Q & A    Archive
Page 86

Name: Jim Duncan
E-mail: duncan38@wetv.net

Dear Josh:

You have great taste in movies. Many I have seen and some that I haven't.Overall it is a great selection.
The only movie that I noticed not on the list is "The Defiant Ones" with Sidney Poitier and Tony Curtis. It is your website so you can decide what you want to put into it.I just thought I would make that comment.
Take it easy.

Dear Jim:

It's an okay film, but rather silly, really. The scene of them fording a river, which is barely a stream, and acting like they're crossing the Mississippi is particularly ridiculous. And Poitier absolutely cannot sing at all. I'm a big fan of Stanley Kramer, but I think that's one of his lesser films.

Josh

Name: Darin
E-mail: none

Dear Josh:

How did you do the rear-screen projection for "Cleveland Smith, Bounty Hunter"? Did you use some professional facilities, or is it something you rigged up?
Which do you think looks better, rear-screen projection or chroma keying?

Dear Darin:

We rigged up the rear-screen ourselves, with the help of our buddy Bart Pierce, in the basement of my parents' house. To get a long enough throw on the projector, Bart set it up around the corner and had it hitting a mirror, which I thought was pretty cool. And we made no attempt at synching up the camera (a Canon Scoopic) to the projector, which every book you'll ever read about rear-screen projection says you absolutely must do. And it worked well. I shot all the plates myself. By Chroma-Key I assume you mean blue- or green-screen. It depends on the effect you're after. If you want interaction between what's happening in the plate and the foreground actor, rear-screen works better because they can see what's on the screen, like in "Lunatics" when Hank is running from the giant spider.

Josh

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

Josh,

Why are all the insults written in to you so poorly spelled? What's the story with the syntax? If these reflect the intelligence of the writers, why don't they starve? How do they manage to turn their computers on? How come hunters never come across their remains in the wild? Sounds like a hoax to me.

John

Dear John:

If only it were. Beyond the poor spelling and punctuation, I do sense a certain sincerity in most of the insulting letters. They're so brainwashed, and so unused to someone speaking their mind without any regard to "getting ahead," as it were, that it runs afoul of all their hard-wiring. It's always the same approach, too. How dare I not like Speilberg or Soderberg when everyone else likes them and they make so much money, and I haven't? As though to have an opinion one must be successful. Of course, as all rational people know, opinions are like assholes, and everyone gets one.

Josh

Name: Will
E-mail: wdodson52@hotmail.com

Dear Josh:

Since I saw some smoking anecdotes, I'll throw mine up. Lor' love the South, y'see. I moved from North Carolina (where, until 1998, I could smoke in airports) to Kentucky in order to work at a grassroots filmmaking company called Appalshop.
In addition to being able to raise $$ and actually get some films made, I was delighted to find that my local grocery store was equipped with ash trays. Nothing like examining produce while having a good smoke. Or lighting up in the bank while trying to figure out how to balance my checkbook.

By the way, I never did properly give you my two cents on "If I Had a Hammer." Since so many of the legions of fans gave thoughtful responses, perhaps I'll just give you a big fat "I enjoyed it, I'll be watching it years from now, and it was worth my money." That's about the best review I can give.

Dear Will:

Oh, come on. 'Fess up. Aintitcool, FilmThreat, and FilmCritic have all not bothered themselves to review it, you may as well if you're coming here.

Josh

Name: Jean
E-mail:
Dear Josh: Hi Josh,

I hear you loud and clear. I've been out here for 7 years and it always blows my mind how everyone is in everyone else's business all the time. No one gives a shit about what you do back east. I started bumming smokes off of my Mom when I was 16. No one cared. If we were from California I would have probably been taken away from her by the state. A former co-worker of mine is the mother of 11 year old twin boys. These kids LOVE to skateboard, it's what they live for. But the problem is that they can't skate anywhere in their neighborhood. There is a law against it because, and here's a big shocker, some kids got hurt skateboarding a few years ago. So now in their southern California city kids can't skateboard on the street and if they are riding their bikes they have to be wearing helmets and they must be accompanied by an adult. Her boys skate in their driveway and they frequent a skate park that costs $10 for 2 hours. A law like this would never get passed back in Maryland. God forbid kids would actually want to go outside and play. Kids fall off bikes, skateboards, out of trees etc. and get hurt. It's happened before many, many times so why are people freaking out about it now? I guess adults can't smoke, restaurant owners can't decide what can and can't go on in their own establishments and kids can't have any fun out here in California. But don't worry it's all in the name of "safety". What a bunch of douche bags!

Jean

Dear Jean:

And it all gets back to Ben Franklin's great quote: "Those who would give up their liberty for security, deserve neither liberty nor security." Here's an amusing example, I think. I did the voice-over narration for an anti-smoking documentary my friend edited since he couldn't afford to hire actual voice talent. He came to my apartment with a sound man to record it, and all three of us smoked while we did it. Anyway, the main story is about a nine or ten year old girl who hid behind a cigarette machine for months and ratted out all the underage kids who were buying cigarettes. They gave this girl some kind of civic medal. To be a rat stool-pigeon. That's the modern version of a good citizen. I think something went seriously wrong with our society when we stopped teaching kids civics and changed to social studies, which was in the late 1950s or early 1960s.

Josh

Name: waldo
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

where do you get off? dude, you direct some crappy tv shows and some movies that a few people saw, and you have the wisdom to talk poorly of Steven Soderbergh and the Coen brothers? man, they are great filmmakers, and you direct Zena? where do you get off?

Dear Waldo:

I get off right here, at Beckerfilms. Where do you get off questioning my right of free speech? You got a problem with the Bill of Rights? What are you, some kind of commie?

