and I almost forgot.....Is it possible to find a copy
of Within The Woods anywhere?
I haven't had any luck.
don't think there are any copies of it around. It was
shown too much in super-8 and got chewed to pieces.
Dear Mr. Becker,
of your experience on the Evil Dead shoot, do you have
any advice for a film maker who has so much passion
but no money as of yet? I respect your work and your
Thanks for your time,
get the money. Passion alone doesn't mean shit in the
film business. If you can't get the money, you can't
make any movies. So get on it.
bought 'Stryker's War' (which I think is the better
title) last week from Amazon.Com and watched it for
the first time Friday night. I really, really enjoyed
the movie. Joe LoDuca's score is amazing and I personally
really enjoyed Sam's performance. The commentary track
with you and Bruce is great as well. Lots of good tidbits
of info on that one. (Especially about Scott's love
of props! My only complaint is that I wish he'd been
on the commentary track as well.) Okay, enough ass-kissing!
Ha! Just wanted you to know how much I enjoyed it. Oh,
just one question: Excuse my ignorance, but what does
'DGA' stand for? Thanks!
stands for Director's Guild of America. I called Scott
to be part of the commentary, but he didn't call me
back. Scott was definitely a prop fanatic. He managed
to slip oddball props into the background of all of
our short films, like boxes of Quisp and Quake, and
old Seven-Up bottles, and the like.
some level I do believe you have to make your own luck.
If you wait to be lucky, or wait to have someone help
you, you can end up waiting the rest of your life. I've
never gotten a financing deal on a movie, but I've bullied
my way through four films now. On the whole, I'd have
to say I've never been a particularly lucky person.
I was always the one getting caught, I was generally
the one getting hurt, and I've never been in love. I'm
not trying to intimate I've been particularly unlucky,
either, but certainly not lucky. Nevertheless, I've
been bullheaded enough and determined enough to get
at least some of what I've wanted from life, and that's
because I made my own luck."
that's what I meant by the phrase "you make your
own luck" being a half truth. Sure, you've bulled
your way through things despite the obstacles that have
come your way-and that is certainly the way to do it.
Part of achieving anything in life is getting off your
ass and doing shit-regardless of how you feel. You get
up in the morning and motivate yourself to get things
done. And I admire the fact that you don't let failure
get in the way. You keep trying, and that is an admirable
there still have to be people to open doors. All the
bull-headedness in the world doesn't mean squat if people
aren't willing to assist you at key points along the
way. The fact that some of these idiotic studios don't
want to distribute some of your films is exactly what
I'm talking about. So, while some people have helped
you at key points, others have slammed the door in your
face. You can control what you do, but you can't control
how other people think.
the phrase should be reworded as-"You make your
own luck-to an extent."
the end though-as long as one give it his/her all, and
is pushing themselves 110%, at least some satisfaction
can be taken in that. And you certainly seem to do that.
In life, we have to take what we can get, in terms of
in filmmaking there are many other people you have to
work with and depend on. I was lucky to have a partner
on the last two films, my co-producer Jane Goe, but
she didn't raise any money or put the deals together,
she just helped get the films made, which I would have
gotten made in any case. She made my life a lot easier,
though. But there are so many people sitting around
Hollywood waiting for the phone to ring it's pathetic.
That's part of why I left, I couldn't sit there staring
at the phone anymore.
E-mail: still secret
the phone! I couldn't bear it if you got contentious
with me! I take it back, I take it back!
LOL, seriously, I agree with you woleheartedly that
Jim Carrey is set on annoying overdrive, particularly
in efforts like "The Mask" and "Pet Detective".
And there wasn't one second of "Liar, Liar"
I liked, just wasn't funny at all.
But I won't hesitate to admit that those two characters,
Lloyd and Harry, in "Dumb and Dumber" I found
to be pee-in-my-pants funny. (Peter Farrelly directed,
whose work I recall you don't like.)
you enjoyed Herbert Lom as the ex-boss of Clouseau and
the death ray gun the most out of the Pink Panther series,
eh? Good call, but I just adored the first two as well.
I loved too the 60's sexiness of David Niven, Robert
Wagner, Capucine (wasn't she the first model to go by
just one name?) and Claudia Cardindale. I so wanted
to be "Princess Dala"! And Elke Sommer too.
Sellers loved to surround himself with beauties, didn't
he. Wasn't he weirdly obsessed with Sophia Loren and
his wife left him over it or something?
If you really made me choose just one, I simply couldn't--everything
Sellers did in those was gold in my eyes...I'm just
remembering that stuff with his oriental houseboy Cato,
OMG I'm laughing as I type this.
and speaking of comedy, I meant to mention, don't know
if you're aware-
That line you love so much that Kevin Smith used in[i]
Soul Possession[/i]-"Owww, that'll leave a mark!"
when Xena kicks Ares--that had to have been lifted from
Chris Farley in "Tommy Boy." (I don't know
if Kevin ad-libbed it, or it was in the script.)
