for reminding me about platform releasing. I tried to
tell a 26-year-old about that, and he didn't know what
I was talking about. But yeah, that's the way movies
used to be released and I liked it that way.
comments re: My Big Fat Greek Wedding and the fraidy-cats
who run the 'wood these days are right ON.
too bad there are so many young people with the disposable
income to support the kind of crap that the 'wood is
foisting upon us these days. They don't know any better,
tho', they're just dealing with what's available. They've
been trained to like crap.
of my generation are more discerning about what they'll
spend their 10 bucks on, so that's why the 'wood aims
their crap at that young demographic which they've trained
to like it.
like you said, the 'wood is running on FEAR these days.
Buncha pussies who're afraid to take a chance--even
with flicks like MBFGW making huge returns on investment
right in front of their faces!
then, FEAR is pretty much running this entire country
point. As my friend, who owns a local ISP, was telling
me yesterday, we're on our way to passing a federal
law that internet providers have to come up with a system
to scan everybody's email to make sure it doesn't contain
any allusions to terrorism. And I'm certain no one will
complain, either, because we'll give up our civil rights
in a second in the face of a suspected threat. I can
now be stopped for absolutely no reason and the cops
can go through my entire car and its contents simply
because I live near a northern border, and I might have
just brought terrorists in from Windsor, Ontario. Our
government clearly wants us to be afraid all the time,
too, that's why we now have Department of Paranoia,
run by Ashcroft, to announce utterly bogus terrorist
threats every other week -- that have all turned out
false so far -- just to keep our adrenaline pumping.
So why shouldn't Hollywood be consumed with fear, too.
It's the American way.
do you think of Roman Polanski and his work? Will you
be looking forward to The Pianist?
And what do you think in regards to his crime?
pleased that Polanski seems to have finally made a decent
movie, after over a twenty year hiatus. It does seem
like there's probably nothing new in the depiction of
the holocaust, which has been covered extensively in
movies. I've always thought that Polanski should film
Jerzy Kosinski's book "The Painted Bird,"
which parallels Polanski's youth during the war. I read
Polanski's autobiography, "Roman" by Polanski,
and he explains his crime in detail, and the fact that
he already served about a year in prison, and could
have ended up doing ten more, which he felt was too
much. That young girl is probably pushing forty now,
so maybe it's time to forgive and forget. Maybe not.
I honestly don't care about artists' personal lives,
just their art. Wagner may very well have been a rabid
Anti-Semite, but I still love "Tristan und Isolde."
D. W. Griffith clearly had his head politically up his
ass, but I still respect him greatly as innovative filmmaker.
John Wayne also had his head politically up his own
ass, but I like his films, too.
so Robert Zemeckis directed "Contact". Never
saw it and don't plan to. Not only is Zemeckis a hack
he also has the worst hair plugs I have ever seen in
my life! You think he would be able to afford something
Have you seen the comercials for "Catch Me If You
Can"? Tom Hanks has an almost cartoonish New England
accent. A la Rob Morrow in "Quiz Show". "We
cot yer son faargin' checks". Oh man, I lost it
the first time I saw it. It may be even better then
Kevin Costner's embarassing attempts at accents. Or
saw "Fanalysis" this past weekend. It was
really fun to watch. Have you ever gone to any of those
conventions that Bruce Campbell and Ted Raimi frequent?
If so, what's that like? It seems like a parallel universe.
Those folks REALLY get into the characters. The documentary
was kind of short. I would have liked to have seen more.
made me laugh, particularly the woman dressed as Xena,
who legally changed her name to Xena, but luckily she's
not obsessed by the character. There's a terrific shot
of her and a cardboard standee of Lucy side by side
that begins on the feet and tilts up. As it's tilting
you think you're seeing Lucy standing beside the standee,
until you get up to the face and realize it's the other
woman. And the heavy-set girl in her complicated Klingon
outfit. Yikes! Meanwhile, I don't know what the deal
is with all these phony accents in movies. I just saw
a long clip of "The Gangs of New York" and
you've got Leonardo DiCaprio doing Irish, which could
be highly problematic. In the recent "Path to War,"
there was Michael Gambon, who's British, trying and
failing a Texas accent, Alec Baldwin failing at a Missouri
accent, and I forget what Donald Sutherland was supposed
to be doing, but he wasn't pulling it off, either. I
just watched "Quiz Show" again and Rob Morrows
Boston accent is really annoying. And Paul Scofield
is doing a dead-nuts imitation of Joseph Cotten, whom
he made a picture with ("A Delicate Balance").
Mel Gibson still sounds weird to me doing American,
like he's from the fifty-first state.
i hope you could help me
looking for the North by Northwest Ernest Lehman screenplay
Any idea where can i find it. I'v search in any site
but nothing. I'll be glad if u can help me
obviously didn't look very hard. Ernest Lehman's screenplay
for "North By Northwest" is published, in
print, and available through any bookstore, or online
see somebody say "American Splendor" can be
another "American Beauty". I don't know, I
am not so brave to see American Beauty after you review.
I know, yes, American Splendor autobiography comic that
Harvey Pekar write from years to now. He was inspired
by Crumb comics, and Robert Crumb indeed illustrate
some of his scripts. He was have cancer and that was
matter for some of his work, too.
Now, that movie is very recent, I don't know if is commercially
launched, I think was or will exhibited at Sundance.
I did think maybe you or somebody more in this forum
can would see them.
Eeek... my English sound very primitive tonight! Sorry!
By the way, I read "If I had a hammer". I
loved. I hope can have a copy very soon. I started last
night and in the morning I find my mother watching on
TV "I Wanna Hold your Hand" (?) from... mmmm...
(Zemeckis??). I did say she with indignation something
like "That's the wrong stuff"...
Man, my mom was watching the infernal side of your story...
Thanks again for "If I had a Hammer". You
really are an unstoppable force.
So you're saying that "American Splendor"
is not "American Beauty." All right then.