Josh

Name: Garret Harkawik
E-mail: funktaisia@hotmail.com

Dear Josh:

I just bought Running Time on DVD and I really enjoyed it but I can't stand Anchor Bay. All of their all so shitty looking. I rented a copy of "Time Bandits" that was made by Anchor Bay and I couldn't believe how cheaply made it was. The box claimed it was wide screen but it was actually just a pan and scan version of the movie with two black bars put on the top and bottom of the screen so you hardly see anyting. Anyway, I realy liked the commentary too. It was definantly one of the most interesting i've heard

Dear Garret:

Anchor Bay is usually pretty good about making brand-new, wide-screen transfers, and I've been very pleased with their packaging. The only reason I can think of for them releasing a pan & scan version is that the film company couldn't supply them with anything better. It's probably not their fault. Hell, they did a beautiful new transfer of TSNKE, why wouldn't they do one of "Time Bandits" if they could?

Josh

Name: Jean
E-mail:

Hi Josh,

I still have not finished "Hud" shame on me! You should totally look into lecturing at film schools. I would have loved to hear what a guy like you has to say about making movies while I was in school. And I know that a lot of my friends would have too. Don't underestimate yourself Josh. There are a lot of people who would listen to what you have to say. Why do you think so many of us frequent your site. You've made 4 truly independent films. There are not very many people out there that can say that. That's a pretty big accomplishment in my book.

On another note, I got a fucking ear full last night for smoking . I was hanging out at my neighbor's (the same neighbor who's cat ripped open my leg) and I lit up. Well this girl that I had just met about 5 minutes prior starts to lecture me about the dangers of smoking! This went on for about 15 minutes. She was telling me all these stories about people with lung cancer and second hand smoke etc. So I kept lighting up. I'm not a chain smoker but I sucked down 4 coffin nails while she went on her tirade. Luckily I was stoned so it was kind of entertaining. I finally said "what do you care weather I smoke or not we just met". And she says "because I'm a human being and I don't like watching other people kill themselves." No shit! I excused myself saying that I had to make a phone call because I was about to burst a blood vessel from trying not to laugh. Why is it that non-smokers feel that they have the right to patronize other adults who know exactly what they are doing. Skinny people don't tell fat people who they just met to loose weight because they are killing themselves. People rarely say anything to drinkers. As far as non-smokers are concerned in LA I might as well be a crack head. Maybe I should just stay away from my neighbor's place.

Thanks,
Jean

Dear Jean:

That's one of the really nice, civilized aspects of being back east. People unapologetically smoke, and in pretty much all the restaurants. People in California are, for the most part, assholes. They think they're really liberal and free-thinkers, but they'll happily take away other people's rights at the drop of a hat. The last time I was in San Francisco I walked past a Hell's Angel's bar and saw all these gray-bearded, leather-clad bikers solemnly hanging out on the sidewalk in front of the place puffing on their cigarettes. I was humiliated for them, and decided right there this was not a state I could live in any longer.

Josh

Name: Slick
E-mail: sickslick27@yahoo.com

Hey Josh,

I just read your comments to Jeff Burr about the 'brainwashed masses' and I couldn't agree with you more. But, I just thought I'd let you know that there are some of us out here who make a concerted effort to stay un-brainwashed (I don't think that's a word). So all is not lost. Not yet, anyway! And I enjoy hearing your opinions. You're honest and completely devoid of bullshit, which is incredibly refreshing in this day and age. Plus, you like Monty Python, so you're forever cool in my book!

Dear Slick:

Thanks. It certainly didn't get me ahead in Hollywood, but I've decided that was a blessing and not a curse. If I kept my mouth shut, lied all the time, and constantly blew smoke up people's asses, maybe I could be directing "Free Willy 5" now.

Josh

Name: t dubbs
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

smoke dope now? still, who does the most? bruce, sam, you, anyone.

Dear t:

I do. I smoked before all those guys, and I'll smoke after them. They all have wives and kids and shit, I don't.

Josh

Name:
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

While reading your article, I laughed uncontrollably with tears!

Dear ?????:

Which article? Who are you?

Josh

Name: Jeff Burr
E-mail: JeffCBurr@AOL.com

Josh...i haven't talked to you in ages but I hope you are well. i don't know if you are still in Oregon, but wherever you are you still are one of the most entertainingly opinionated SOB's around. I just read your review of GREEK WEDDING, and I hope to hell you get that 10 million dollars. We need more voices and ambitions like yours. And you need to teach at a film school as well, to at least point the next generation in the right frigging direction. And I hope HAMMER is selling well too. Keep the faith and keep carrying the torch. I'm right there with you in spirit and ambition too. Jeff

Dear Jeff:

It's terrific hearing from you. I've always admired your visual sense, and I have no doubt that someday you'll get your hands on a good script and direct a great film. (For those of you out there that don't know of Mr. Burr's directorial career, he has directed about fifteen features, including "Stepfather 2" and "Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3"). Quite frankly, Jeff, I'm not sure most people want to hear my opinion, nor would they agree with me. I think the masses are so brainwashed now that they accept any piece of shit thrown at them, just so long as it has a large ad budget and McDonald's tie-in. It has been said that "Fashion is worse than any tyrant," and I think it's truer now than ever. If everyone's doing it, then you have to do it, too. Anyway, all the very best you.