Course, now you know I love that Smithy, but the quip
wasn't original really.
was Kevin Smith's improv and it made me laugh. I've
stolen many lines myself, as have every comedian or
comedy actor before or since. It's just part of the
game. And you're correct, I don't like those Farrelly
brothers. I guess I'm just becoming a bigger fuddy-duddy
by the second. There's a little gag in "A Shot
in the Dark" where Clouseau is inspecting Elke
Sommers' room, and stops to look at a jar of cold cream.
He takes off the cap and smells it, then looks up and
he has a glob of cold cream on the end of his nose,
then he plays the whole rest of the scene with it there.
wanted to add the "Jeeves and Wooster" series
starring Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry to the comedy discussion.
They were made for TV, but Masterpiece Theater must
surely rate an exemption.
read through your poem several times. Obviously, the
idea of religion as the opiate of the people has a glorious
history. The notion that all of the various religions
have different names for the same God is also an old
one, though not as glorious. Christianity pretty well
rejects the idea. Judaism, as usual, has a variety of
positions. The Hellenist strains would probably agree,
seeing everything in terms of "Forms". Hinduism
is the real proponent of that idea. I read somewhere
that Hindus have never met a God they didn't like. That
may be overstating it, but their religion does seem
more accomodating than most.
heard it argued that the universality of religion points
towards a hard-wiring in favor of religious belief.
If so, I wonder if it is not polytheism we tend towards.
I'm a cradle Catholic and I'm convinced most Catholics
worship Mary and the various saints. The distinction
of intercession is just too fine for most. For myself,
I have questions. Physics indicate that the universe
is the expression, from nothing, of a set of quantum
rules. It inspires speculation. Thanks as always,
never seen this TV show you speak of, nor do I care
to. I grant no exemptions (not that you need one from
me). As George Carlin said of religion, "Thou shalt
not kill, unless someone believes in a different invisible
than you, in which case it's okay."
second the kudos for your Ballad of Jehosus, it sums
up the situation pretty well.
As far as funny movies go, I have a weird sense of humor.
The Gods Must Be Crazy is top of the List,
any Monty Python movie (minus Jabberwocky)
Sixteen Candles (don't shoot me for that one!)
Some Like it Hot
South Park Bigger, Longer and Uncut
Perhaps you should also have an "unintentionally"
funny movie list and then I'd vote for The Bad Seed.
enjoyed "The Gods Must be Crazy," but I don't
think it holds up very well. I really don't care about
the white guy and girl, only the bushman. I love the
last location, it really does look like the edge of
the world. And though it wouldn't be on my fav list,
I think "Sixteren Candles" is a pretty good
film, and by far the best thing John Hughes ever did.
I think you're being unnecessarily cruel to "The
Bad Seed," which has a ridiculous ending, but a
number of legitimately scary moments. All of Henry Jones'
scenes are great, like when he's telling the girl about
electric chairs, and says, "The have little pink
ones for the girls, and little blue ones for the boys."
I must admit that that film scared the hell out of me
as a kid. Sadly, though, bad movies don't make me laugh,
they make me want to scream.
just saw an interesting film last night that you might
enjoy. It's called Ararat, and is about the Armenian
genocide of 1915. This film deals with a subject that
very few people know about. It's not just about the
fact that the Turks killed 2 million Armenians, It's
about how the Turkish government still denies it to
this day. the central theme of the film is denial, and
deals with it on more than one level. The one problem
I had with the film was the story structure wasn't as
tight as it could have been, and there were a lot of
primary characters to follow. Other than those two elements,
the writer/director knows his theme very well, and never
deviates from it. It was a sincere story about an atrocity
that very few people are aware of. That is what makes
this film important. Check it out if you have the time.
that I live in a place with numerous movie theaters
around, perhaps I will. Thanks for the recommendation.
BTW, I just saw "Amelie" or, more correctly,
"Amelie of Montmartre," which was recommnded
to me by one and all. Well, as far as shallow, meaningless
little movies go it was pretty good, the actress playing
Amelie is certainly a terrific example of the cute,
pouty French female, and it's got pretty photography,
but it's certainly not a very good movie. I could care
less whether she fell in love or not. And it seemed
awfully vengeful for no particularly good reason. Had
it come out twenty years ago it would have been branded
"pretentious," but that's just called "visual"
was wondering if you had heard anymore if "Water"
is going to be filmed by Deepa Metha. It is amazing
the censorship laws, in India. I was horribly suprised
about how Indian Fundamentalist, got away with burning
down her sets and throwing them in a rivers. Yikes!
And on top of that threw her out of the country.
I know America has its problems, but got bless it.
don't know a thing about it. Fundamentalists of all
kinds are evil.
question-have you heard how Jeremy Roberts is doing?
There hasn't been any updates on his site for quite
a while. I hope he is recovering well from his heart
surgery. My dad underwent that back in 1997, and I've
seen how tough recovery can be.
got RUNNING TIME, and have watched it about 3 or 4 times.
I think it's great! It's a well-written, tight little
story. I like how you handled the "continuous shot."
I've managed to see where the cuts are after watching
it several times.
like your directing style. B&W film is a great medium
to use, and it's too bad I don't see it more often.
