noticed on one of your previous replies that you do
not care too much for George Stevens's THE GREATEST
STORY EVER TOLD and I'm with you on that. What though
do you think of Nick Ray's KING OF KINGS (1961)? I saw
it again yesterday and still believe it to be the best
cinematic depiction yet of the life of Christ.
certainly a better film, but I still don't think it's
all that good. The casting of the blond-haired blue-eyed
Jeffery Hunter is kind of offensive. The sermon on the
mount was well-shot, though. I'll still take "Life
am writting scripts but I have no idea on what to do
with them when I'm finished. Do you have any suggestions?
make great insulation, bird cage liners, or you can
keep them beside the fireplace and use them to start
fires. If you roll them up they're pretty good for swatting
bugs. Actually, you need to try and get an agent. Don't
just send a script blindly, though, query first. Good
E-mail: upon request
I may, actually I believe the first time you recounted
that little story you quoted him thusly:
Ted, walking behind the ripped Kevin Smith, remarks:
"I grow more hideous by the second."
even funnier that way.
the subject of Smithy has come up, I thought I'd let
you know that his pilot episode of "Riverworld"
is indeed going to be broadcast, and hooray! Not only
did they not edit out his participation, but they placed
an "in memory of" to him at their webpage.
22nd at 9:00PM and again at 11:00PM.
The Sci Fi channel.
I highly doubt it's Josh's cup of tea, but as I've said,
I'll be tuning in to see him vital again.
are of course correct, Ted did say, "I grow more
hideous by the second," which is indeed funnier.
caught the screening of "Bubba Ho-Tep" last
night at the Egyptian Theater and I can sincerely say
that I have never seen anything like this film. It was
a bit messy in places but I think that Don Coscarelli
has made something pretty unique. The dialogue was some
of the funniest stuff that I have encountered in a movie
in a long time. Ossie Davis is absolutely wonderful.
Is that guy a national treasure or what? But the true
highlight of the film is Bruce Campbell. Wow! Your buddy
turns in a truly funny and heart warming performance.
His Elvis "impersonation" is right on the
nose but what impressed me the most about Bruce in this
particular roll was the way that he committed to the
emotional and physical turmoil that his character is
going through. He really dug past the quirky plot line
of the movie (Elvis and JFK battle a mummy) and gave
the audience a character that they could really invest
in. I think that people who are not familiar with Bruce's
work will be able to see this film (hopefully) and take
notice of him. And his scenes with Ossie Davis are classic!
They seemed to work very well with one another. Their
chemistry is entirely evident. I could have cared less
about the mummy and all the horror/sci-fi stuff in the
film. All I really cared about were these two old men
and their search for just an inkling of their former
selves. Bruce as the old Elvis is hilarious, touching
and sad. He really accomplished something pretty great
and showed some serious acting chops. Some other folks
must have noticed too because they announced at the
screening that Bruce has been voted best actor in a
film at the HBO Aspen Comedy Festival. A lot of my co-workers
are at that festival right now and from what I hear
it's a pretty tough crowd. Apparently it's mostly stand-up
comics voting for their friends who are also stand-up
comics. So, check it out if you can it's totally worth
can't believe I still haven't seen it. I asked Bruce
to borrow the tape, but he didn't have one. Bruce has
been making me alugh with his Elvis impersonation for
you once again for your thorough and informative response.
am gladdened to learn that Renee and Lucy were able
to display that they are such talented actresses. A
poster on the Nutforum Sequel board recently stated
that "they are so cute together", if I am
not mistaken (not to trivialize the matter, of course).
Kevin Smith and Kevin Sorbo, forgive me if I assumed
that you had worked on the "Hercules" set
outside the pilot films. I am dismayed to learn that
Kevin Sorbo had serious health problems- hopefully he
has fully recovered. Please explain what problems you
are referring to (I am only aware of the aneuryism he
had in his shoulder?). Also please describe (if possible)
what exactly made Kevin Smith appear in better shape
then Kevin Sorbo. Although I believe that Kevin Sorbo
had an outstanding physique, I must also agree that
Kevin Smith appeared a consummate physical specimen
(by the way I do not believe your description sounded
Sorbo's health problem was that aneuryism in his shoulder
and arm, which caused him great difficulties on the
last two seasons of the show. He could no longer work
out, nor was he supposed to strain himself, which was
a major problem for an actor playing Hercules. The last
time I saw Kevin on the set -- Herc and Xena were shooting
in the same location -- he was as out of shape as I
ever saw him, which still meant he was in better shape
than me. But Kevin Smith was just awesome. I've told
this story before, but I'll repeat it. On that last
ep of Xena I did with Kevin Smith, he had his shirt
off between takes (his black leather outfit was rather
warm on a hot sound stage) and Ted Raimi dressed as
Joxer walked by, saw Kevin's physique, and muttered,
"I'm horrible," and walked away.
just watched the Three Stooges with my four year- old,
the episode "Men In Black". The boys are doctors
in this one. The head of their hospital announces at
one point that there has been a mining accident with
sixty men injured. The only thing that can save them
is the radium which is locked in the safe. The date
on this short is 1934. It made me think of "Cycles".