And Zemeckis gets brought up again today. I really despised
"I Wanna Hold Your Hand" as plain old idiotic
and not funny. I did like the way he handled The Beatles
on Ed Sullivan, though, by having doubles in the background
out of focus, and the actual footage on the monitors
of the TV cameras in the foreground. I daresay, however,
that if Zemeckis wasn't good buds with Spielberg he'd
have never made it anywhere in the film business.
you recommend that I copyright my script. I've already
registered it with the WGA, but some say you should
do both. Are they right, or are they just morons. Also,
is there any difference between registering a script
with the WGAe as opposed to the WGAw. Thank you in advance.
no difference between registering with the east or west
coast version of WGA. But copyrighting is far more important.
The Copyright office is part of the Library of Congress
and is the official way to guard your script. The WGA
is simply a trade union, and doesn't have near the standing
in a court of law, which is where it matters. Just stating
"Copyright" (with the copyright symbol (c))
on the front of a script has meaning -- it says, "Don't
steal this script or you're breaking the law."
Registering in both places can't hurt, but if you're
going to choose just one, it ought to be an actual Copyright.
you know of a source which lists movies chronologically?
You've mentioned a number of times that movies are geared
towards kids these days and I was interested in checking
out the numbers. I want to see how I would classify
the target audiences for movies for maybe the last fifteen
or twenty years or so. To do that I'll need a list of
movies, at least the major releases, from that time
period only. If anybody else has suggestions lay'em
on me. Thanks as always,
don't know about their availability, but the Academy
of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (the folks that
give the Oscars) send out a list every year to their
members of every film released the past year that's
eligible for Oscar nomination, which means any film
that's played theatrically in LA for at least one week.
So does the Director's Guild, and I'd assume, so does
the Writer's Guild. My late friend Rick had all the
eligibility lists from 1927 through about 1994, but
they all went into the crapper when he died. The other
source for this would be the John Willis Screen World
books, that come out every year and list every film
released the previous year, in the order they were released.
Those can be gotten from the library or a book store.
suppose you've said all this stuff before, but it just
suddenly hit me that nothing particularly significant
has been made in a long time. We have had varying degrees
of good and bad entertainment, good and bad art over
the last 20 years, but nothing that really strikes me
as a timeless work, the sort of thing that we could
look back on 50 years from now and think of as a classic.
the 24 years that I've been here I've given moviemakers
the benefit of the doubt. They're trying to make the
best movies they can, and who am I to judge if their
films are truly great or not. But since I've starting
working on my own stories and doing a few short films,
I've come to realize that the people making all the
current movies are either lazy, incompetent, or simply
boring individuals. I can understand kids out of film
school having a hard time coming up with a great feature
film script. But it truly disappoints me that these
30, 40, 50 year old writers out there have nothing to
say. What the fuck have you been doing the last 40 years
of your life? Has nothing struck you as interesting
in this world that would be worth writing about? I'd
like to know what the other people on this discussion
board think. If you were 50 years old and working on
a script with 5 other writers about a guy getting switched
into a girl's body, wouldn't you start to question what
happened to your career?
used to give these filmmakers the benefit of the doubt,
as most audiences seem to do. Five or six years ago
I would try to see everything that came out, I didn't
really mind that most of the films were about nothing,
they were films and I just love the medium. Now I can
barely get out to the theater more than a few times
a year, dragged by some friends to see either some desperately
bad drama (like Road to Perdition) or a raunchy comedy/action
piece of crap. It honestly depresses me that I have
this desire to make movies and yet there's like basically
nothing being released that stimulates me. I feel like
the bar is set so incredibly low, and most of the stuff
doesn't even know there is a bar. Well-made cable movies
just aren't the same. I want smart, stimulating adult
movies to be released into movie theaters, and apparently
thats just too much to ask.
year there's a few that claim to be that sort of film
and they keep disappointing. I'm looking at a list of
movies that are supposedly some of the best of the year,
and we've got the annoying looking Adaptation from the
Being John Malkovich writer, Gangs of New York which
critics are saying is a mess, Catch Me if you Can which
looks like another lightweight Spielberg confection,
uh.. Right now there are two movies I have some hope
for: About Schmidt and The Pianist. Other people on
this board might disagree with me, but can you honestly
say that movies these days offer anything more to you
than ok entertainment? Sitting on my ass in a sticky
movie theater for two hours is not my idea of entertainment.
I can find better things to keep myself, and its not
like watching a movie is a great way to spend time with
friends. I go to the movies to get a new perspective
on things, to get my mind going in new directions. Instead
I'm stuck getting puked on by some jerks watching 8
Mile or having my ears blown off by a cheesy Vin Diesel
movie. Its like seriously, what the fuck happened to
writers in LA. They can't come up with anything better?
I have to blame the people. There are alot of desperate,
unhappy writers living and working in tinseltown. They
have a responsibility to stop the cycle of mindless
shit. They are shirking this responsibility every time
they come on with 10 other writers to make Mortal Kombat
3. It's time to stop the nonsense, the American public
deserves better than its getting right now. We're not
as stupid as Hollywood wants us to be, are we?
always find it amusing when some other movie lover arrives
at the same place as me. I got here about ten years
ago. I used to see nearly every film that came out,
and had for twenty-five years previously. Suddenly,
I felt like my back was broken. Having paid for and
sat through 1000 pieces of Hollywood shit in a row,
I just stopped going to the movies. I do think you're
misplacing the responsibility for this debacle -- it's
not necessarily the writer's fault, it's the dumbass
executives that hire them. Keep in mind that very few,
if any, Hollywood films are based on spec scripts anymore.
The writers are writing what they're hired to write.
I suspect that most members of the Writer's Guild could
do a much better job if they were writing the stories
they thought were good, and not being constantly interfered
with. Writers are treated like crap in Hollywood, and
on a very basic level are the most important people
involved in filmmaking. What Hollywood needs are better,
smarter executives that are asking for higher quality
stories, and I have no doubt the writers would happily
just read an interesting article that might amuse you.
