you help or head me in the right direction? thanks
you mean, Army Air Force or Navy Air Force? Was this
before or after the Guadalcanal Death March? As far
as I know, that was a seriously tough landing. I'm sorry,
I'm no expert at such things. Try writing to American
Heritage Magazine at firstname.lastname@example.org,
been out a while and there doesn't seem to be much movie
talk lately, just political chatter. Is this still a
any news on "Hammer"? After only one viewing,
I still vividly recall several moments of that film.
It really is an accomplished work.
recently seen what I consider to be one of the best
films ever made and what to know if you've seen it...Herzog's
"Strozek". I was caught so off guard, perhaps
that can account partially for my reaction, but still
everything's there and I've already become deaf to any
argument against the picture. Great story, amazing performances
(typical, in my opinion, of most Herzog films) and some
of the most excellent photography I've ever seen. But
most of all, I carried for days after, a strange feeling
that the people in the movie were real and still alive.
I even would kind of wonder if they were still in America
or not, in the film! It really got me. What a film!
now eagerly awiting the DVD of his new picture "Invincible,"
which recieved a brief theatrical run in September to
a rush of rave reviews...His first narrative feature
since "Cobra Verde," in '87 (which I also
heard you really mention Herzog's work. I've just recently
"discovered" his stuff and haven't seen a
film of his yet that I wouldn't call unforgettable.
sort of surprised to hear you left OR. Will you be getting
a project up easier now that you're back in Detroit?
a good one.
haven't seen "Strozek." I liked "The
Mystery of Kasper Hauser," which also stars Bruno
S. I also enjoyed "Aguirre, the Wrath of God."
"Fitzcarraldo" bored me to tears. I also liked
"My Best Fiend," about Herzog's relationship
to the insane Klaus Kinski. I've met Werner Herzog a
few times at Anchor Bay parties and he's a very friendly
guy. Anyway, I certainly hope I can get a film going
here. Answering a previous question about "Hammer,"
I may have some theatrical bookings coming up. I'll
let you all know if and when they happen.
would just like to add something to the discussion that's
been going on. My father is a pretty darn conservative
guy. His opinions are strong and finite. A total Republican.
He's also a Vietnam Vet who can't stand guns. He always
told us that if the average person could see first hand
what a gun does to a human being they would want nothing
to do with these silly hunks of metal. The last time
he even touched a gun was the day that he was discharged
from the Army. He turned his weapon in and never looked
back. And my Dad is the most gung ho, patriotic American
that you would ever want to meet.
with that said can we start talking about movies again?
I saw "8 Mile" and I want my friggin' money
back! Eminem was actually very good but Curtis Hanson
has got to be one of the worst piece of shit directors
around. That's all I have to say. The film is not even
worth talking about. I guess this isn't a very good
way to start a discussion about films. Sorry, my brain
is fried from writing script coverage.
bet it is. I wouldn't see "8 Mile" on a bet,
and I'm now in Detroit where it was filmed. The "hip-hop
culture" is garbage and not worth looking into
in any way. It's not music, it audio detritus. And I
won't spend one second of my life watching Eminem. Curtis
Hanson goes up and down. This film was an obvious manuever
to appeal to the youth and make money. Period. That's
not a decent motivation to me and I won't support it.
Meanwhile, I saw kind of an interesting documentary
last night on Sundance called "Grass," which
I thought was going to be the 1925 silent documentary
by Merian Cooper and Ernest Schoedsack, but is instead
a 1999 Canadian film about the history of marijuana
laws. It was interesting seeing it all in chronological
order, the amount of money that's been wasted trying
to stop it, and the demonization pot goes through regularly
when there's absolutely no reason for it.
happen to agree with you that legal access to drugs
is the only way out of the mess we're currently in.
But I still think it's an immensely complex problem.