Josh

Name: Cynthia E. Jones
E-mail: cynthiaejones@hotmail.com

Dear Josh,

Oh, wow...I adore it when people insult you and tell you how much you suck! It's so entertaining! Like "Jerry Springer" on a message board! I recently had a similar situation happen on a message board where I criticized digital manipulation of photographs (I hate it--just like how I hate digital videos on MTV, and digital action scenes in movies), and everyone jumped on my ass for HAVING AN OPINION! It would appear as though people can make money digitally changing reality (no shit!) and that it's "commercially viable." But does that take away my right to detest it?

On a film-watching note...I saw "Austin Powers: Goldmember" last night and just want to say...I'm glad I didn't pay for it, and I'm glad that I was drunk. And it was better than the first two, but that's kind of like saying it's better to get run over by a Humvee than a Honda 'cos it's quicker.

Cindy

Dear Cindy:

Yeah, God forbid you don't follow the opinion of the masses, then you're a heretic and a blasphemer. The word I just got yesterday from a friend who has been a big-shot animator in Hollywood for 20 years, is that Hollywood is giving up on all 2-D animation (meaning drawings, like "The Simpsons" and almost all cartoons), and everything is going to 3-D, like "Toy Story." I likened this decision to that of bringing out "New Coke" and discontinuing "Old Coke." Of course, they very promptly brought back the old Coke. Kids want more choices, not less. And 3-D animation isn't nearly as expressive as 2-D (like the scene when Homer becomes 3-D digital animation -- "I feel all bulgy" -- it's simply not as good as 2-D, and looks like a stupid toy). But you've got to give Hollywood credit, given a choice they'll always make the wrong one.

Josh

Name: Mike
E-mail: z@evilgeniusentertainment.com

Hey Josh,

Just read "Winds of Fate and enjoyed it immensely! I was especially pleased to
see that you'd included the Gurkhas, who are (in my admittedly humble,
semi-informed oppinion) some of the most neglected bad-asses in "Western" cinema.
They have such a cool, competent vibe to them. Kind of reminds me of Kyuzo from
"Seven Samurai" - that quiet, self assured ability to handle just about anything.
Have there been any other films that deal with these guys as anything other than
set dressing? What was your inspiration for the story?

There were a couple of moments that seems oddly expository - the first scene
with Tenzig and Gueng (where Tenzig is chomping at the bit to see some action)
and (most of all) the scene shortly after where Sir Ian is explaining the
history of the Gurkhas to Lady Anne. I'm not saying exposition is bad, but
these two scenes felt more awkward than the rest of the script, which was
very tight and well done. Just wondering if they were part of an earlier draft
or a last minute re-write?

Anyway, it's a great script. I could see why it might never get made, though.
Lots of different locations, planes, crashes, and extras! Still, a guy can
hope, eh?

Take care,

Mike

Dear Mike:

But I don't think it necessarily has to be all that expensive, particularly if it was actually shot in Africa. Exposition is a very tricky part of screenwriting, and it can easily undermine a story (see "Lord of the Rings" as an example). I needed that information conveyed and that was the best way I could think of getting it across. I'm very pleased you enjoyed the script, I still think it would make a good film. I don't think any other film has ever dealt with the Ghurkas, who are indeed totally fascinating, and very possibly the greatest fighters in the world. The inspration for the story was a kid I worked with at a camera store who had been a wrestler in high school, had a friend in the Air Force whom he admired, and drove a big, piece of crap car that was ruining his life.

Josh

Name: Jean
E-mail:

Hi Josh,

These people who are talking shit about you are cracking me up! What kind of fucking looser actually takes the time to write out an insult and email it to someone. Cowards! I'm so glad you post the stuff that these dorks send to you. It's fully entertaining. You should pick an asshole of the month!

I started to watch "Hud" last night but about 5 minutes into it I ran outside to break up a fight between my neighbor's cats. One of the little fuckers ripped my leg open pretty bad and I had to go to the emergency room. That's what I get for being a good Samaritan! I got some awesome pain killers though. What book is "Hud" based on again?

Thanks,
Jean

Dear Jean:

Sorry to hear about your leg. Next time use the hose. "Hud" is based on Larry McMurtry's book "Horseman, Pass By." Let me know what you think of the movie.

Josh

Name: t dubbs
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

i read the evil dead journal and america land of the stupid cowboys, and i can't help asking- did you guys smoke a lotta weed back in the day? (the secret to your creative genius may be revealed.)

Dear t:

In the day? I smoke a lot of dope all the time.

Josh

Name: August
E-mail: joxerfan@hotmail.com

Dear Josh,

Seeing you and the inimitable Campbell Cooley discussing "The Jungle Book" only makes me want to say "I wanna be like you-oo-oo, I wanna walk like you, talk like you... oo-oo-ooh."

BTW - don't believe him for a second - I hear he's soon to appear in "Mercy Peak" which is their version of "Dynasty" and "Melrose" all rolled up together, plus he's the king of Vodaphone commercials. You still need to sell a script for about $500k, and then cast him in the lead. But I digress.

Back to your comedies question. I'm a major Python fan, but "Meaning of Life" never did it for me. It was cute, like their TV series, but never came together for me. Some segments were brilliant - the entire Catholic/Protestant spoof, from the huge production number to the repressed Prot couple who've had sex only twice. Terry Jones exploding, Eric Idle dragging us down the path of his life only to tell us to fuck off, the stereotypical American couple in need of a conversation..... well, these were all hilarious sketches. Just curious though - in the bigger, film-maker view of things - why are you fond of such an episodic, unstructured film? (one which never fails to make me laugh, however.)