Awhile back Warner Bros. asked Trey Parker and Matt
Stone, the creators of South Park, to edit out some
things on the audio commentary for the South Park DVD's.
Specifically a section where they say some not so nice
things about the film "Contact". Apparently
at one point Matt Stone says that it's one of the worst
movies that he has ever seen. South Park is somehow
connected to Warner Bros. and the "suits"
wanted Parker and Stone to clean-up the commentary in
fear of offending Jodie Foster. WB released "Contact"
and they felt that it was disrespectful for these guys
to be talking shit about one of their films. WB even
went as far as contacting (no pun intended) Jodie Foster
and the director of the film. Both of them said that
they could care less about what these guys said on a
DVD commentary. In fact Jodie Foster told the dorks
at WB that she is a fan of South Park. But WB continued
to push and prod Parker and Stone to edit the track.
After 6 months of being harassed by the suits the guys
decided to pull the entire commentary track from the
DVD's. They now offer the commentary on a free CD that
you can send away for. How insane is that? Stone and
Parker both said that they stuck to their guns out of
pride but also because they were quite proud of the
commentary that they recorded. And now WB is pissed
because the CD is out there. Who fucking cares!? What
a bunch of retards!
course, I'm with Parker and Stone in that you can't
run down "Contact" enough, as it was such
a monumental piece of shit. And the director of "Contact,"
BTW, is that overrated hack, Robert Zemeckis.
you check out Kevin Spacey's new site triggerstreet.com?
It's supposed to help independant filmmakers get more
haven't yet, but I've heard about it. I'll do it now.
of great American movies, I saw Driven the other day.
I have to hand it to Stallone and Renny Harlin, they
are grown adults that haven't got a single clue. How
is it even possible that the same guy that wrote Rocky
wrote this.. film? I've come to a couple conclusions
if you don't mind reading.
is like a gay vampire that basically sucks the originality
and creativity right out of its inhabitants. A guy like
Stallone enters with a moderate amount of talent, becomes
successful, and completely loses touch with humanity.
He desperately wants to make successful movies but hasn't
a clue how to make something worth watching. In a way,
this idea works in larger terms. I think that Hollywood
sucks these days because people are too happy. I imagine
a utopian society where no one has any good stories
to tell. I think a world of conflict is necessary for
good art. If the people making movies/art have no interesting
conflict in their lives, they have nothing to offer
anyone else. I think its fair to say that there ARE
still great stories out there, but in the empty utopia
of hollywood these stories are not being written, and
disliked if their are. Watching a film like Driven I
wonder if the people that made this film are fellow
members of the human race. It was sort of like Terminator
on the racetrack, I didn't believe these were real people
for a minute. Its almost getting to the point with movies
these days that the shit could be programmed into a
computer by a bunch of monkeys and we wouldn't know
the difference. Who needs the skills of observation
when you can program a 90 minute film of Adam Sandler
tripping on Mel Gibson staring into his flattened crops?
course, I entirely agree. You're sort of restating the
theory I put forth in my essay "Stories & Society."
Stories are the representation of our society's mindset.
Right now, and for the past twenty years, the main goal
of our society is to make money and be rich. Even if
the movie itself isn't on that topic, the film's reason
for existence is. "Driven" only exists because
Stallone believes he needs another hit. Period. It's
not about your's or my enjoyment or edification. This
is exactly the same reason Lucas keeps making "Star
Wars" films. Money, and only money. Hollywood's
best films were made either during the depression, WWII,
the Korean War, and the war in Vietnam. Since that last
conflict ended in 1975, it's been downhill ever since.
Now the most dramatic thing around is going to Hollywood
and making a movie. As has been said, "Success
has destroyed more people than failure." Very few
people know what to do with success, and it immediately
confounds their sense of value. Suddenly, staying rich
and famous overrides all other considerations. It's
sad, but this too shall pass.
loved your review of My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Haven't
seen it yet. The last two movies I saw in a theater
were Cronenberg's SPIDER and Hideo Nakata's DARK WATERS.
People ask me if I've seen the remake of Nakata's RING.
My response is "Which One?" On video &
DVD I have the origional, the 2 sequels, the prequel
and the Korean Version. Why should I bother? Last movie
I saw before the 2 I just mentioned was MINORITY REPORT
and I have to agree it did suck in a major & disapointing
way! And this is coming from one of the few people who
loved A.I. I only half agree with your final comment
about if you make only cheap crap you can never loose.
That might of been true when AIP, AMICUS and New World
pictures was still run by Corman. Today the king of
cheap crap is Charlie Band. I think you know why he
always wins. He produces a movie for 7 hundred thousand,
he tells the financer it cost A million 3, funnels the
difference into his castle and studios and "production
costs", & once the money has been "washed"
through his companies' "expenses" He pockets
it. He wins and you & I who grew up on a steady
diet of good crap have completely lost our appetites.
I wish you would open up the next AMICUS. I'd be first
in line to work for you.
loved "A.I."? I've got some land down in Florida
you might be interested in buying. For me "A.I."
wins the "Interminable Award," since I wasn't
sure the film would ever end. It follows up on "Magnolia,"
another film where I thought I was caught on some level
of Dante's hell where I might be stuck there forever.
At least American International and Corman made some
watchable crap, Charlie Band only makes unwatchable
enough. I guess I misunderstood the tone of the poem.
Is it a new work?
I just finished it last month. It may not seem like
it, but it took me a couple of months to work it out.
E-mail: spammers, a hex upon you
August -- see, actually, there really *is* a missing
"Xena and Ares do it" scene. In "Armaggedon
Now". You can even buy 8 x 10 glossies of the edited-out
aforementioned canoodling. So neener neener with sugar
on top. I know, I know, that wasn't really your point,
I just had to get that in there!
back to the "Hud" topic for a minute, I once
tried to explain the Ares dynamic to someone puzzled
as to the appeal of a "bad boy" character
(cringe-worthy cliche` term, I know) by telling them
to check out Paul Newman's Hud. The glimpses of humanity
and self reproach in a character built up with such
bravado I always find interesting, even if in the end
they stick to their status-quo.