Unlike the Netherlands, our society has no universal
healthcare, the system which distributes drugs in the
Netherlands. Nor do we have the tort protections the
Dutch have. Their ceilings for pain and suffering pale
by comparison to ours. What was the recent ruling for
the lung cancer patient? Twenty Billion dollars? I know
she won't get that much but still. It seems unlikely
that insurance companies will cover any costs associated
with drugs; they would use marijuana use as an out for
covering heart attacks. Nor will the AMA ever sanction
legalizing drugs until their doctors are protected against
all liabilities, direct and indirect. As soon as some
Republican giving $50,000 a year to the party loses
his twenty-year old former prom queen daughter to a
drug related accident every elected official in the
world will want stronger drug controls. That's the sort
of complexity I worry about. Justifiably or not, we
will have to change the way we approach liability before
we can seriously consider opening access to most drugs.
That having been said, I do think it has to happen.
The current cost is too high, particularly, as you say,
for minorities and is grounded in theology rather than
do think, by the way, that current social segregation
is consensual. Not economic or physical, but social
segregation. Our country has opted for multi-culturalism
rather than the melting pot. Separate but equal is now
the desired social outcome. I find it unfortunate, but
also think it is likely to change. We have too much
in common and too much at stake to long maintain disparate
don't have to post this if you'd rather not. This site
is supposed to be a movie forum and I don't want to
drag it astray, though I think the subject is interesting
and vital. I strongly agree with you that race relations
are the number one issue facing our country, Iraq and
Korea being small, distant blurs. I do respect your
opinions and share them to a large degree, though I
suspect I am more pessimistic than you about the pathway
to change. Anyway, thanks as always for sharing your
thoughts and opinions, and for taking the time to read
was movies that brought us into politics, so here we
are. I think it's an interesting, stimulating discussion.
Having moved back to Detroit from the predominately
white area of Oregon, I like it a lot better being among
more people of color. If I go to the IHOP across the
street, I will frequently find that I am the only white
customer there, and it doesn't bother me at all. My
good friend here was attempting to start a business
in downtown Detroit recently, and he said that the only
people he enjoyed working with were the black people.
They showed up on time, seemed like they cared, and
dressed well. He said that almost all of the white people
he was working with were irresponsible, didn't show
up on time, and looked like slobs. Where I grew up,
about six miles south of here, the nearby all-night
restaurant was always evenly divided between 33% whites,
33% blacks, and 33% Arabs, and even though each group
basically stayed to themselves, they all got along fine.
Here in Detroit there is the largest Arab population
anywhere outside of the middle-east, as well as a large
Jewish population, and there are no problems between
them. That means that the problems are not inherent.
A lot of the money for our early super-8 films was put
up by Arab store-owners who simply couldn't have been
nicer or more supportive.
BOWLING FOR COLUMBINE a Michael Moore film? I'll have
to check for it on NETFLIX and get my bearings.
Politically, I have to say that I am opposed to much
of what Mr. Moore has said in recent years. I lean much
more towards the right, although I am for legalizing
Incidentally, you're absolutely right when you say that
it is a far less dangerous drug than alcohol (although
I do like my beer). However, I disagree with the notion
of making the harder drugs legal, most particularly
if it should follow Holland's example (the conservative
in me fumes at the idea of paying taxes to support a
junkie's habit). If a workable formula could be worked
out, I would suggest trying it on a limited scale (say,
in one city at first). That way, the concept could be
tested without national ramifications should it prove
unworkable. Would you say that is reasonable?
In a related subject, what would you consider an example
of a good film with a political theme? It seems to me
to be a difficult topic to work with; it either becomes
slanted to the left or right, or else it turns into
a documentary. Do any titles come to mind?
rather support the much more expensive war on drugs,
with all of its infringements on our civil liberties,
than give a very small percentage of the population
heroin? I think that's crazy. It would save the tax-payers
billions of dollars every year. It's also a helluva
lot cheaper to give junkies their fix than to put them
in prison. It's both a money-saving and humanitarian
solution to the problem. Personally, I don't care if
someone needs insulin or heroin, just give it to them.