Thanks,

August

Dear August:

Because I think it has the biggest laughs of any of their films. Let's face it, they were very episodic thinkers. "Holy Grail" and "Brian" may have over-arching stories, but they're not all that good, and certainly have dull spots. Also, "Meaning" is by far the best photographed of all the Python films. The "Every Sperm is Sacred" number is really brilliant, actually says something, and has a point, too. I love when Palin tells his several hundred children that he can't afford to feed them anymore, "so it's medical experiments for the lot of you." Then a particularly cute little girl asks, "But couldn't you have had your balls torn off and made it look like an accident?" Palin shakes his head sadly, "No, no. God sees everything."

Josh

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

Josh,

I must say I was a bit surprised at the exchange between yourself and Barbara. My very strong impression of Hank's various maladies was that they were allegories for the various hang-ups all people confront every day. The message of the movie was to not allow one's fears to control one's life. Hank, by facing his fears, is a heroic character. The specific nature of his maladies is secondary, though, for "Lunatics" they are a necessary plot device. It wasn't agoraphobics which were being targeted, it was the so-called normal people of the world.

"Lunatics" is still my favorite of your four movies, by the way. It is the easiest to watch, Ted is great and it is somehow satisfying to watch Bruce get his in the end. "Running Time" is, for me, the haunting film. I find myself considering alternative courses of action for Carl and the others, and that's one of the great things a film can do. "Hammer" has me questioning; how do I define "folk" music; what is it about The Beatles that made them so appropriate a hinge; where is the line between worldly and jaded? These are among the things I think about when I'm working out, running, driving. "TSNKE" I don't do as well with. I know that you wish you could have given that project more resources and I think my reservations are probably along similar lines.

Anyway, we're all waiting for your next wrap party. The beer will be on me.

John

Dear John:

Since Barbara is actually an agoraphobic I suppose she has a right to comment on a story about one. Yes, of course, it's all a metaphor. He can't go out, she can't go in. But, as the last few letters indicate, some folks take their own opinions very seriously. Particularly if they are in agreement with the masses, then ergo they must be right. What these people don't realize is that it's much more difficult to have your own opinion based on your own beliefs, because first you have to have some beliefs. As far as I'm concerned, anyone that thinks "Gladiator" is a good movie doesn't think very much, hasn't seen many movies, and simply wants to be accepted by the hoi poloi. Meanwhile, I actually watched "Lunatics" the other night on cable and I found even quirkier than I remembered. Debbie Foreman really looks great in that film.

Josh

Name: Slick
E-mail: sickslick27@yahoo.com

Dear Josh:

I was just scrolling through the Q & A archives and I saw where you said you haven't spoken with Scott Spiegel in years. Really? I guess it's naive of me to think that you're all ('you' being all the 'Fake Shemps' as it were) in touch with each other on a regular basis. That's a shame. Was there a falling out? Well, I guess that's none of my business anyway. Just curious. Thanks.

Dear Slick:

Yes there was, about fifteen years ago. But Scott doesn't really deal with any of us fake Shemps anymore. C'est la vie.

Josh

Name: Fat Ass
E-mail: Lil_Half_PInt2@yahoo.com

Dear Josh:

your an asshole, what fucking movies has your untalented, shit talking ass made, Bitch? You
think you could make better movies than all these guys, but instead of trying, you just sit on your ass
in front of a computer screen and make fun of other
peoples shit. You=Fuckface

Dear Fat Ass:

Ah, day of assholes. I was wondering where you swamp-dwellers have been lately. Every now and then you gargoyles arise from the muck to spew your invective. Fine. Me=Filmmaker, you=nobody.

Josh

Name: Patrick Marks
E-mail: marks216@yahoo.com

Dear Josh:

You dont think Private Ryan was a good film, or even Gladiator, but you make movies like Thou shalt not kill.... except and Hammer? Hey man I dont want to
burst your bubble, but you are a piece of shit who
thinks that their steak, but you gots no taste. Go
make another Xenia warrior princess episode and stop
blasting movies that are actually good and take talent to make. I hope Spielberg fucks you up

Dear Patrick:

And I'm supposed to believe you've got taste? Prove it. And what do you think Spielberg's going to do? Come over and beat me up? Listen, moron, if having taste is based on the work you've done, then obviously you don't get to say anything, ever. Either submit the names of the films you've made that are so good you get spew your unsubstantiated opinions, or shut the fuck up and crawl back in your hole.

Josh

Name: Campbell
E-mail: camcooley@yahoo.com

Hey Josh,

You're right. I should have said "residuals". I've been in New Zealand way too long! Agree with you on 'The Jungle Book'. King Louie rocks! Enjoy your holiday time. Later dude.
-Campbell

Dear Campbell:

Ha ha! You've become a Kiwi. Yeah, King Louie is the king of the swingers, he's the jungle VIP.

Josh

Name: Cynthia E. Jones
E-mail: cynthiaejones@hotmail.com

Dear Josh,

Hey...you don't have to post this one. I was just wondering if you would take a look at my site again, I've updated it and I think it looks a lot better now, more well-organized and such. Let me know what you think if you have some time to peruse it:

http://cynthiaejones.tripod.com

Oh, and I saw "The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys" the other day on a NON-widescreen DVD (the box said it was widescreen--hmmm...) and wasn't too impressed. I think there are some filmmakers these days who think if they throw in incest or death or something into an otherwise uninteresting story, they'll get deep by default. Any thoughts?

Cindy

Dear Cindy:

I like the photos, but I had trouble loading a lot of your web pages. It seemed like all the thumbnail shots could be much smaller files. Shirley knows much more about this than I do. The set-up of the site looked good. As for having serious subject matter, you also have to have something to say about it. That's the hard part.

Josh

Name: Lenore
E-mail: fayvivian@aol.com

Dear Josh:

I just saw your movie, "Lunatics - A Love Story" on MPLEX & it's now one of my all time favorites.
If that's because it reminds me so much of my ex-boyfriend & myself, should I seek help? :)
It's a great film.