Any examples in film that you find genuinely interesting
Josh? I never myself understood the fascination with
archetype Stanley, in A Streetcar Named Desire. It seemed
Stella going down those stairs to him at the end smacked
of '50's sensabilities toward lust. (Written in '47?)
Being the fan I am for seeing that behavior/character
explored in a story, you'd think I'd "get it".
We're supposed to see him as a miserable monster, pretty
much irredeemable? Or, in the end, not? I heard the
Legion of Decency or whatever cleaned up Blanche's past
for the film, she seduced some student in her past and
was hinted to be a "a nymphomaniac". So- what
the character of Blanche thinks of Stanley-- does it
differ in the play vs. the film? BTW-Kevin Smith played
Stanley on stage in NZ in one of his last gigs. He sized
up the character as basically a miserable rapist.
the question that's lurking in there, who are some other
interesting bad boy characters? One of the most famous,
although I don't like him at all, is Richard Burton
in "Look Back in Anger," which is the first
of the British "Angry Young Man" films. I
liked Albert Finney in "Saturday Night and Sunday
Morning" and felt he was the direct influence on
Alex in "A Clockwork Orange," another bad
boy. My favorite of those films is "A Kind of Loving"
with Alan Bates, but he's more frustrated than angry.
There's Marlon Brando in "The Wild One" which
is pretty good, if a tad diffuse on motivation -- "What
are you rebelling against?" "What've ya got?"
And of course James Dean in "East of Eden"
and "Rebel Without a Cause."
script just got rejected by a production company. They
said that they had already optioned a couple of scripts
that were similar in genre and style. I thought that
sounded sneaky. Do you think they're setting me up to
be ripped off, or they just thought it sucked the big
one? I heard how your script Crime after Crime was ripped
off by Columbia; did you try to sue?
not. Copyright suits are some of the most difficult
and expensive law suits there are. Honestly, I don't
think about or worry about being ripped off. Since no
one seems to give the slightest shit what script they
shoot, or what it even means to be a decent script,
why rip anyone off? I wouldn't worry about it.
read your "Jehosus" poem, but didn't feel
the need to comment until August said that it was accurate.
I have been searching for answers my entire life, and
I'm glad that she could now set the story straight.
I will refer any confused people to this woman.
I'm being sarcastic and unfair, but it was just funny
to see someone make such a bold statement on matters
of opinion--opinions vehemently held to be truths by
both stubborn sides, but opinions nonetheless. As strongly
as I profess my Catholic beliefs, while also begrudgingly
admitting that anyone is free to disagree, do you also
consider your poem to be 100% fact, and 1% opinion?
you're looking for critical analysis for the poem as
a poem, then the subject matter may be too controversial
to allow that. Basically, you're asking people if they
agree with your position on God. Anyone who devoutly
practices a religion will not, and those who don't will
eat it up. Would my opinion be biased? Probably. I found
much of the poem sing-songy and kind of childish. I
tend to be more anal with poetry and prefer to stick
precisely to the rhyme, meter, and accents that I set
forth in the first stanza, if it's a poem I am taking
seriously. The half-rhymes like Buddalla to scholar
annoy me. However, the line about us six billion being
his chosen few was perfect. I like those types of contrasts
that bring something that we consider so massive down
to what it is beside God--a small matter.
of the things I said, I would have preferred to ease
back on in other cases, but I actually feel like I'm
mirroring your own attitude. Even though you can tear
someone's work to shreds and call it exactly what you
think it is, doesn't mean you're trying to insult anyone
as a person.
if you're still reading, have you heard that Mel Gibson
is making a movie about the death of Christ and filming
it all in Latin and Aramic with no subtitles? We obviously
know your religious standpoint, but as far as Gibson
doing something that he wants to do and blatantly disregarding
all popular sentiment, do you have any admiration for
that? Or is the prospect of a movie like that so ludicrous
that there's no merit to it. Don't you think that since
we survived with silent movies, the Twilight Zone (the
one where the old lady who was being harassed by the
spacecraft never spoke, and it was revealed to be a
United States ship), and other visual stories, a film
like this could be good?
fingers are tired.
no facts involved, it's all opinion. And everyone's
opinion is biased. I don't care if any agrees or disagrees
with me. Its rhyme-scheme is sort of Dr. Seuss-like,
and meant to be childish. Rhyming Buddallah with scholar
is meant to be funny, just like rhyming Koran with Morman.
I actually kind of conceived the poem as the lyrics
to a country-western song, with Flatt & Scruggs-like
banjos behind it. As for Mel Gibson, I don't think he's
got the ability to make a decent movie, let alone something
intelligent or controversial. And once a guy has a trillion
dollars, how brave is it to make a film financed by
someone else on a subject that may not make money? He
ain't risking his own money, other than the reduced
fee. And haven't we already had enough films about Jesus?
If someone actually wanted to depict him as the dark-haired,
big-nosed, Jewish semitic guy he was, that might be
interesting, but any more depictions of him as a blue-eyed
blond are entirely unnecessary.
you review Monster's Ball? I looked for it in your Review
section and couldn't find it. I caught it on the tv
a few nights ago. I really wasn't impressed with it.
The performances seemed contrived, and the editing seemed
choppy and uneven. The story wasn't fleshed out enough.
I think there were some great moments and some great
truths, but overall not that great of a film. What do
didn't review it. I liked it, but having seen it twice
I never need to see it again. I certainly think it's
one of the better films of recent days, but that doesn't
make it a great film by any means. Quite frankly, the
aspect that moved me the most was Berry's overweight
son, who disappears from the picture fairly early on.
I do think there's a legitimately interesting story
going on, and I liked the way it ended. It's pretentiously
directed, but that's just par for the course these days.