The number of junkies in Holland dropped by about 90%
once it was a medical issue and was no longer a cool
thing to do. I also agree with Mr. Moore on the theme
of his first two films, "Roger & Me" and
"The Big One," in that if a company starts
in America, hires ten workers who work really hard and
the company posts a profit, then they hire more American
workers and post another profit, then they move all
of their plants to third-world countries and put all
of their American workers out of work, they're unpatriotic,
unAmerican assholes. You absolutely do owe something
back to your community and your country. If you intentionally
screw your own community, you're a scumbag. Just posting
bigger and bigger profits is not the only point to life.
It's also painfully short-term thinking.
politcal movies, obviously whoever writes it will put
forth their point of view. There's "The Front,"
about blacklisting; there's "JFK," about conspiracies;
there's "The Best Man," about political in-fighting;
there was the recent "Path to War," about
the Lyndon Johnson administration (with the absurd premise
that Johnson would have been one of our great presidents
had there not been a Vietnam War -- but there was a
Vietnam War, and he made all the wrong decisions). There's
"Judgement at Nuremburg," about the Nuremburg
trials of judges. There's tons of them.
name is Jonathan Williams. I am the great,great nephew
of David Marshall Williams inventor of the carbine rifle.
You list "Carbine Williams" as one of your
favorite movies. I can't find this movie anywhere! Jimmy
Stewart doesnt list it under his filmography!! Am I
just plain dumb. Do you have a copy? Does this movie
really exist? Thanks, Jonathan
film certainly does exit, and I've seen it several times.
It shows on TV pretty regularly. I couldn't find it
on the internet to buy, though, and I don't have a copy
myself. I do love that Williams invented the carbine
rifle while he was in prison.
found it! It's available at Video
Rarities for $25. Also, you may be interested in
Fawcett Movie Comic #19 (October 1952), "James
Stewart as Carbine Williams," currently available
agree with your article to a certian extent, although
getting rid of handguns would probably decrease the
number of violence and killings in this great nation,
would it make you feel any better if people were killed
with a rifle or knife, because the fact of the matter
is, that the gun did not put that person in jail nor
did it kill that other person, he himself that pulled
the trigger done that, if a person is determined to
kill or commit a crime he or she doesn't need a handgun,
theres too many knives, rifles and potato guns to get
the job done, your not going to get rid of violence
with abolishing handguns, you might get rid of violence
if you abolished all firearms completely, then all the
stupid americans "as you call them" would
fall back on the old cowboys rival, grab a bow and arrow
and kill the mofo, so in my opinion you dunno WTF you
are talking about and some advise that my father told
me "it's better to be thought a fool, than to open
your mouth and prove it", WRITE THAT DOWN and read
it the next time you start to write another lain brain
article and post it on the internet....THANKS AND HAVE
A GREAT DAY!!!!!!!!!!
intelligence simply exudes from your letter. Maybe you
ought to read a little bit and check a few facts, if
you've learned to read yet. Nobody is killing anybody
else in this country with knives, spears, or bow and
arrows, at least, not since we put all the Indians on
reservations. The problem with handguns is that it makes
shooting people so damn easy. It's an entirely different
issue to step right up to someone and kill them with
a knife. And 99% of the shootings in this country to
not occur with single-shot hunting rifles -- it's either
handguns, or semi-automatic weapons, or illegal automatic
weapons. Having spent a great deal of time in New Zealand,
where rifles are legal and handguns are illegal, guess
what? Nobody gets shot. Even the cops don't have handguns,
and it's a much safer atmosphere. This sort of thinking
is fundamental, it's not brain surgery, dear lain brain.
i would like to ask you is ;
did you become a director and do you write your own
scripts? , if you do how did you get noticed?
you for your time
hope to hear from you soon
you ought to look around the website a little bit before
asking such obvious questions.
Cynthia E. Jones
Does no one seem to recognize that the vast percentage
of prison inmates are there because of our ridiculous
"war on drugs?" Especially with laws like
"Three strikes" where the third offense lands
jail time (20 years + in some cases) with ridiculous
"crimes" like possession of an ounce of weed.