Dear Lenore:

Glad you enjoyed it. Perhaps you should seek help.

Josh

Name: Scott
E-mail:

Josh,

I just got back from a screening of Kurosawa's Stray Dog, and enjoyed it immensly . I was wondering what you thought of this film. I really liked Toshiro Mefune's (Please excuse the spelling) relentless quest to find the gun that was stolen from him. He did a really good job of playing the naive tortured soul whose ideals and intentions were in the right place, but didn't have a clue about the world around him. What surprised me the most about this film was that it seemed way ahead of it's time in regards to the direction and editing. The ending especially stands out. When Mefune discovers who the culpret is, the sequence is nicely edited. Anyway, I'd like to hear your thoughts, and would like to know what other Kurosawa films you might recommend.

Dear Scott:

It's been about 25 years since I've seen the film and not much remains. I do recall getting a good sense of post-war Tokyo and that Mifune was terrific, as always. Of Kurosawa's films, I particularly like: "Seven Samurai," "Sanjuro," "Yojimbo," "Dersu Uzala," "Ikiru," "High and Low."

Josh

Name: Barbara
E-mail: nIGHTBREEZE@AOL.COM

Dear Josh:

i FORGOT TO SAY I AM NOT JUDGEMENTAL i just wanted to know how you confused AGORAPHOBIA with phyziphrnia i know AGOIAPHOBIA an you were not let close

Dear Barbara:

Boy oh boy, you're not giving up. You may surprised to learn I wasn't telling your story. Yes, I have known some agoraphobics, and yes, I did do some research. Is the film documentary on agoraphobia? No.

Josh

Name: Barbara
E-mail: Nightbreeze@aol.com

Dear Josh:

i am not a judgemental person and my ?? to you is did you base this movie on reserch or experince bacause i know for a fack you did not capture a true agoraphoic not close he is also Scicophrenic and i know my spelling is wrong but i still know what an AGORAPHOBIC IS I AM ONE

Dear Barbara:

Since you spend so much time indoors, maybe you should have Amazon or Barnes & Noble send you a dictionary. So you figure all agoraphobics are just like you? That's a big assumption. I'm sorry if you didn't like the picture.

Josh

Name: Barbara
E-mail: Nightbreeze@aol.com

Dear Josh:

were you going for just an agoraphobic or an agoraphobic and a scozofrentic to was that on purpose

Dear Barbara:

I assume you're referring to "Lunatics." "Scozofrentic?" Yes, Hank's character has got a lot of problems. He's agoraphobic, arachnophobic, and schizophrenic (note the spelling).

Josh

Name: Campbell Cooley
E-mail: camcooley@yahoo.com

Hey Josh!

I thought of you the other day when a friend of mine told me he’s ‘wised up’ and is planning on getting out of the Big City and buying a plot in Oregon. Soooo, I thought I was overdue for a quick note to you. I like the new look of your site. Not much to report at this end. Living off roll-overs. It’s been a slow year. Bought the DVD digitally re-mastered version of ‘Beauty and the Beast’ (91) the other day. While I actually hate the Disney Corporation, the movie does go to reignite my belief that good stories CAN still be told. (I’m embarrassed to admit this but every time I’ve seen it I always end up balling my eyes out.) I think one of the reasons it’s so good is that compared to most other Disney films, the number of writers is marginal. I guess the old adage rings true, …”Too many cooks spoil the soup”.

‘Be Well’ …and enjoy all that clean air!

-Campbell

Dear Campbell:

Since I'm back in Detroit I'll enjoy the cold, snowy air. As far as Disney cartoons go, "Beauty and the Beast" is a pretty good one. Still, if I never see it again it will be fine with me. And I'll take "Jungle Book" any day of the week. I suppose "roll-overs" is the Kiwi term for residuals.

Josh

Name: Jean
E-mail:

Hi Josh,

I see where you are coming from now. But you did say that you consider kids unimportant. I'm not even going to try to speculate what kids are like these days or how parents raise their children. I'm not a parent and every generation criticizes other generations. The older people get the more they think that kids are being pandered to and that the next generation is going to turn out weak, silly and stupid. We also start to point out all the short comings of our parents generations. I guess that's a big part of being an adult. To me it's all just generalizations that in the end mean absolutely nothing. I only really know about people on a case to case basis.

In terms of films that are geared towards children I think there have been some very good movies that have been made over the years. I really enjoyed "Toy Story" and I'll watch "The Wizard of Oz" any day of the week. Lets face it, there are only good movies and bad movies.

Jean

Dear Jean:

But now all we get are bad movies. And a big reason is because the film business has targeted kids as the main audience, or more aptly, the easiest audience to influence. This too shall pass, but for the time being we're stuck in the midst of a really stupid artistic period.

Josh

Name: Justin
E-mail: salicopics@mail.com

Josh,

You don't need to defend Hammer, it's a great film (except for maybe the sub-2-minutes in question). All I've been trying to do is thoughtfully discuss it. I was under the impression that's why you're making it available through your website, to get a response.

For the most part, I'm interested in finding out how you made some of the decisions that translated to the screen, what kind of angles you approached these decisions from, and some of the options you considered. My questions and comments regarding the Max and Terry characters seemed like an appropriate example to work with after my initial confusion from the first post.

In discussing Hammer, I wanted to gain insight into the decisions that go into making as good a film as possible, and maybe question some things in a way you hadn't thought about before, so that you could take even more into consideration for your next film, but whatever.

It's at least 115/117 of a great film, and you need to make more. If I ever see Lunatics, or when you make another film, I hope you'll welcome some more questions and comments.