When I was at the School of Visual Arts in New York
years ago, I had a class in comic book illustration,
and the teacher told me that it's important to watch
black and white films so you can get a good sense on
how positive and negative space are used.
favorite B&W film is Orson Welles' OTHELLO. I just
loved the way he used it to tell Shakespeare's story.
I liked it even more than CITIZEN KANE, to be frank.
you able to make a profit or at least break even with
RUNNING TIME? I think it's a great film, and more people
should see it. I absolutely agree with everything you
say about all the bullshit in Hollywood.
of your stories about the business only reinforce my
belief that the phrase "You make your own luck"
is a crock of horseshit. It's a half-truth, and half-truths
IMO can be worse than lies. Yes, you've got to motivate
yourself and work your ass off. But NO ONE gets ahead
in this life on their own. There's always got to be
someone who gives you a break or gives you a helping
the talent and perseverance in the world doesn't mean
a damn thing if people aren't willing to take a chance
on you. I think that people who believe in that phrase
"you make your own luck" have to be incredibly
naive, and have not had enough adversity in their lives.
you keep at it. And I'm glad to see that you still keep
try and get another film of yours when I have the chance.
I'm looking at purchasing or renting LUNATICS next.
haven't heard anything from or about Jeremy in a long
time. I also hope he's doing well. On some level I do
believe you have to make your own luck. If you wait
to be lucky, or wait to have someone help you, you can
end up waiting the rest of your life. I've never gotten
a financing deal on a movie, but I've bullied my way
through four films now. On the whole, I'd have to say
I've never been a particularly lucky person. I was always
the one getting caught, I was generally the one getting
hurt, and I've never been in love. I'm not trying to
intimate I've been particularly unlucky, either, but
certainly not lucky. Nevertheless, I've been bullheaded
enough and determined enough to get at least some of
what I've wanted from life, and that's because I made
my own luck.
would just like to say that I Really enjoyed your Ballad
Of Jehosus,our mutual friend Renee Cooper showed
it to me and it made me laugh and think.In fact I had
her send me a copy so that I could share it with my
boyfriend.Thank you once again.Sincerely K.Mcleod
you. You're the very first person to respond to it.
It actually took me about two months to write it. I
tried out all of my various versions to Bruce Campbell's
wife, Ida, on our morning walks in Oregon, and I thank
her for putting up with it and encouraging me. I'd love
to know what the rest of you folks visiting the site
think of it.
little comment about "Mississippi Burning"
and "Dances With Wolves"; I won't defend those
movies, but I do think it can be legitimate to look
at "minority" or "oppressed" peoples
through the lens of the oppressors. "A Man Called
Horse" used this device quite well, as did "Last
of the Mohicans". Both "The Jewel in the Crown"
and the similar movie with Alec Guiness, the name of
which escapes me for some reason, also succeeded using
"civilized" persons to illustrate the humanity
of the oppressed culture. The important thing about
those movies was the use of characters, as opposed to
"Wolves" which used caricatures.
for funny movies, it probably makes me a low-brow but
I laughed so hard I ruptured a hernia the first time
I watched "Zorro, The Gay Blade". I still
watch that movie once or twice a year and it always
gets to me. Brenda Vaccarro is killer and Ron Liebman
steals the show as the Alcalde. It's also a very quotable
movie, so the jokes stick. Well, that's my two cents
(adjusting for inflation, naturally).
never heard anyone say anything nice about that film,
which I've never seen. Next time it pops up I'll have
to check it out.
E-mail: top secret
Funniest movie candidates...
Producers" -- I was quite pleased with myself as
a 13 yr. old kid catching this on t.v. and finding it
so belly-aching hilarious when all my friends were into,
like, Splash and Sister Act or something lame.
-- The first one obviously. Hmmm, actually, the Christmas
one I enjoyed all the way through too-it got back on
board with poking good fun at americana "family
time", come hell or high water as seen in Clark
Griswald. My father IS Clark Griswald, essentially.
I Married an Axe Murder" -- Definately funnier
than any of his Austin Powers flicks. The fear of commitment
in a fella turns ironic.
and Dumber" -- Come on! Watching those 2 clowns,
with THAT brand of dumb was genuinely funny. Jim Carrey
just really went for broke with his "dumb"
bit, and he was fresh on the scene kinda-sorta, and
well, I found his comedy refreshing at the time. Who
else was around? Eddie Murphy was getting pretty stale
by that point.
Shot in the Dark" -- and the next one, the first
titled Pink Panther film: "The Pink Panther".
Peter Sellers!!! There's just been no one like him,
has there? <Well, O.K. I did LOVE Ted Raimi's take
on Inspector Clouseau in "The Xena Scrolls"!>
"Airplane", and the 1st "Naked Gun"
--I lump them all together, pretty funny, but I would
only keep it on while I was cooking or bored at this
about Danny Kaye, in "The Court Jester"?