This is the main issue here, think prohibition and the
mafia. I know that our government loves it 'cos it's
a cash cow, but the obscene double standard has got
to go. "Legitimate" drug companies like Glaxo
Smith-Wellcome and Pfizer help fund our government,
getting them to pass drugs like Viagra without sufficient
testing (while AIDS drugs still are on the back burner),
and encouraging our kids to get on Ritalin at the age
of 6. Somebody, PLEASE tell me why it's okay to sell
AK-47s but not okay to sell a joint. Anyone? The battle
is here. Iraq has nothing to do with our country's problems.
a little note, if you have two felonies, then commit
a misdemeanor, that's considered a felony and you've
got three strikes. There are many people in prison for
20 years plus for stealing something like a pack of
gum. It was just in the newspaper here in Detroit yesterday
that they are now going to begin random traffic stops
to check for terrorists, weapons, and drugs, because
we're near the northern border. The terrorists hate
our way of life and all our freedoms, and very easily
got us to start suspending them. So they won, and continue
to win everytime we tighten up our security and lose
our freedom. And since Bushes Jr. & Sr, are both
in bed with big oil, which ultimately means Saudi Arabia,
no matter what they say they're really supporting terrorism.
This whole bullshit ad campaign that "Drugs support
terrorism" is particularly offensive. Drugs don't
support terrorism, big oil does. The Saudis fianance
the terrorists, and we finance the Saudis by not even
attempting to cut back on our oil consumption. And starting
a war with Iraq is infinitely easier than facing any
of our internal problems.
was unclear; the 1994 numbers were for fatal shootings.
The total number of shootings was about three times
I agree with you about the racist nature of current
drug laws, the question of how to address the situation
is, I find, problematic. Those who believe that simply
removing prohibitions against currently illegal drugs
will solve the problem fail, I think, to see the complexity
of the problem.
current difficulty lies in the fact that Blacks are
far more likely to combine drug offenses with violence.
That's a question of socio-economics. It does seem reasonable
to separate violent from non-violent offenders but such
a policy will always lead to racial disparity. Until
the economic situation of Blacks is addressed, I don't
see an answer to that disparity. Fortunately, Blacks
are moving into the middle class at a higher rate than
any other group and are already 60% middle class. That
trend needs to continue.
mention young Blacks having nothing to look forward
to than a lifetime in prison. My experience has been
that many young Black men see prison as a sort of retirement.
Stay out, for the most part, until you reach twenty-five
or thirty, then live the rest of your life in. I'm not
saying most feel that way, by any means, but too many
do. That same minority also enjoys the demonized image
of Black men, compounding the problem.
really think your final point there is bullshit. It's
a white person's rationale for not having to feel bad
about sending so many young black men to prison. I also
disagree about the "complexity" of removing
drug prohibition. If people want to get stoned, and
clearly they do, let them. What's the problem? It's
this Christian, bible-belt POV that says if good Christians
can't have fun, then no one can have any fun. Flatly,
prohibition causes crime. If you want to be a junkie
in Holland, you're allowed, and the government will
supply you with your fix everyday at a clinic, administered
by a doctor with a clean syringe. Suddenly, there's
no problem with heroin in that country. And the second
you make it a health issue, which is what it is, it
becomes highly unappealing to the young. If being a
junkie is akin to being a diabetic, kids won't rush
to join in. And the legalization of pot just makes too
much sense, and would get a lot of innocent people out
of institutions where their lives are threatened for
no good reason. I absolutely believe that alcohol is
a much more dangerous drug than pot.
make a good point about how the majority of our gun
deaths are from black on black shootings, but I don't
think Mike ignored that fact because it didn't support
his argument. To me at least, he seemed more interested
in the fact that white Americans have a deep-seeded
fear of the black male that is promoted by ratings-hungry
news organizations. You know, as ignorant a man as Charlton
Heston is, he made a reasonable point about how race
plays a big part in gun violence. Unfortunately, he
missed the greater point. Gun violence is not a result
of black people going after rich white people, but rather
a result of a rich white government that is not actively
working to improve the plight of the poor in this country.