Justin

Dear Justin:

I'm sorry if I offended you, but I felt like you trying to make me defend my film. I'm more than happy to explain why I did what I did, but I won't defend my decisions, particularly from the stand point of changing things. As Mammy said in "Gone With the Wind," "It ain't fittin'." "Hammer" is not a work-in-progress. You wouldn't go to Francis Coppola's website and make editing suggestions for his films, would you? You must also keep in mind that just because you suggest something doesn't mean I have to take it to heart. You're the first person to confuse Max and Terry, and I ultimately have to believe that's your problem, not mine. And to keep referring to parts of the film as "fat" is insulting, which you're certainly allowed to do, but I may just get insulting back. I do appreciate your comments, though, and I thank you for buying the film.

Josh

Name: Cynthia E. Jones
E-mail: cynthiaejones@hotmail.com

Dear Josh,

Happy Thanksgiving! Thank you for your words about our youth-driven society. I turned 30 this summer, and lived in New York City for three months immediately following my birthday. I've never felt so old in my life. In a pop-culture driven society like NYC, with giant posters of girls and boys who are 16 years old everywhere selling clothing to women of "Sex and the City" age...I was terrified. You even see, like, 60 year old women with low-slung jeans and high heels, a la Jennifer Lopez, with lots of surgery to match. Their granddaughters match them at age 13. It's a weird world when we worship people who have nothing to teach us. What's become of the cherishing of elders? Where are the people who have experienced things and can teach us? I'm afraid the media will have nothing to do with them. But that's why I don't watch television. Unfortunately, movies are the same way lately, all five-character horror films with the newest TV stars, or some sort of high school or college movie. Isn't there any other time of life that's interesting? Isn't there some kind of film that stars, um, grown-ups? I'm starting to wonder. It's no surprise that I'm always watching older films...

I'm starting to think that my four years in high school should have been special and wonderful, I should have fallen in love, gone to the prom, and discovered the meaning of life, when really I was confused, shy, zit-laden, and mostly bored. Ah, well. Life. It's nothing like the movies. Thank God.

Cindy

Dear Cindy:

It's a real drag, and I blame Spielberg and Lucas with all this bullshit, There's-a-child-in-my-heart garbage. There's an adult in my heart that desperately longs for decent, intelligent movies. And when either of those guys attempts to make an adult film, they end up with their pants around their ankles and their ass blowing in the breeze (like say "The Color Purple" or "Tucker: A Man and his Dream"). And Hollywood, always looking for the no-brainer, thoughtless approach to filmmaking, has completely glommed onto this crap. They've nearly driven me into the dirt, too. I'm such a lone voice in the wilderness it's pathetic.

Josh

Name: marian bengal
E-mail: marianofNJ@aol.com

Dear Josh:

Enjoyed Shadrach. Who sang the song about Jesus walking on the water?

Dear Marian:

I don't know, I only saw the film once. But I did like it, and I thought Harvey Keitel was very good. That's the same dopey company, Mellinimum/New Image that made my friend Gary Jones' films "Spider" and "Crocodile II." Everyone at the company naturally hated "Shadrach" because it was the best film that company had ever made.

Josh

Name: Matthew Simmons
E-mail: blake112x

Dear Josh:

I am going to make a movis with me and my firend. we need to make 5,000. and we need to know how to get that kind of money? I know we can do it.

Dear Matthew:

Bug your relatives, make them feel guilty that you're a potentially great artist that won't have a chance until they cough some cash. Or get a job.
Good luck either way.

Josh

Name: Ben
E-mail: bendab02@yahoo.com

Dear Josh,

I was looking over your available movies and one thing I will say is that they are quite varied. The first impression of someone looking at the posters might be for TSNKE, an edgy, action thriller; for Lunatics, a wacky and off-kilter love comedy; for Running Time, a crime drama; and Hammer a drama with historical backing, about folk music. And they are pretty much just what they imply. Do you have any comments about either of those two topics: 1) Effective marketing and 2) Typecasting. Is there a writer/director equivalent word for typecasting? Does the type of movie influence which you do next? Do you think, "I've done a crime story, now I'll try something else?" Is it unhealthy or otherwise bad for a writer or director to stick to one kind of movie? I've only seen Running Time, so I can't say that you should probably stick to one genre or another, but do you think that in general, a person could be good at many, or do people naturally have a niche?

Thanks.

Ben

Dear Ben:

It depends on the person. Hitchcock tried other genres, but was only successful at suspense films, of which he made many. My man, William Wyler, prospered in many genres and really enjoyed changing subjects. He's my inspiration. Regarding effective marketing, there's obviously different approaches. Hollywood has found that if you spend $100 million on advertising you can basically fool a large enough segment of the audience into seeing your picture for a week or two to reach the number one spot. Of course, since none of these are actually any good, they all drop dead by the third week. If you haven't got some kind of theatrical release, I don't know how you market a film. As a TV director I was quickly typecast as a "comedy director," which I certainly didn't mind since there was an inherent trust that I would deliver a show that was funnier than the script. And any time they had a troubled comedy script, which was generally, I was brought in.

Josh

Name: Brian
E-mail: KumiteENT@aol.com

Hey Josh,

Have you even seen Lord of the Rings? I don't find that one to be catered to children at all. Just because there's a wizard in LOTR people shouldn't compare it to Harry Pothead-which is nothing more than a ticket selling children's film.

Dear Brian:

I thought it was a miserable piece of crap, and I bailed out about 70 minutes in. They hadn't bothered with any characterization in that time, so I didn't give the slightest damn about anyone. It was all expositional gobbledy-gook, and seemed like the dullest, most convulted episode of Hercules ever, and didn't look much better than a Herc ep (and shot by many of the same folks). And I certainly don't know much about it, but what I do know is that hobbits are furry little pointy-eared creatures, not just regular old actors slightly shrunken.