Though I'm still of the opinion that the setting of
the screenplay was too late for the dial painters, the
Stooges short certainly illustrates the casual approach
people had to radioactive substances. Scary as hell.
won an Oscar for that short. It's a parody, by the way,
of a film called "Men in White" starring Clark
saw that you said you dont know who jason lee is, well
he will be in the movie dreamcatcher he was just in
a guy thing and stealing harvard, he was also in kissing
a fool, and a bunch of kevin smith movies that i did
not enjoy, but other than those smith movies i really
loved every other jason lee movies
you like the matirx
will you see the sequels
I did see "The Matrix," and no, I won't see
you kindly for your interesting response. Considering
your observations, if Renee is considered more of a
"method" actress, how would you describe Lucy's
I was curious if you knew if Kevin Smith or Kevin Sorbo
could lift more weight (for instance, in a bench press).
The recent Kevin Smith documentary indicated that he
could "press 200 kilograms". Please inform
me if you know more regarding this (and Kevin Sorbo's
one rep maximums, if possible). Also if you recall if
they ever had any friendly contests- such as arm wrestling.
I recall reading in an article that they used to discuss
their gym routines while off the set.
not sure I'd term either Renee or Lucy method actors,
although I'm sure they both know of, and use parts,
of the method. I'm not sure you can be a method actor
and work in TV, where there's no time for actors to
search within themselves for their motivations. Many
times on TV, if there's a line flub, you just have the
actors go back two lines and pick it right up. Lucy
and Renee were absolutely terrific at that, and it's
not easy, let me tell you. Meanwhile, I don't know what
went on between Kevin Smith and Kevin Sorbo as I never
worked on the "Hercules" series, only the
pilot films, and Smith wasn't on those. I didn't work
with Kevin Smith until my very last "Xena"
episode. Kevin Smith always looked like he was in better
shape than Kevin Sorbo, but Sorbo had some seious health
problems for a while there. If I can express this without
sounding gay, Kevin Smith's body was perfect.
off, i think 'fletch' is chevy chases best film
second, the fletch books are very different from the
film if you have not read one of them then at least
give them a chance
live in America, I don't have to give anything a chance
if I don't want to. Prequels, sequels, and remakes can
all go to hell as far as I'm concerned.
forget to correct you on the movie fletch won its not
a remake of the first fletch movie it is...in a way
a prequil it takes place before the first fletch movie
it's a prequel not a sequel, that makes it much more
have read your thoughts on other directors and it seems
to me that you hate everyone from Steven Speilberg to
dont thnik you have a right to rate other directors
i say to someone 'hay have you ever seen jaws or dogma'
everyone goes 'of course i have' but then when i say
have you ever even herd of josh becker they say 'no
who is that'
what? Who is the reviewer for The New Yorker? Who's
the reviewer for Vanity Fair? Who are the reviewers
for Variety or The Hollywood Reporter? Get with the
program. You don't have to be anybody to review movies.
Most reviewers don't know shit about movies and were
formerly sports or general interest writers. At least
I'm a movie fan, have seen many movies, am actually
a writer-director, and I have a stake in the whole topic.
If you don't like my opinions, don't read them.
like to add "The Greatest Story Ever Told"
to John Wayne's list of movies he should not have touched.
He only had one line ("Truly this man was the son
of gawd") and the the film was an absolute stinker.
line is mixed so low it's difficult to hear, and I'm
talking about a 70mm print in the theater. It's a cameo,
what's the difference? But I do agree it's a stinker
of a film. Let's not forget "The Conqueror"
with the Duke as Genghis Khan, probably the silliest
picture of his career.
you for your response. Regarding penalties, this is
being discussed on various Xena boards (such as the
am glad to know that working with Lucy and Renee was
such a pleasure. I was also hopeful that you may be
able to discuss their styles and approaches to acting
hopefully my earlier message was not disagreeable. Please
consider the following message (hopefully it is less
peculiar), and if possible convey it to the related
convey to Ms. Lawless (and Mr. Tapert) that she has
a multitude of decent fans who greatly appreciate her
and would never hurt or insult her (or her husband).
Also these fans would very much like to express their
condolences for any hurt that others may have caused
her, and will continue to support her.
and Renee are just pros. They know what they're doing
and they're always prepared. I think Renee prepared
more than Lucy, or any other actor, for that matter.