They're too busy lining their own pockets with oil money
and polluting our air. We're a violent country because
we have a media and a government that promotes fear
of the very people that it should be trying to help.
disagree with Michael's socialist leanings, but we can't
ignore the fact that poverty, racial fear, and horribly
misguided welfare programs will lead to the demise of
this country. Ignorance of these things will not make
them go away, just as ignorance of pollution will not
make global warming go away. It really scares me that
a guy that defines ignorance is running things right
now, and has basically free reign to do whatever he
wants. For awhile there his stupidity was kept in check,
but the bullshit that is going to go through the next
2 years will be astonishing. I just hope there are more
people like Michael Moore to call out the government
in this time. The ability to question our government,
even in times of "war", is an idea that our
country was founded upon. Unfortunately, I'm seeing
this less and less. At a time when the Democrats are
most needed, I see them bending over, and since I don't
want to move to Europe any time soon, that really concerns
concerns me too. It was a brilliant cut in "Bowling"
from the sheriff of Sarnia, Ontario, who says that to
improve society you have to improve the lives of the
poor, make laws more just, and look out for your own
people (he got a round of applause from the audience
I saw it with), then it cuts to Bush Jr. saying we have
to go to war against the "evil-doers." How
must the rest of the world view us when the second we
envision that events in the middle-east will cause gas
prices to rise here, we go in and bomb the shit out
of as many civilians as humanly possible? I think we
come off as the evil-doers.
hope you and your cats made it back to Detroit in one
saw another one of your Xena eps recently and was once
again impressed. I don't know the title of the episode
but it was the one where Xena, Gabrielle and Joxer are
all put under a spell by Aphrodite. Very funny stuff!
Lucy Lawless is a trip. And once again Ted Raimi cracked
me up with his ape man routine. The part with him calling
upon the animals of the jungle was classic. Cutting
to the stock footage of the animals was a great and
hilarious touch. Were you torturing your buddy by making
him wear that pink nightgown?
me, it was in the script. It's actually funnier than
I thought it would be. Ted and I came up with that scene
up in the tree right there, and I decided to add in
all the stock shots later. It was called "Fins,
Femmes & Gems," BTW.
wouldn't go so far as to call either Bush a criminal,
but I do have mixed feelings about another war with
Iraq, especially since I can expect to take part in
the conflict. It doesn't seem to be the direction to
take in order to eliminate Osama bin Laden or those
As for celebrities flaunting the law, they are a mere
symptom of a larger problem with the justice system
in this country. The main problem as I see it is a fundamental
flaw in legal thinking: the idea that the criminal has
rights. So much emphasis is placed on the rights of
the convicted and the accused that the rights of the
victim are often entirely ignored, to the point where
it seems that the victim is now blamed for allowing
the criminal to commit the crime. Individual responsibility
for one's actions is no longer stressed, and the rules
are constantly bent or made exception to. This destroys
respect for the law as a whole, allowing more exceptions
and establishing a vicious circle of decline. I'm sorry
to drag the topic so far off of movies, but I had to
it was a movie, "Bowling for Columbine," that
inspired this thread, so let's go with it. To keep it
on movies, society and politics, I just saw "John
Q" last night and really disliked it. It's another
half-assed theoretical crowd-pleaser based on a really
ugly premise -- if you can't get what you want from
society, buy a gun, take innocent people hostage and
threaten to kill them, then everything will be all right.
And even though Denzel Washington is ostensibly the
good guy, it's still a black man with a gun threatening
whites to get what he wants. The demonization continues.