At least it's not stupid and not aimed at kids.
you ever read Just Tell Me When to Cry, Richard Fleischer's
memoirs and musings about his years as a director? I
didn't notice on your recommended reading list. I'm
only about 1/4 of the way in, but it's a great no-bullshit
look at the industry from the 50s forward. Great John
Wayne anecdotes too, heh.
are right on about the lack of tough-guys in modern
cinema. Where are the Burt Lancasters and Kirk Douglases?
Nuthin' but candy-asses these days.
At least there's still a Bruce Campbell out there!
I've both read and own "Just Tell Me When to Cry."
It was good, but I didn't think it was great. I do like
Richard Fleischer, who was a no-bullshit director. One
of his earliest pictures, which was for Stanley Kramer,
was "So This is New York," which I've only
seen once, but I laughed like hell, and I found it very
surprising for a 1947 film. I also quite like another
early B-picture of his, "Follow Me Quietly,"
which has a great scare in it. Also, "The Narrow
Margin" (1950) is a really snappy B-film (forget
the remake). I watched "Fantastic Voyage"
again not too long ago -- a film that blew me away as
a kid -- and was impressed at how snappy it was. Once
again, no bullshit. I also love "The Vikings."
I have an old model H-16 Bolex camera (it's Non-reflex
though) laying around. I also have a reverie 16mm magazine
camera (do you know how much these things are worth
by any chance?). Nothing fancy or professional. I was
looking at the Bolex EL earlier, they seem very good
and are able to be bought at a good price on auction
sites. I looked at the arri sr you talked about, it
seems like an awesome camera...very pricey.
for the reader's edification is not pandering.
just watched a lot of footage shot with a Bolex last
night, and it all looked great, both black & white
and color. Far better than any digital or video camera.
You simply can't beat the look of film at this stage
of the game. The problem with using is Bolex is that
it's unforgiving. You must remember to set everything
for every shot or it won't come out. This all becomes
habitual pretty quickly, though. If you only have two
lenses, however, I think you'll need a few more. The
standard lens on a 16mm camera is the 25mm (which is
50mm on a 35mm camera). I'd say you also need a 50mm
for tighter shots. And a good tripod, and a light meter.
The Seconic Studio meter is a good, reasonably priced
light meter that I'm sure you could find used for quite
cheap if you look around on the internet. I bought my
Bolex and all its lenses on the internet.
questions, but a couple of answers.
bet "American Splendor" (which a guy asked
about a day or two ago) is how "American Beauty"
got translated for some of the overseas markets, especially
since he seems to be a Thora Birch fan.
how to get everyone to read "Jehosus?" Easy.
Put three links, all leading to it, on your main page.
Have one read "Now accepting original scripts for
future production deals." Have another read "The
scene they cut out where Xena and Gabby got it on."
And the third could be "The scene they cut out
where Xena and Ares got it on."
an idea. ;
"Jehosus" is pretty funny, and accurate too.
sounds like a reasonable guess as to what "American
Splendor" is. My dad actually liked the Jehosus
poem, which I found suprising. Meanwhile, I just saw
two pretty good films: "Jim Brown, All-American,"
Spike Lee's documentary, which is well-made and Spike
isn't even very intrusive, although he does feel the
need to frame interviewee's faces in odd ways, like
one eye and half their mouth, just prove there is a
hip director at work. Nevertheless, Jim Brown is a fascinating
man and worthy of a documentary. I don't care at all
about football, but watching Brown run the field is
astounding -- he is untacklable -- his speed and balance
is almost inhuman. Also, I saw a cable film from last
year called "Warden of Red Rock" with James
Caan, David Carradine, and Brian Dennehey (who also
produced), and written by the late James Lee Barrett
(whom the film is dedicated to). Caan is really good,
the writing is very sound with good characterizations,
and it was a solid little picture. To actually see something
new that was professionally written was very surprising.
shit! I wish Lee Marvin was still alive so he could
break a chair over Tom Cruise's wimpy ass head! And
Steve McQueen should come back from the dead so he can
kick Ben Affleck in the balls! I am not remotely attracted
to any of these girly men. They all work so hard on
their bodies and their "look" and shit like
that. I would never, even for a split second, think
of sleeping with a guy who gets facials and mud wraps.
I've met guys out here who get their nails done! What
happened to men who get in bar fights and eat red meat?
Did women feminize men? It sure seems like it. I'll
take William Holden with his glass of scotch and cigarette
over Leonardo Dicaprio and his work-out regiment any
day of the week and twice on Sunday.
I'll check out your sci-fi script.
Holden is an interesting example because he started
making films when he really was still a kid. You see
him in "Golden Boy" in 1939 when he was just
wtenty-one and he's still a kid. He was cast the next
year as the lead boy in "Our Town" and is
still a kid. However, by the time he was in "Sunset
Blvd." in 1950 (when he was thirty-two) he's definitely
a full-grown man. I think Holden just got better and
better his whole career. By "The Wild Bunch"
in 1969, he just couldn't be better. And Lee Marvin,
now there was a man, and a fine actor, too. And what
a great voice! To me the voice is the actor's foremost
tool, and once again these Cruise, Affleck, Damon, DiCaprio
wimps all have little voices. Listen to Gregory Peck's
voice -- that's an actor. As a little anecdote, when
I first got to Hollywood in 1976, I was hanging around
with a guy, who's still a good friend of mine, and his
best buddy was drawing a comic book with another guy.
That other guy was Leonardo DiCaprio's father, and Leonardo
was a toddler running around getting under everyone's
thought I read somewhere that "Ender's Game"
is in production. I, too, enjoyed the books, the first
one particularly, though I have little hope for a faithful
adaptation. The book is about seven hundred pages long
which would translate to three or four hours of sreen
time under the best of circumstances. LOTR has the same
problem; too much exposition, not enough character development.