It occurs to me I've never seen all the way through
any of the Marx Bro's films: like Duck Soup, Horse Feathers,
Monkey Business, Animal Crackers, A Night at the Opera,
A Day at the Races... But they always get such glowing
buzz when it comes to discussing classic comedy, I dunno.
probably think of a dozen more once I hit "send"
could get contentious, but I can't stand Jim Carrey,
and really don't find him funny at all. He plays everything
up at the top, and he thinks he's so damn funny I just
find him annoying. Back in the days of actual film criticism,
Pauline Kael kind of nailed "The Producers,"
in that it's quite funny as long as the audience watching
the show thinks it's not funny. However, the second
they start laughing, it's not funny anymore. Strange,
that. Those first two "Vacation" movies had
some good laughs, but not all that many, as far as I'm
concerned. I liked the Marx Bros. when I was a kid,
but I can't watch any of their films anymore. They seem
SO dated it's painful, and Chico and Harpo simply aren't
very funny. I'd much rather see them play the harp and
the piano. I think Groucho was infinitely funnier coming
up with his own lines on "You Bet Your Life."
As a little note, the order of the "Pink Panther"
movies (with Peter Sellers) is: "The Pink Panther"
(64), "A Shot in the Dark" (64), The Return
of the Pink Panther" (75), "The Pink Panther
Strikes Again" (76), and "The Trail of the
Pink Panther" (82). Here's a wonderfully funny
film that no one has mentioned yet, "Dr. Strangelove."
I just got my hands on a copy of TSNK-E, and it rocks!
I was wondering if it would be possible to have Mr.
Becker autograph my copy? I would , of course, send
in my copy for signing, and would be only all to happy
to pay for any shipping charges.
Thanks in Advance,
Baton Rouge, LA
would be my pleasure. Keep the disk or the tape and
just send the cover.
[mail it and a self-addressed
stamped envelope along to: Shirley Robbins LeVasseur;
c/o P.O. Box 86; East Vassalboro, ME 04935; and I will
forward it directly to Josh. -webmaster]
think "The Party" is the funniest film I've
ever seen. I've never heard you comment on the works
of Peter Sellers and Blake Edwards. Since Peter Sellers
is my favourite actor I was just wondering what you
thought of him.
"Birdy Num Nums"
made me laugh a lot. It goes on too long, I think, being
a one-joke film, but it knows its one joke extremely
well. I also quite like "The Pink Panther Strikes
Again," which seemed like the funniest film of
movie ever? Wow, quite a task to decide. Like you, some
things seem hilarious to me at the time, but don't hold
up with repeated viewing. I was majorly into the Marx
Brothers, for example, for years, especially their Paramount
films, and used to think "Duck Soup" was about
the funniest thing I'd ever seen. I still like it a
lot, but it would not be at the top. "Annie Hall"
would be right up there too, and "Young Frankenstein,"
but they appealed to me more at 15 or 20 than now.
of the few from that era that still does it for me would
have to be "Monty Python and the Holy Grail,"
which I realize is really just TV sketches filmed on
location with better costumes and camera work and so
forth, but it never fails to crack me up.
Up Baby" and "His Girl Friday" might
have to be tied for the funniest, though, along with
the funny moments of a bitersweet Branagh/Thompson film
called "Peter's Friends." (Ever seen it?)
I do confess the guilty pleasure of stuff like "Beavis
and Butthead Do America" and "Wayne's World,"
just silly TV stuff that is still funny on the big screen.
would also have to add "Monty Python's the Meaning
of Life." And Preston Sturges' films "Christmas
in July," Unfaithfully Yours," and "The
Lady Eve." And Buster Keaton's "Our Hospitality"
and "The General." And Harold Lloyd's "Doctor
second post makes no confusion between Max and Terry.
I was mostly asking if you had considered using Terry
in Max's place, and why you decided to use what seems
to me an extra character, fat.
you intended for Max to be the truer folkie, but I don't
think you communicated it well through the finished
film. He's only in a couple of scenes, and I got the
impression that he just didn't get enough screen time
to explain his fakeness in regard to folk music as a
front to get close to Loraine. You probably could have
communicated his trueness quickly and concisely by interjecting
a simple line when he's unloading the chairs, like,
"I missed the Purple Onion last night because I
went to Folkie Club X, where I had an actual chance
with a girl. But that's all the way in the next county."
Followed by a telling glance from Max and an awkward
pause, then end the scene.
jagged cut I was referring to was after the text that
explains the record viewership for the Beatles performance.
The video and audio change very abruptly in one frame.
The audio goes from the Beatles song to relative quiet,
and the video goes from a still with text to daytime
motion. It's too jagged, and it makes everything afterwards
feel like an epilogue. My only suggestion would have
been to maybe fade out the audio and do anything but
what you did with the video cut.
with these high school kids, and what's with them being
rich? It looked like they had just come from a prom
or some other formal event. Maybe there was some expensive
jewelry or keychains to Porshes that I overlooked. Even
though they are rich Loraine's old friends, you could
have had one of them comment about having several tv's
or something. I've made three reasonable (but apparently
inaccurate) takes on the "rat pack's" purpose,
and I still don't know what your intentions were with
these particular characters.
appreciate your having issues with the film, but it's
not my place to defend it. If things didn't work for
you, then they didn't work. My explanations don't matter.
Perhaps someone else that's seen the film would like
to answer you (and may be not).
1 film have I seen more than 3 times... in the theater...
MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING. I told scores of people...
I mean over 20... many of which told me they told their
friends... and what is amazing about this film... is
it is so funny you HAVE to GO with your friends to watch
to see their reaction!
remember only 2 months ago, I took my daughter... the
theater was full... laughing NEVER stopped from the
onset to the end! I have never personally sat in a theater
and heard laughter that loud, that long, with spontaneous
me if I sound too excited here...:-). Then I heard Tom
Hanks produced it... is the mans hands made of gold
was the best romantic comedy I have seen in ages...
War of the Roses was pretty too.
hope the film stays in the theaters... as long as Jurassic
Park... I hope it grosses over 300 million. And more
than ANYTHING I hope it launches a WONDERFUL actress
into the limelight... she deserves it!
sounds like you haven't seen very many movies. I liked
the film and thought it was funny, but it's not THAT
funny. It doesn't even come close to being the funniest
movie I've ever seen. Quite frankly, I thought Woody
Allen's "Love & Death" was much funnier,
as was "Sleeper" and "Annie Hall."
laughed longer and louder at "Airplane!" and
"Kentucky Fried Movie." I'll also take "It's
a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World" any day of the week.
Which isn't to take anything away from "Greek Wedding,"
which is certainly the funniest movie of 2002, but that's
not saying much. What are some other people's choices
for the funniest movie they've ever seen?
don't really have any questions, I just wanted to say
I really enjoyed Running Time, and your the most underated
guy in the Evil Dead crew. You rock man! Keep up the
good work. PS: Send me an autograph.
thanks. I'll see what I can do about the autograph.
Princess La La
just wanted to make a comment about the film "Election".
I agree with you about there being a lot of plain old
poor taste, but not necessarily on the lack of irony.
I think the 'third act' of the film was quite appropriate
in the end, because it IS ironic. Tracy is repugnant,
and we have to reluctantly feel the same thing Mr M.
does when he sees her in the car, despite also seeing
that Mr M. is pathetic and hypocritical. Everything
that comes out of his mouth during the film is bullshit,
including his crapping on about being happy at the end
of it (exposed by his impotent coffee-throwing reaction),
but he has loveable, well-meaning narrator status to
make us sympathise with him and believe him. The disintegration
in act three includes the disintegration of our faith
in him as a narrator, but the highlighting of this only
emphasises the irony of the fact that he's still as
charming and sympathetic as ever, and Flick is still
Act 3 is where the irony really comes out, because by
this time it is conscious, and the viewer has to admit
it - there is no room for contrary argument because
we've seen the proof already in Act 2. Hence, Act 1
is optimistic, Act 2 breaks that down and in Act 3 we
see Act 3 again in a way, but without the blinkers that
Act 2 has stripped us of.
Anyway, that's how it seemed to me...coming from someone
who hated the film first time round, but guess it's
grown on me as a post-modern joke or something.
Love to hear your thoughts on this.
Princess La La:
already stated my opinion in my review. I still think
that act three is a complete dramatic mistake, and the
stated theme is never realized or followed through on.
I feel that the film falls flat on its face at the end
of act two, really from the moment he crumples up the
ballot and throws it away, which is too stupid and obvious
of a plot set-up.
watched "Mississippi Burning" last night for
the first time ever and was just plain offended. I always
thought the civil rights movement was about people of
color struggling for freedom but according to Hollywood
it was about 2 white FBI agents! What is with this very
disturbing trend in movies? Apparently minorities can't
do anything unless some white guy steps in and helps
them out. And Hollywood is supposed to be filled with
all of these caring, liberal, humanitarians. Bullshit!
Films like "Dances With Wolves" are pretty
fucking racist in my opinion. People who are not white
are savages until a white person befriends them and
then all of the sudden they're real human beings. The
focus is always on the white person and the audience
is supposed be so moved by this story of oppressed people
rising above the occasion. It makes my head hurt.
I couldn't stand that movie, either. I don't like anything
by Alan Parker, whom I think is a hack. The film that
really annoyed me on that score was "Geronimo:
An American Legend," starring (in this order):
Jason Patric, Robert Duvall, Gene Hackman, and Wes Studi
as Geronimo. Geronimo is barely a supporting character
in his own story because we have to spend all of our
time with an utterly superfluous white soldier who has
nothing to do with anything. What tortured me the worst
about "Dances With Wolves" is the Indians
coincidentally having an attractive white woman of just
the right age of Costner so he wouldn't have to be messing
around with any Indian girls. Further, no one ever mentioned
that "Dances" is almost a straight remake
of "Broken Arrow" (1950) with Jimmy Stewart,
who in fact does fall in love with an Indian girl (admittedly
played by Debra Paget, but still meant to be an Indian).
have the request about Kevin Smith. I read your words
and words of other actors about him. Many people told
some stories. You spoke touching, but general words,
and what you could TELL.
can't really tell all that much because I didn't know
Kevin very well. He's as nice of an actor as I've ever
worked with, and just a plain-old nice guy. Bruce Campbell
knew Kevin much better than I, having worked with him
on quite a few Hercules episodes. Kevin Smith, Kevin
Sorbo, and Bruce all used to go golfing together. Kevin
Smith and I only did the one episode of Xena together,
and he wasn't even there for the entire shoot.
