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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
Dear Josh: Hi Josh,
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!
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.
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?
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
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
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?
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
dope now? still, who does the most? bruce, sam, you,
do. I smoked before all those guys, and I'll smoke after
them. They all have wives and kids and shit, I don't.
reading your article, I laughed uncontrollably with
article? Who are you?
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
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.
Cynthia E. Jones
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?
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.
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
read "Winds of Fate and enjoyed it immensely! I
was especially pleased to
see that you'd included the Gurkhas, who are (in my
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?
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?
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
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.
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!
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?
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.
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.)
the day? I smoke a lot of dope all the time.
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."
- 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.
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.)
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."
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.
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.
we're all waiting for your next wrap party. The beer
will be on me.
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.
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.
there was, about fifteen years ago. But Scott doesn't
really deal with any of us fake Shemps anymore. C'est
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
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,
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
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.
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.
ha! You've become a Kiwi. Yeah, King Louie is the king
of the swingers, he's the jungle VIP.
Cynthia E. Jones
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:
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.
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
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.
you enjoyed it. Perhaps you should seek help.
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.
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."
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
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.
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
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.
you going for just an agoraphobic or an agoraphobic
and a scozofrentic to was that on purpose
assume you're referring to "Lunatics." "Scozofrentic?"
Yes, Hank's character has got a lot of problems. He's
agoraphobic, arachnophobic, and schizophrenic (note
thought of you the other day when a friend of mine told
me hes 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. Its 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. (Im embarrassed to admit this but
every time Ive seen it I always end up balling
my eyes out.) I think one of the reasons its so
good is that compared to most other Disney films, the
number of writers is marginal. I guess the old adage
Too many cooks spoil the soup.
and enjoy all that clean air!
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Cynthia E. Jones
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...
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.
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.
Shadrach. Who sang the song about Jesus walking on the
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
"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.
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
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.
background on the main page is awesome. How did you
make that? What software did you use?
Keep up the great work. The site looks amazing!
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.
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.
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.
do you think about Harry Potter? Just wondering.
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.
You don't like the Farlley Bros. Jim Carry or rap music.
You're killing me over here!
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.
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
Meanwhile, I have to agree with you that "Broadcast
News" is pretty funny, and holds up quite well.
Brooks' flop-sweat scene is hysterical.
Cynthia E. Jones
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,
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.
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."
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."
noticed a couple of posts concerning the most humorous
films - I would like to submit "Without a Clue"
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.
haven't seen it and Netflix doesn't carry it. If it
pops up on TV I'll watch it.
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.
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.
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.