Josh

Name: Kim
E-mail: mrsdagle@yahoo.com

Dear Josh,

I see where you're coming from in regards to entertainment as it's marketed to kids. Not only is it really distracting to the rest of us, but it's harmful to the kids themselves. While Jean was berating you for your attitude, she was describing a wholly different childhood than that of today's kids. We didn't have a gazillion kid-only tv stations or the seasonal blockbuster that comes with merchandise. The whole point of childhood is to learn how to be an adult. Instead, we are exalting the arrested development of whole generations. I see one of the real casualties of this exaggerated generation gap is the true family movie (and family tv). It's either sex, violence or Disney.
Sincerely,
Kim
PS Please don't confuse my finding humor in The Bad Seed with insulting it. I found it frightening as well, and very well done. I see a lot of irony in the characters, how the consequences of their actions contradicted their intentions. That makes me laugh.

Dear Kim:

Well, "The Bad Seed" is kind of over-the-top, but I appreciate it for that. It was a play before, and had been around for a while. Introducing the entire cast one by one is pretty absurd, too. And having just mentioned good old Mervyn LeRoy regarding "Mr. Roberts," he also directed "The Bad Seed" (and he produced "The Wizard of Oz"). Anyway, you clearly see my point about this kid's generation we're stuck in. And as an adult I'm supposed to care about all this kid's crap like it actually means something? Well I don't. If it's meant for kids then I don't want to see it. When I do end up seeing some of this drek, like "Lord of the Rings" or "The Phantom Menace," it's so fucking God-awful it boggles my mind. I also have to keep hearing that kids are "so smart these days," which seems blatantly untrue. When I was fourteen I knew when World War II was, but I daresay you won't find a kid under twenty-one that knows now. And kids seemed so entitled now to extra consideration because everything is geared to them. If the average life-span is eighty years, we spend ten years as a kid, ten years as a teen, then sixty years as an adult, and that's the important part.

Josh

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

Josh,

I, too, thought that "Without a Clue" was really funny. Michael Caine is almost doing a Michael Caine impersonation and it comes off really well. Several folks have mentioned "The Apartment", and deservedly so. Another great Lemmon movie, "Mr. Roberts" never gets old for me. Cagney might never have been better. And on a naval theme, what about "Operation Petticoat"? Ah, for the days when Tony Curtis was an actor.

John

Dear John:

I've always loved "Mr. Roberts." I did Cagney's big speech in drama class in high school, and got marked down for imitating Cagney. Warner Bros. didn't want Henry Fonda, whom they considered box-office poison at the time, even though he had starred in the play. When John Ford was hired to direct he demanded that Fonda play the part. Fonda kept giving Ford grief during the shooting because he was doing it differently than the play. Finally, John Ford punched Henry Fonda in the mouth and quit. Mervyn ("I Was a Fugitive From a Chain Gang") LeRoy then took over.

Josh

Name: Ron
E-mail:

Hey Shirley,

The background on the main page is awesome. How did you make that? What software did you use?

Thanks so much,
Ron

PS Keep up the great work. The site looks amazing!

Dear Ron,

Thanks, I'm glad you like it. It's the posters from Josh's films, shrunk down, pasted into sort of a collage, and 'colorized' (if I recall correctly), using Paint Shop Pro.

Shirley

Name: Jean
E-mail:

Hi Josh,

I';ve been frequenting your site for quite awhile now and I agree with a lot of your opinions. I rarely get pissed about anything that people say or write because in the end it's just not worth it. But what you wrote about kids has got me fuming. What an uninformed and obtuse thing to say. Kids are much smarter then people give them credit. If you sit down and talk to a kid like a normal person you will see that they have very interesting thoughts and feelings. The attitude that kids are 'unimportant' is one of the reasons why people grow up to be weak and stupid. If you had children of your own would you treat them as unimportant? My parents never treated us as anything less then human beings. Some of my fondest memories from childhood are of just sitting around and talking to my parents. Parenting to them was much more then just feeding us and putting clothes on our back. They treated us like we were important people. And now my brother and I are both well adjusted adults and our family is extremely close. We never had the upper hand when we were kids. Our parents made it VERY clear who was in charge but they never treated us like shit. As a matter of fact the attitude that kids are unimportant and less then human is one of the reasons so many kids get treated like shit! Have you ever spent a significant amount of time around kids? Kids are a blast if you treat them right. The notion that children should be seen and not heard is so moronic and fucked up it makes me sick. When kids are ignored by their parents they grow up to be assholes, end of story. Josh, lighten up! You sound like a bitter old man.

Jean

Dear Jean:

I agree with everything you say, but I simply don't appreciate being in a society that now seems dominated by kids, and caters and kowtows to them. I'm not saying kids should be seen and not heard, I'm saying I don't have to pay attention to stuff intended for children since I am no longer a child. Kids can deal with it however they want. When I was a kid I didn't like things intended for children, and I like them even less now. Harry Potter, and Lord of the Rings, and Star Wars may well be the thing, but I don't have to care or give them any creedence.

Josh

Name: Josh
E-mail: peturpann@hotmail.com

Dear Josh:

What do you think about Harry Potter? Just wondering.