Scott Spiegel in the movie 'Thou Shalt Not Kill...Except'?
He's listed on www.imdb.com
as playing a character named Pin Cushion. Thanks!
character Pin Cushion is the cultist that Tim Quill
fights in the work shed that gets punched back against
the wall and gets all of the tools stuck in his back,
thus his name.
you and your cats are all settled down back in Detroit
now. I have a variety of random questions -
Oregon just too far out in the middle of nowhere for
you? Or do you have some possible projects lined up
the Roman script coming along? Any tidbits you care
those of us too slack to order "Hammer" yet,
are you just doing credit card orders now? Or is there
somewhere to send a check?
an independent theatre/art house wanted to show "Hammer,"
and pay you whatever traditional fees there are - would
you be interested?
news on that guy who claimed he wrote all of Joe LoDuca's
music? (right after he probably claimed to have written
all of Shakespeare's plays.)
to hear from you. For the time being it's just credit
cards for "Hammer." In the course of less
than fifty checks, I had two bounce. The heck with that.
Borrow someone's credit card. Right now I'm trying to
get "Hammer" showing in some theaters. We'll
see what happens. Oregon was beautiful, but ultimately
too remote for my liking. No, I don't have any projects
lined up. My Roman story stalled out in the middle.
I'm supposed to be hearing from Joe tomorrow, I'll ask
him about it, however, as Rob Tapert said, "If
you're not suing someone, or being sued by someone,
you're not really in the film business."
think all of what you say is intelligent, and much of
what you say I agree with. But is your hostility an
act? I can't quite get a handle on it, you really seem
pissed off in ways that won't do you any good and don't
quite pass for edifying criticism, either...
fuck Eminem, fuck rap, fuck hip-hop, and fuck "8
Mile." I have no doubt it's a complete piece of
that's your review, you're full of shit. You've made
2 good films, sir, and so has Curtis Hanson: LA Confidential
and Wonder Boys. I thought "Bad Influence"
was pretty good too, and his script for "White
Dog" (The Sam Fuller flick) was no joke, either...and
I have no interest in seeing "8 Mile," either,
as I have no interest in Eminem. But to say you know
it's shit without seeing it is just obnoxious and stupid...I'm
sure it's what you're facing with "Hammer"
-- people assume it's a piece of shit cuz no one famous
is in it and you're a TV director (in their eyes) --
While "8 Mile" is a hit and doesn't need my
defense, to assume Curtis Hanson saw nothing socially
significant or interesting in the story that COULD be
told in that film (Again, I have no idea whether he
tells it well or not) is just as repugnant as the attitudes
of all the people you decry repeatedly on this site.
You are a talented filmmaker, a very talented filmmaker,
but so is Curtis Hanson. If you don't agree, fine, but
reviewing it without seeing it is pretty much what everybody
has done with your whole body of work, right? I mean,
"Thou Shalt Not Kill"??? Look at the title
and plot, and a lot of people would say that's "Exploitation
shit" -- and they'd be wrong. I dig your love of
tradition, and agree most new filmmakers need an education,
but when you start bitching about stuff you haven't
seen made by a filmmaker who has enough ambitious credits
on his resume (even if they're not all fully realized),
I think your venting without thinking, and it's a shame.
think your response to my little tirade is perfectly
reasonable. Of course, I wasn't reviewing "8 Mile,"
which I haven't seen, I was expressing my disinterest
in going to see it. And I didn't say "fuck Curtis
Hanson," whom I do have some respect for. I just
so deeply don't care about rap and hip-hop that I couldn't
find words sufficient to express lack of interest. I
disagree about "Wonder Boys," which I thought
was stupid and dull, but I liked two-thirds of "LA
Confidential" and about half of "The River
Wild." I also didn't care for "White Dog,"
which also seemed pretty dull. I'm sure it makes me
sound like a fuddy-duddy not liking hip-hop, but I don't
care. I don't have to appreciate everything that comes
down the tubes.
Cynthia E. Jones
for mentioning "Hud." It's one of my favorite
films of all time. I'm a sucker for black and white
Panavision--but James Wong Howe's cinematography takes
the cake. Newman's screen presence, Patricia Neal's
amazing performance--well, everything about it is excellent.
I remember, the first time I watched the film, there
was this really great opening shot. Most films have
this, then they recede into 'regular' camera work. But
following the first shot, there was a great second shot,
and third, and so on, until I realized that the whole
movie was going to look that good! I almost died. I
watched every single frame with rapt attention, waiting
for something 'ugly' or 'boring,' and it never happened.