And I stick with both Bushes being criminals. Junior
has already discontinued the right of habeas corpus,
which we're assured of in the Bill of Rights, and he's
suspended the right to see presidential papers, undoubtedly
to cover his father because if we really saw what senior
was up to he would be reviled forever as our worst president.
last shooting stats I looked at were for 1994 in the
annual FBI statistics book. Those numbers confirm what
you said. Of the roughly 11,000 shootings of that year
almost exactly half were Whites shooting Whites, and
half were Blacks shooting Blacks. As Blacks represent
about one sixth the population that Whites do, that
means they're shooting each other at six times the rate
that Whites are shooting themselves. Inter-racial shootings
numbered a few hundred. The most amazing, and to me
telling statistic, was that, of those 11,000 shootings,
right around 350 were judged in court to be justifiable
(i.e. self-defense). I don't remember the numbers, but
the overwhelming preponderance of the shootings were
by handguns; better than ninety percent, I believe.
my opinion that all of this represents a perverse cost-benefit
decision. Enough Americans feel that 11,000 lives a
year are worth the right to own handguns which will
be used for self-defense >0.35% of the time. We lost
58,000 in Vietnam over the course of a decade. We lose
almost twice that at home today in the same space of
shootings, not killings. As a little historical note,
as many Americans were killed in car accidents in 1971
as in the entire Vietnam war. Nevertheless, as Michael
Moore suggests, in a country where everyone so damn
nervous, having so many guns around is probably not
a good idea. As a black male in the U.S., you don't
have the American dream to look forward to, you've got
a stretch in jail to look forward to. And since the
predominate crime of these black men is drugs, you'd
think some of the black leaders might be objecting to
our drug laws as racist, but they're not. As far as
I'm concerned, that whole situation is far more important
than Iraq or terrorists.
you interested in solving the problem of independent
movie distribution? If so, I'd like to correspond with
not a movie maker (other than amatuer home movies) but
I have some marketing experience and I enjoy this sort
of challenge). I would enjoy discussing this challenge.
And, we might just come up with a solution. Some of
my initial thoughts are below.
I agree with everything you said in your editorial.
Too little effort is put into scripts. Ironic, since
the script is, minute for minute, the cheapest part
of the movie. It's the foundation.
seems like the problem of indy distribution is really
about MARKETING or building a BUZZ about a movie, not
about distributing it.
so, that problem might be easier to tackle than the
problem of distribution. I.e., if you could get build
demand for your movie, you could at least distribute
it through somethign like "dvd online rental",
which doesn't seem to have any of your movies.
(I'm not saying that your movies don't deserve being
in thier inventory, but if they got more request for
it they might. Or you could rent it yourself).
you might use "rent by mail" as a PLATFORM
Once enough people were trying to rent it from you online,
perhaps you could expand to other venues (other DVD
rental services online, then blockbuster, etc.)
some thoughts. If you're seriously interested in discussing
some solutions, it might be interesting. If not I understand.
You're a busy guy. Good luck with the Indy work.
Someone who like a movie with a good script
would like to solve the problem of indie distribution,
but I don't want to start my own internet DVD rental
service. And I agree with you that the big issue is
creating an awareness of your film, which is a very
big issue. I still haven't sold the first 100 copies
of my film, "If I Had a Hammer," mainly, I
believe, because no one's ever heard of it. And most
of the places I've sent it to to be reviewed -- Aint
it Cool, FilmCritic.com, FilmThreat -- haven't bothered
to review it. I guess they're all too busy re-reviewing
"Spider-Man" and "Lord of the Rings"
now that they're out on DVD.
this is not going to work Josh. The Gov. is still trying
to interfere with my civilan life. Please Tell Hudson
I Love Her and give her my Web page address. Http://www.angelfire.com/gundam/pentangle
And I would never use a friend like this but I don't
have much choice right now, sorry Josh I Need a real
job right now I'm only makeing 15 grand a year I don't
care make me the next Keven or Mike make me Fearhad
or Greymouser if you like. Just something that can give
me an income of 50-89 grand so I can finally move out
of WY and buy a house in CA and something that can give
me a fan mail address so that the people I LOVE can
find me anywhere on earth. Josh you konw you'll never
find a beter sword than a white sash red mark from Tasherio's
Kendo School Japan.