I've read the books more times than I can count and
dreaded the movies. I prefer the Rankin Bass cartoons,
truth be told. Some things just shouldn't be filmed,
and most things shouldn't be filmed in Hollywood.
of LOTR, I was wondering what you thought about religious
parallelism in movies/literature. Anyone unaware of
Tolkien's religious convictions or his fascination with
language, for instance, would likely find little of
value in the books. It strikes me that religion, as
opposed to vague spirituality, is currently out of vogue
where once it was a frequently mined source of inspiration
(Man For All Seasons, Ben Hur, etc.). Thanks,
like "A Man For All Seasons" and "Ben-Hur."
I'm seriously against organized religion of all sorts.
Religion may not be hugely popular among younger Americans,
but it certainly is popular with most everyone else
around the world, as well as older Americans. The largest
supporters of Israel and it's causes are not Jews, but
the fundamentalist Christians, who count their numbers
at 75 million. They are also the largest group of tourists
to Israel now. The fundamentalist Christians believe
that the Jews must be here when the second coming occurs
so that Jesus can give them the choice of converting
or dying, and half convert and the other half perish,
as all the Christians find heaven on Earth. What's amusing
is that the Israelis don't like this whole philosophy,
but have to support the Christians because they need
the tourist dollars, as well as America's support. Ah,
irony. I love it.
was just wondering if you could help me as I look around
for a camera to work with and possibly purchase. What
camera do you like/love/use, and about how much is it
the price range?
there's a rumor going around that you're going to write
a book or something? Um, well, I hope you do! I'm interested
in hearing more of what you have to say.
articles in your site are good, but it seems to me that
you wrote from a critical standpoint more than for the
edification of the reader.
correct. I write what I want to write, and the reader
can get as much or as little as they care to out of
it. If you're writing specifically for the edification
of the reader, that's called "pandering."
What do they want to hear, as opposed to what do I really
think. Meanwhile, what sort of camera are you talking
about? Film or video? I don't know a thing about video
cameras. If you're talking about 16mm, unless you've
got a lot of money you're probably talking about a Bolex.
If I had my druthers, I'd probably buy a used 35mm Arriflex-SR.
found your script on Belleau Wood and it sparked my
interest. My grandfather was a runner for Lt. Col. Frederick
Wise (2d Bn, 5th Marines). Silver Star, Croix de Guerre.
He was a PVT through the battle and was later appointed
Sergeant Major - a very unusual progression. I've read
much on the battle and have visited the battlefield
(I'm a former Army Lieutenant Colonel). I think the
concept of a movie on this battle is a good one - not
only was the American action heroic, but the German
as well (I think two "Blue Max" medals were
awarded - a ground commander and a flyer.) In addition,
the involvement of the famous reporter Floyd Gibbons
is a great story. Anyway...
this going into production?
but I wish it was. Got a spare $20 million? Floyd Gibbons
was in all the early drafts, and I finally removed him
in the later ones just to stick with the soldiers. For
those who don't know, Gibbons was a reporter for the
Chicago Tribune, who made his way right up to the front
lines at the battle of Belleau Wood, then got shot three
times, in the arm, the shoulder, and in the eye, and
crawled out after the sun went down. Pretty heroic for
a reporter. There was an officer with Gibbons, Major
Berry, who was shot in the elbow and the bullet came
out his palm, and he stayed and commanded for days with
this awful wound. It was a hell of a battle.
E-mail: top secret
couple of my favorite t.v. shows were actively produced
in other countries, New Zealand and Canada.
Now, the companies, while I don't know exactly how they
are set up, does have business branches set up in the
U.S. as well- Renaissance Pictures and Warner Bros.
this mean that they must hire union <Writer's Guild,
Director's Guild, other staff> even though they are
on foreign soil, so to speak? I thought that was a "rule"
you had mentioned, but I think I got it wrong.
Hell, that and exchange rates/taxes is probably why
filming is bailing on Uncle Sam and why places like
Toronto, Austrailia, NZ are such hot spots.
is a freelance writer? If a freelance writer participates,
do the guild rules to give them credit still apply,
or could producers totally discount the name (if nothing
is specified in the one-shot agreement, assuming they
were smart enought to get something on paper?)
of this stuff is confusing. For instance, Steven Sears
wrote an episode 1st draft but it was changed so much
he had his alias placed on it-Buddy Williers. Why not
just use the real writer's name that changed the bulk
of it? Guild rule?
Steve just didn't like how the script turned out. Both
Renaissance Pictures and Warner Brothers are American
companies. But everybody sets up a new, seperate company
for each individual project, which removes liability
from the parent company. I'm not sure what show shot
in Canada you're referring to, but for Herc and Xena,
it was all Writer's Guild and the writing offices were
in LA. Being freelance means you're simply not on staff,
but it's still all Writer's Guild contracts and rules.
Not only can't the producers screw a Writer's Guild
writer they've contracted with, even if they completely
rewrite the script so that not one word resembles the
original, the original writers must be credited. That's
what happened on the Amazon/wrestling Xena I did (I
can't remember the title).
got some technical questions. I recenltly parted company
with a DP that's been shooting a documentary of mine
for the last 2+ years. I own a Bolex that I plan to
use for some scenery\pick up shots, whatever. I remember
your friend Paul being the one who had nearly shot a
movie with a Bolex and that everything looked great.
kind of lenses did he use? The widest one I own is a
16mm. I think it's pretty standard. I also have a telephoto,
to check focus, would you recomend getting out a tape
measure, or is moving the turrent (sp?) and looking
through the top view finder enough? (Not the actual
view finder that attaches to the side.)
sometimes F-stops confuse me. I understand how the aperature
works. The higher the number the more you close it down,
each stop being half of the last. But is there a general
F-stop area one usually tries to keep things? If so,
what if you're in a dark area, like the deep woods?
Just open it up?
I believe that's about all right now. I'm sure there
will be more questions, but I'm not there yet.
a good one.
did you ever see "Strozek"?