I was completely entranced for the entire film. And,
honestly, that hasn't happened since with any other
film. I use "Hud" as my ideal in cinematography,
and go nuts when I meet "film geeks" who haven't
seen it. In fact, a friend of mine recently told me
that she "doesn't watch black and white movies"
because "they look old." Help! I fear for
how many people feel this way, and are missing out on
wonderful, wonderful art.
when the great James Wong Howe first arrived in Texas
while scouting locations, was supposed to have said
something like, this place is so ugly and bright it
can't be photographed. Of course, he got the Oscar that
year for black and white cinematography. Patricia Neal's
part in the book is a black woman, BTW, which changes
the dynamics somewhat. Other gorgeous black and white
movies are: "Citizen Kane" (Gregg Toland),
"The Magnificent Ambersons" (Stanley Cortez),
"The Bad and the Beautiful" (Robert Surtees,
who also shot Larry McMurtry's "The Last Picture
Show," which looks terrific), and "Raging
Bull" (Michael Chapman).
got to agree with you about Max and Terry. Their commonalities
are their attraction to Lorraine and the fact that they
are both sympathetic characters. But even the nature
of their attraction to Lorraine differs significantly.
For me, Max represents the high tide of the Folk movement
and so represents, within the setting of the film, the
Present. Terry is the future; not only because he likes
rock and roll, but also his study of computers, his
forward vision and his principled, yet pragmatic opportunism.
been a while since I've watched the movie. I'm pleased
to say it rests well in my memory.
great. As I said, I think my biggest mistake with the
two characters was dressing them both in black. As people,
the two actors couldn't be more different. Terry has
a huge, theatrical voice, and Max is rather effeminate.
To confuse the two is to really just not be paying much
attention, I think.
Hi there Mr. Becker!
an Evil Dead fan and I just wanted to say that your
Evil Dead journal is super cool. I really enjoyed reading
I think I come off as a snotty little prick, which I
think I was at that age, so it's a true depiction. I
was just asked to come in and read my journal before
a screening of ED and I declined, it's too embarrassing.
Just keeping it up on the website takes a certain amount
of teeth-gritting for me.
noticed that you have many of Mel Brooks "classic"
movies on your favorite movies list, but there is no
Young Frankenstein. Did you not like that or did you
just overlook it???
I have two: "The Producers" and "Blazing
Saddles." I think "Young Frankenstein"
is okay, but I don't think it's great. I think Mel had
already begun his big slide into mediocrity at that
struck a nerve there with the rap stuff, Josh....say
what you will, I am an Eminem fan, although I consider
the other 99.9999999% of rap music to be utter shit.
Here's a question that I've been meaning to ask you
for awhile: do you find movies less enjoyable now that
you are a filmaker? By that, I mean do you have difficulty
suspending your disbelief and not focusing on the technique
of the film? The reason that I ask this is that it comes
across in your reviews and critiques, this seeing everything
from the director's perspective. I have a similar problem
with military films; I tend to nitpick on the details.
Am I far off the mark here?
see things from my POV, whatever that is. And a big
part of my perspective is literary. I do not forgive
bad, thoughtless writing because there's a good cast
or pretty photography. I don't think this has a thing
to do with being a director, it's much more about being
a writer. For example, I just saw "The Royal Tennenbaums,"
which a good friend recommneded. I think it was complete
shit because the script was so awful. It certainly has
a good cast, and Wes Anderson has some idea how to compose
a shot, but he and Luke Wilson (or was it Owen?) can't
write a script to save their lives. They stole a big
hunk of J. D. Salinger's stories, then took that and
noodled it into nothing. My big problem is that I know
where they're stealing from, I know what they're ruining,
and I don't forgive them. And having a really terrific
cast with a crappy script just makes it worse for me
because it's a bigger waste. So, I'd say being a writer
affects my perspective more than being a director.
E-mail: wwwSting firstname.lastname@example.org
have looked everywhere for three of Sandra Dee's movies,That
funny feeling ,and I'd rather be rich, If a man answers.I
would like to know if they will be on TMC,or AMC anytime
soon. Or if they are for sale anywhere. She is my favorite
actress,and I love her movies.That's all I want for
would I know what's coming up on TV? Who do you think
you're writing to, Nostradamus? Contact the TV channels.
posting again, I wanted to rewatch Hammer in its entirety.
Having done that, I'm ready to give some more feedback.
Max and Terry are two different characters, but what's
the point? They both look and sound very similar, and
Max just comes off as Terry-lite, for the daytime. Why
not just eliminate Max, whose only real purpose is being
one more guy after Lorraine. Max is filler. Instead
of using a couple scenes to exhibit a seemingly meaningless
shadow of a character, why not use that time to further
develop the Terry character, and his relationship with
Lorriane, instead of just having him in the club and
at the very end. Involving him in the whole story would
have made it even more significant when she doesn't
even take the time to tell him goodbye.
high schoolers are such an uninteresting eye/ear sore
that I think the film would be better off without them.
Since I was apparently off before, I'm thinking that
they provide another example of the suckiness that tv
produces, which would explain why they are so annoying.
Besides that, they serve as one more group of posers
in the club, but that's just like having one more guy
(Max) trying to get in Loraine's pants. It just seems
unnecessary; trim the fat.
the club owner walks to the right to erase the blackboard
for the last time, he looks like he's going the wrong
way. Loraine and the others at the table look left.
He makes up for warping through space by delivering
one of my favorite lines, "think of all the good
you could do for me." That really cracked me up.
thing that bothered me was the incredibly jagged cut
after the text for the Beatles performance. It makes
everything after it feel like an epilogue. The rest
of your text after the opening credits had a much smoother
look. What happened?