Take care my old friend
Hudson's only Love
you writing from a mental hospital?
you know of any female boom operators? I'm wondering
if it's completely crazy for a woman to consider attempting
a profession populated with tall, beefy men. Even if
a gal were to strengthen her biceps and learn everything
there is to know about achieving good production sound,
I fear that most mixers (who need to be absolutely convinced
that every member of their team is capable and dependable)
feel more comfortable hiring strapping men.
never seen a female boom operator, but I have no doubt
a woman could do the job. In the course of my professional
life I've seen women infiltrate a number of predominately
male film positions, like that of camera assistants.
Women have always been in editing, interestingly. And
most negative conformers over the years were generally
women. As well as script supervisors, formerly called
script girls. And it's not like a boom is all that heavy,
really. Go for it.
your Enemy of the State review you said "And this,
by the way, is a good Jerry Bruckheimer movie, because
it at least makes sense (unlike, say, "The Rock")."
I was wondering why you felt The Rock didn't make sense.
I know the movie is absurd in many ways but I felt it
made sense in the fictional world of an action movie
shot by a music video director.
you saw "The Informer," eh? Anyway, terrorists
take a prison? Let them have it. Tell them to lock themselves
in and toss out the key. And Ed Harris and his guys,
wronged Special Service vets from Vietnam who I felt
far more sympathy and empathy for than the good guys,
are going to escape by helicopter? From Alacatraz? Where
the hell do they think they can get from there in a
helicopter? There certainly wouldn't be able to make
it out of the country. It patently idiotic.
just wanted to let you know that I have enjoyed many
of your writings on this site. I am working on a re-write
of my first script and I have found your words to be
very inspiring in this effort.
thanks for the time you have spent documenting your
knowledge and artistic goals. Good luck with your future..
I'm happy to help. Good luck with your script.
wasn't talking about Wynona Ryder as an individual;
rather, I was talking about the alarming trend in this
country of the wealthy and the famous being able to
openly flaunt the law. Well, whatever. She got away
with her few hundred hours of community service, and
the U.S. legal system erodes a little bit more because
On a lighter note, I happened to see one of my favorite
movies the other night: TIME AFTER TIME, with Malcolm
McDowell and David Warner. The premise is a little bit
absurd, I grant you (H.G. Wells invents a time machine,
then his friend, who happens to be Jack the Ripper,
uses it to escape to the future), but to see two first-rate
actors like McDowell and Warner go head to head entertains
me to no end. It just goes to show that classically
trained actors can lend credibility to almost any premise
or script. As I recall, that's why George Lucas pushed
so hard to get Alec Guiness for STAR WARS; he lends
an undeniably serious note to what could have easily
been a high-budget version of an Ed Wood flick. Perhaps
that's why American studios have always been anxious
to hire talented British actors. Any thoughts on this?
properly, classically trained British actors are a joy
to watch in movies. This trend of casting them as Americans,
however, is a mistake. Casting British actors as American
presidents is an even bigger mistake. Hopkins fails
miserably as Nixon, and Michael Gambon as Lyndon Johnson
in Frankenhiemer's last film, "Path to War,"
can't do a Texas accent to save his life. Laurence Olivier
could never pull off an American accent, either. On
the other hand, watching the 1953 "Julius Caesar,"
only the British actors are succeeding in their parts.
Poor Marlon Brando is completely over his head the whole
film, and Louis Calhern isn't faring much better.
you earlier subject, I don't think movie actors are
particularly responsible for eroding the U.S. legal
system. I think much more responsibility can be laid
at the feet of criminals like George Bush Jr. and Sr.
who seriously believe that killing foreigners is far
preferable to helping U.S. citizens lead better lives.
Let's face it, Bush Sr. is responsible for a killing
a lot more innocent people than the 9/11 terrorists.
Nearly 5,000 Panamanians were killed for absolutely
no reason when we illegally kidnapped Noriega. Now junior
wants to be the aggressor, like the Japanese at Pearl
Harbor, and start a war with Iraq. It's a crime.