Dear Josh:

I don't think anything about it. I haven't read the books, not seen the movies, nor do I care to. You see, Harry Potter is for kids. I am an adult. As it says in the bible, "When I was a child I spake as a child, and I thought as a child; but now that I'm a man, I've put away my childish things." I utterly reject this whole child-oriented society we're in. As far as I'm concerned kids are unimportant, and are simply unformed adults. Nothing they think or do is of any real meaning until they've grown up. I think this will be the most coddled, weak, silly, stupid generation yet because we won't stop pandering to the kids. So I spit on all films meant for kids.

Josh

Name: Jean
E-mail:

Hi Josh,

Wow! You don't like the Farlley Bros. Jim Carry or rap music. You're killing me over here!

On the subject of funny films I would have to say that "Airplane" always makes me laugh. "Animal House" still holds up for me as well. I watched "Broadcast News" the other night and found myself laughing at a lot of Albert Brooks' lines. "The Jerk" slaughters me as does "Life of Brian." I also agree that "The Meaning of Life" is pretty damn funny. It even has a musical number! There are some classic moments in "Being There" as well. No one can or ever will be able to touch Peter Sellers in my opinion. He was in a category all his own. I think that there is some pretty amusing stuff on TV right now. "Sex and the City" always has me doubled over.

Jean

Dear Jean:

I've seen most episodes of "Sex and the City," and for the first three seasons I quite enjoyed it. Now, however, I'm sick of it and I feel they've outlived their usefullness. Every secondary character has been used, discarded, brought back, then discarded again. Each time Aidan and Big are brought back yet again I feel like they've just run out of ideas. That's the problem with TV, it's meant to be repetitive doing the same situation 24 times a year, and eventually it simply has to become too repetitive. Very few shows, if any, can get past 100 episodes and have anything left to give.
Meanwhile, I have to agree with you that "Broadcast News" is pretty funny, and holds up quite well. Brooks' flop-sweat scene is hysterical.

Josh

Name: Cynthia E. Jones
E-mail: cynthiaejones@hotmail.com

Dear Josh,

Just a quick comment first: Why is it that young wanna-be filmmakers think that someone's going to give them money, when the rest of the world's artists starve and assume no one will ever help us out? Just curious...it's a 'get off your ass and make money your damn self' situation, kids...

At any rate...I agree with your review of the Farrelly Brother's "comedic" talents. Farting, etc. stopped being funny when I was, what...12? I prefer more complicated, literate comedy (such as 30's screwball--which was much more on the witty side than slapstick), but I do have to admit that the occasional ridiculous film can make its way into my heart. With that said, I'll list "Flirting With Disaster," (Ben Stiller and Tea Leoni's disastrous 'sex' scenes, an FBI man on acid singing "I am the wind!" etc.) "The Apartment," with Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine (although it's sad and funny, which is what makes the comedy so sweet), the documentary "American Movie," which makes me laugh every god damn time I see it (although more out of pity than anything else), most early Woody Allen films ("Annie Hall" always cheers me up), and, for unintentional humor, "Can't Stop the Music," the Village People movie, which features Steve Guttenburg and Valerie Perrine (pee-u!), and a fantastic, utterly gay dance number with naked men in the "Y.M.C.A." I'm also fond of "If..." by Lindsay Anderson, and "Brittania Hospital," which has a great cameo by a pot-smoking Mark Hamill. But those aren't bust-your-gut hilarious, they're more two-weeks later long-lasting hilarious and thought-provoking. Oh, yeah, it's called political satire. Like "Dr. Strangelove," but that one makes me laugh. A lot.

Fortunately or unfortunately, great comedy is very difficult, just like genuinely scary films. I think dramas are the easiest, 'cos life is so damn hard most of the time....who was it that said, "Dying is easy. Comedy is hard." ??

Take care,

Cindy

Dear Cindy:

I believe that line's attributed to George Bernard Shaw. I didn't find "If . . ." to be a comedy at all. I absolutely agree with "The Apartment," though, which I think is brilliant and has many great laughs in it. I love when the executive is speaking into his dictaphone and says, "Billing-wise, and accounting-wise, we're ahead of last month, October-wise."

Josh

Name: Brian C.
E-mail: canadab@excite.com

Dear Josh:

I noticed a couple of posts concerning the most humorous films - I would like to submit "Without a Clue" (http://us.imdb.com/Title?0096454) for consideration. Michael Caine and Ben Kingsley perform as Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson in a brilliantly acted parody of the famous detective. If you have not seen it, do yourself a great favor and pick it up - make some popcorn - and be entertained by this superb comedy.

-Brian

Dear Brian:

I haven't seen it and Netflix doesn't carry it. If it pops up on TV I'll watch it.

Josh

Name: Evan
E-mail: eandrews@volcanomail.com

Dear Josh,

A few times on this site people have mentioned South Park, but you've never said what you think about it. Personally, I think its one of the most satirical and hillarious shows on t.v., next to the Simpsons. I was just wondering what you thought.

Also, I saw Michael Moore's film Bowling for Columbine the other day and it really is great, If you get a chance to see it I strongly recommend it.
thanks, Evan

Dear Evan:

"South Park" seems okay, but I haven't watched it very much. I really don't like watching TV shows. I did see "Bowling" and it was a under discussion for a while here, but I guess you missed it. I have since written Michael Moore a letter saying that I felt he was leading me somewhere in the film that he was too PC and ultra-liberal to confront, which is of that 11,600 number of shootings each year in the U.S., how many are actually scared white people shooting black people, how many are white people shooting white people (like at Columbine), and how many are black people shooting black people, which I'd say is by far the majority. And I think a large portion of that number is inter-familial shootings among blacks. Why is that? I'd like to know. So, although I enjoyed sitting through the film, I think it's actually rather cowardly. And picking on an aged, infirm Charlton Heston, who desrves to be picked on, isn't all that brave.

Josh


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