Hammer again, I saw a few more things that could have
been fine tuned, but its still a great film.
and Max are completely different characters as far as
I'm concerned. Max is a real, honest-to-God folkie that
understands why he's committed and to what. Terry doesn't
even like folk music and makes no bones about it. He's
part of the upcoming time, intelligence in regard to
nothing, other than conspiracy theories. They don't
look alike, sound alike, or stand for the same things.
I'm sorry I dressed them both in black, but the confusion
beyond that is your own. I don't know what you mean
by "jagged cut." The rich kids stand for more
than the suckiness of TV. And there's no trimming the
fat now, the movie is done, and has been done for nearly
I have not seen "Hud" and Netflix does not
offer it. Netflix is starting to piss me off. I looked
for 5 different films today and they did not have them.
And I wasn't looking for anything obscure.
you seen "Hedwig and the Angry Inch"? Very
interesting stuff in my opinion. The first time I watched
it I was not sure how I felt about it. So I watched
it again and really got into it. I own the DVD now and
have watched it several times. The music is great and
John Cameron Mitchell who plays Hedwig is fantastic.
He also wrote and directed the film. And to top it all
off the music is great.
really need to see "Hud," it's really great,
and Paul Newman is at his very best. I love to book,
too, "Horseman, Pass By," Larry McMurtry's
first book, which he wrote when he was about nineteen.
I put "Hedwig" on my Netflix list. I too am
getting pissed off with them since they haven't had
about 20 titles I've gone there for. I wrote them a
letter saying if they want to keep a movie geek like
me satisfied they better get a lot more films.
excluded Planet of the Apes because I feel that it has
a completely different feel than Tim Burton's other
movies. That, and it I don't think it is very good at
think it has a very similar feel to most of his movies,
it's crap. He's just one more thoughtless knucklehead
making overly-expensive lousy remakes that bring our
whole society down.
back to movie subjects, have you had any problems recently
with Netflix screwing up your mailing address? The last
three movies that I requested never showed up, so I
went on their website and checked it out. I found that
they had me down for the wrong street. Apparently, their
system periodically checks all addresses in its files
against the U.S. Postal Service database, and the post
office apparently doesn't recognize my street (except
to deliver bills). Just a warning to everyone to check
their accounts with Netflix every so often.
On another topic, have you seen the new film 8-MILE
yet? I have to say that I want to see it. I'm normally
not a fan of rap, but Eminen's music seems to have a
sincerity of expression that other artists (their videos
littered with women, cars,and the club lifestyle) in
that genre lack. Open expression of real emotion is
something desperately lacking in today's art, regardless
of the medium. Any thoughts on this?
fuck Eminem, fuck rap, fuck hip-hop, and fuck "8
Mile." I have no doubt it's a complete piece of
just saw "The Ring" and noticed that there
were absolutely no credits. The writer and director
are moderately famous. I'm not sure about Verbinski;
I know he did "Mouse Hunt" and "The Mexican.
I really liked "Arlington Road," written by
Kruger. In any case, who decides whether a film will
have opening credits, why would they, doesn't the SAG/DGA
have requirements, and finally, would you consider it
for any reason?
are all kinds of rules about the credits. I don't know
how you get away with none. The 70mm prints of "Apocalypse
Now" didn't have credits, and you got a program
with all of them when you entered the theater. Not only
would I never consider not having credits, I'd never
put them all at the end, which the hip thing to do these
days, because when I watch a movie I want to know who
maybe "enjoyed" was not the right word to
use when talking about "Once Were Warriors".
It WAS a very powerful film. Some of the violence was
actually hard to watch. It all felt very real. Films
like this always remind me of how violence is glorified
in so many movies. I loath action movies and not just
because they are almost always completely devoid of
any intelligence. It's the way that violence is turned
into something that's cool. It makes me sick to my stomach.
Maybe it's because I'm a girl?
another note I watched "The Hustler" last
night. There is something about how that film was shot
that always impresses me. I think that the black and
white photography in "The Hustler" is just
beautiful. The shots are composed so well. Plus for
me it doesn't get much better then Paul Newman in a
white t-shirt. Wow! There are no actors these days that
have the screen presence of Paul Newman. It's not just
his looks, it's the whole package. Brad Pitt?, Matt
Damon?, Tom Cruise? Give me a break! None of those guys
are or ever will be Paul Newman.
agree, Newman is so far ahead of the kids these days
of a similar age to him at that time it's incalculable.
The cinematography on "The Hustler" was by
the great German DP, Eugen Schufftan, who won an Oscar
for it. Schufftan invented an in-camera matting process
in the 1920s called the Schufftan Process, which was
used very successfully in Fritz Lang's "Metropolis"
and Hitchcock's "Blackmail." Have you seen
I was just wondering what your feelings on Tim Burton
are, excluding his most recent work, Planet of the Apes.
exclude that? I like "Pee Wee's Big Adventure"
and I sort of like, but mostly just respect as a noble
effort, "Ed Wood." That's it.