I haven't. And Netflix doesn't have it, so I wrote them
a letter and suggested they get it. Both Paul and I
both have Bolex cameras. I have the slightly higher
model that has really lame reflex viewing through the
lens. Anyway, I have a 10mm lens, a 25mm, a 75mm (or
3"), and a 16-100mm zoom. I think Paul has a 16mm
and a 150mm, too. Regarding focus, if it's any kind
of low-light situation, measure it, too. If it's outside
in the sunlight you can just eyeball it. And remember,
you must set the paralax on the side-finder compared
to looking through the lens while its swung around on
the turret. Also, make sure to set the proper lens setting
on the side-finder. Regarding exposure, or the f-stop,
you must have a light meter or you won't know where
to set it. Out in the bright sunshine it's generally
between f-11 and f-22, and in the shade it's generally
between f-4 and f-8, on a very basic level. This has
a lot to do with what speed film you're using. But if
you don't have a light meter, you've got to get one.
Any more questions, just ask 'em.
loved the ballad, I want send it to my friends poets.
I was trying to translate to Spanish.
Josh, did you see GHOST WORLD of Terry Zwigoff? if so
did you like? What about American Splendor?
Well why not another question... did you read sometime
about Kabalah...? :)
Thanks, excuse me my curiosity...
glad you liked my poem, too. Yes, I saw "Ghost
World" and didn't care for it. I found both girls
dull, uninteresting, and mean, and I didn't give a shit
about either of them. I liked Steve Buscemi. I've never
heard of "American Splendor" and it's not
in the books or on Netflix. What is it?
Dear Josh: Hi Josh,
saw "A.I." at a friends house this past summer.
If I would have had a gun I think I might have blown
my brains out. Could that movie have dragged on any
longer? I must have looked at my watch 10 times while
sitting through that piece of shit. Have you read anything
by Orson Scott Card? I have been a fan of the Ender
Wiggin series since I was a kid. The books are so much
more then your run of the mill science fiction stories.
The character of Ender gets more and more complicated
with each book. It's pretty cool stuff. And I agree
with you about CGI. Stop-motion animation is so much
more endearing. I think it's a much more cinematic medium
then CGI. Miniatures and special effects makeup are
cooler too. It's seems as though movies have been taken
over by computer geeks. Do you think you would ever
direct a sci-fi film?
if I were to ever get the chance. I don't know if you've
read my sci-fi script, "Humans in Chains,"
but I think it's sort of interesting. I've reaqd a few
of Card's short stories over the years, but none of
his books. And "A.I." was just awful. "Minority
Reprt" isn't quite as bad, but nearly. Cruise running
his computer by waving his hands around like a spastic
was really and truly ridiculous. I wanted to see a bee
land on his nose, he goes to swat it, which then tells
the computer to set off all the nuclear weapons in the
world. And why are male actors such androgynous little
fag-boys now? Where are the real men? Why aren't there
any Robert Mitchums or Kirk Douglases or Burt Lancasters?
Mitchum could take out all the boyish little Cruise
wimps, and all the Ben Afflecks, C-flecks, and D-flecks
with his little finger.
a lot of your fans who discovered you through your Xena
work, I found that half the fun of watching the film
LotR was in spotting NZ locations ("Wow - the river
the Fellowship is paddling down is the same one from
'The Price!' ") and familar performers ("Hey
- that elf played Prince Sarpedon in 'For Him the Bell
you, I was a big sci-fi fan as a kid (Heinlein and Roger
Zelazny in particular) and adored the fairy tale-ish
fantasy of people like C. S. Lewis, but found Tolkien
to be a bit heavy-handed. I enjoyed it, but could have
read 10 Edgar Rice Burroughs novels in the time it took
me to read LotR. I really appreciated the whole world
he created (which races lived where, how they interacted
and so forth) but wasn't impressed with his plotting
or pacing or dialogue.
that said, the film blew me away, simply because it's
such a fast-paced action film. A lot of people found
it to be more scary and violent than the books, but
for viewers jaded by decades of Freddie/Jason flics,
I think it had the same effect that the books would
have in the 50's or whenever. Plus the performances
were excellent, I felt, although with people like Christopher
Lee and Ian McKellan, one probably simply has to turn
the camera on, and the excellent performances will happen.
Granted, I don't look at it from a film-maker's viewpoint,
but I think it might be worth your time to catch LOTR
when it comes on TV. If nothing else, Jackson filmed
something believably that was virtually unfilm-able.
of sc-fi, I caught part of something called "The
Last Man on Planet Earth" on the Sci-Fi channel
over the weekend. It was at about 3 AM, so I couldn't
watch it all, but it was surprisingly good, and I wondered
if you knew any of the people involved, from Hollywod
circles - the director was Les Landau, and the writer
was Kenneth Biller. A very old-fashioned plot in the
tradition of James Tiptree, Jr., about a near future
where almost all men had been wiped out by bio-weapons,
and women reproduced by cloning. No special effects,
just a lot of detail paid to what sort of culture would
develop in that scenario. Like street hustlers who *dressed*
as men, and a brothel where a few surviving men in their
60's and older serviced rich female politicans. Probably
a very "low" budget by today's standards,
but it was done well. I hope to see the rest of it,
and I'd recommend it to anyone who enjoyed "Dangerous
Visions" or the old magazines like Analog.
took out the DVD and watched every bit as much as I
could of LOTR. I found nothing exceptional in what I
saw, and simply a lot of dull screenwriting. There's
virtually no characterization in the first 70 minutes,
just meaningless exposition. If this is what a good
movie is now, I'm completely uninterested. If that's
fast-paced, I'll take a slower pace wherein the filmmakers
actually get me to care what's going on. I've never
heard of the sci-fi channel film you mentioned, not
any of the filmmakers. It's not in Maltin's book, either.
It does sound interesting though.
I thought I was a poet!?
What critical thinking of the now!
Put into a jangle. The cohesiveness of the perspective
is intelligent and needs to be heard! for the positivity
it enriches, gives insight to the truth.
very glad you enjoyed my "Jehosus"
poem. How do I get everyone to read it?
the past, you have shared with us your thoughts on film
music. Bernard Herrmann (who is my favorite composer
as well) is one who you bring up quite a bit, as well
as the score for Blade Runner. I was wondering, what
are your thoughts on Nino Rota? Of course, not just
his famous Godfather music, but some of his lesser known
scores for Fellini as well. I think his music is beautiful,
catchy, and often otherworldly. Take care.
do think Nino Rota's "Godfather" scores are
by far his best scores. His music for Fellini's films
is all so similar, and all circus music, that it bores
me. I've got an Italian CD of his Fellini scores and
I can't listen to it. I bought his score for "Hurricane"
many years ago and couldn't listen it, either. I do
love his score and song for Zeffirelli's "Romeo
Q&A isn't really onto this topic at the moment,
but you brought it up not too long ago, so I'm going
to throw in my 2 cents worth. To wit: three reasons
why I liked "Lord of the Rings":
It was extremely faithful to the books. From what I
understand, that's not a particularly easy thing for
a movie to be, especially when a huge studio is breathing
down your neck wondering what you're doing with their
hundreds of millions of dollars.
Although you've said you disagree with this sentiment,
I think they handled the exposition very well. If you
read the books, Tolkien created approx. 10,000 years
of history for his characters to muddle through, and
all things considered, I think the story progressed
quite nicely considering everything they had to explain
to the Tolkien neophyte.
This means nothing in terms of telling a well-rounded
story, but since I already believe they did that, the
special effects, CGI included, were very well done,
and did nothing but serve the story, which is exactly
what they're supposed to do. George Lucas could stand
to learn a thing or two from Peter Jackson.
you or anyone else who reads this Q&A have any thoughts,
I'd like to hear 'em.
all may well be. As a kid I couldn't bear or get through
the books, so it may very well be a brilliant adaptation.
I basically can't stand that kind of fantasy. It seems
no better or worse to me than "Xena," and
the only "Xena" episodes I like are the funny
ones. There didn't seem to be anything funny about LOTR,
and it was not humanly possible for me to take it seriously.
Nor was I impressed with the digital effects which all
looked like digital effects. I'll take real, well thought-out
science fiction any day of the week, which, of course,
they don't make movies of anymore. All we get is knuckle-headed
garbage like "A.I." or "Minority Report."
As I've said before and I'll say again, kids can have
these movies for kids. I'm an adult, it took me a long
time to get here, and I want smarter movies made for
was just wondering how you got $80,000.00 charged onto
credit cards for Hammer. Did you have a lot of credit
cards with no limits? Did you just have really good
credit before you shot the film and thus were given
a high credit limit?
I don't mean any offense, I'm just wondering what the
logistics are that allows someone to charge so much.
I guess it shouldn't surprise me as much as it does,
they're giving credit cards to college kids with no
credit history at all, solely in the faith that their
parents will bail them out if the debt gets out of control,
but I'm still wondering how the amount can get so high.
not very difficult if that's your intention. I didn't
even have a credit card until I was about thirty-four
and began directing "Real Stories of the Highway
Patrol," where they demanded I have one so that
I could rent cars and trucks. Once I had a credit card,
I began to receive many other credit card applications,
and I filled everyone of them out. Before you could
say "boned up the butt" I had ten credit cards,
all of which I paid off entirely every month. After
you do that for a while, you just call them and ask
for more credit, which they're always happy to give
you. Soon I had a $10,000 limit on ten different cards.
Voila! What's amazing to me is there's no connection
between all these various MasterCards and Visas from
different banks. At a point I was working with six MasterCards,
three Visas, and an American Express card. I've paid
off and canceled four of those cards. I always came
within a hair's breath of declaring bankruptcy, too.
is your favorite fiction author and why?
Do you have an all time favorite book?
don't read much fiction anymore. As a kid I loved Kurt
Vonnegut, Isaac Asimov, Harlan Ellison, Robert Heinlein,
Arthur C. Clarke, and the rest of those guys. The last
fiction books I really got into were Colleen McCullough's
books about the end of the Roman republic (the sixth
and last in the series will be out soon). I enjoyed
many of Alice Hoffman and Anne Tyler's books, but I
grew weary of both of them after a point. I've liked
several of Richard Price's novels. I liked the writing
in Tom Wolfe's most recent novel, "A Man in Full,"
although I didn't think it was a very good story, nor
very well worked-out. I liked Phillip Roth's Pulitzer
Prize-winning novel, "American Pastoral,"
quite a lot. The greatest enjoyment I've gotten from
books in the last ten years or so has all been non-fiction.
This book I'm just about done with on Ben Franklin,
"The First American" by H. W. Brands, is great.
David McCullough's "John Adams," "Truman,"
and "Mornings on Horseback" were all terrific.
I don't have a single favorite book. I think I've reread
"Slaughterhouse-Five" more than any other
book, so maybe it's my favorite.
got the 2003 edition of Leonard Maltin's movie guide,
and was momentarily amazed that it actually was smaller
than the last one I have, from 5 or 6 years ago. Then
I realized how he's managed to trim it down - virtually
no made-for-TV movies, direct-to-video films, or sequels
are listed, unless they are really really significant.
of course made me immediately scramble to see if all
my favorite Movie-of-the-Week films were still included.
For me, some of the old ones - like Spielberg's "Duel,"
Dan Curtis and Richard Matheson's "The Night Stalker,"
and a horror film with Cornel Wilde called "Gargoyles"
- were really well done. I also enjoyed John Frankenheimer's
"comeback" on HBO with "Attica,"
even if it was practically a documentary.
I wonder - have there been any TV movies that have made
an impression on you?
than theatrical films of the past five or more years.
I really liked "Elvis Meets Nixon," "Don
King: Only in America," "The Day Reagan Was
Shot," and "Keep the Faith, Baby." I
didn't really like any of Frankenheimer's HBO films,
particularly the last one, "Path to War,"
which was pretty inane (the premise being: Lyndon Johnson
would have been one of the best presidents ever had
there been no Vietnam War--but, of course, there was
a Vietnam War, and subsequently he was a lousy president).
At least these films are about something, whereas theatrical
films are no longer about anything.