She always knew her lines and everybody else's. Rennee
was always pleased to get direction, whereas Lucy only
wanted so much, then she needed her own space and didn't
want to discuss it anymore. Best of all, they were both
always in a good mood, and since they were the stars,
that was the tone of the set. It was a terrific enviornment
to work in.
no I never got around to seeing Rambo III, but I think
I might seeing how Sheldon Lettich penned the script.
It's too bad you can't put a block on here when someone
asks about kevin smith. I am so SICK of hearing what
a 'brilliant' writer he is. I can't imagine how 'clerks'
got picked up. If anything, how he made the film was
far more interesting than the movie itself, that he
filmed in the convience store he worked at and maxed
out all his credit cards. Didn't you do that for "Hammer"?
sure did, and to a much greater extent than Kevin Smith.
I'm still trying to pay them off. Smith is just lame,
I see it, the comic book-based movies, and a great number
of other recent genre films, not only employ a structure,
they have taken structure to the extreme of formula.
Rather than trusting in story and characters, trust
is placed in formula. A prime example of this is "Top
Gun", a formula picture so successful that it was
remade by the same team a few years later as "Days
of Thunder". The structure of these movies are
clearly defined and nearly identical. The structure
of "Spiderman" was not all that different
from those two movies. Structure is not the final goal,
just one necessary part of a complete story.
I wish people would stop defending "Schindler's
List". It seems to me that Spielberg has for some
years been bucking for sainthood. "Amistad",
"Schindler's", "E.T.", "A.I."
are all designed to make the viewer feel good about
himself. That's even true of "Close Encounters"
though I liked that movie. The viewer gets to be the
enlightened person, sympathizing with the clearly good
characters against the clearly evil ones. A good Nazi
film would be one which shows how easy it can be for
anyone, the viewer included, to tolerate something like
Nazi ideology. The story of Oscar Schindler could be
quite compelling, if it were told in such a way as to
demonstrate human complexity. Complexity seems to be
something Spielberg leaves to the FX department. Thanks
entirely agree with everything you said.
saw on your movies list that you loved 'RoboCop.' Have
you seen Verhoeven's 'Starship Troopers?' I think it's
one of his best works and was totally misunderstood
by everyone. I thought the political and social satire
was genius and the goofy "war propaganda"
delivery of the film was brilliant. I consider it a
companion piece of sorts to 'RoboCop.'
good. I thought it was a miserable piece of junk. That
lead kid was a complete bore, and it's really, really
bad sci-fi. In a future where they have star ships they
still have to use weapons that fire 9mm bullets? So
to kill a bug you have to fire a million rounds at it?
Painfully stupid. That he dressed people in Nazi-like
outfits doesn't make it a politcal and social satire.
do you think of the actor jason lee, i think he is one
of the best actors out there right now
herd he might play fletch in the fletch won movie, have
you read the fletch books
you think kevin smith will do a good job directing it
kind of horseshit is this? Who gave a damn about "Fletch"
the first time around with Chevy Chase? Now it's being
remade and it's supposed to matter? Not to me, I can
assure you of that. And I don't think Kevin Smith will
do a good job with anything. I've never even seen Jason
Lee. Has he made a movie or is he just a TV actor?
do you mean kevin smith has nothing to say
can you not respect someone that has made 5 very popular
movies, done them mainly by himself
made clerks soo low budget and yet it is very popular,
how can that be if he is such a 'bad' director
he has such a way with words and making charecters
has popularity got to do with anything? Do you like
Britney Spears just because she's popular? Also, I would
dispute that Smith has made five popular films. That
last one, "Silent Bob," went right down the
shitter, as did "Dogma," which was really
and truly awful. Nor do I accept that he has "such
a way with words and making characters." It all
seems ridiculously false to me, and "Clerks"
was simply unbearbale. I walked out.
you ever seen "The Green Berets"? I had to
watch it for a class I'm taking called Vietnam on film.
Man, what a horrible film! It was the Duke vs. Charlie,
I'm curious if that's what the tagline was back in '68.
Most of the movie cracked me up. Right in the beginning,
when all the Green Berets are lined up giving a press
conference and the first starts talking in German and
then switches to English saying "I am captain of
so and so and I can speak German and Noregian,"
then the one next to him says how he's second in command
and can speak German and Spanish. Wow, how important
being that you're going into fucking VIETNAM! And then
when John Wayne's helicopter gets shot at and they're
going down, just before they hit, him and the rest of
them inside meraciously leap out with not even a scratch
on them. It's funny how one of the first films about
vietnam was a pro-war propoganda film by John Wayne.
It just got me thinking how if history repeats itself,
if maybe to make a pro-iraq war propoganda movie with
some washed up hollywood tough guy fighting the taliban.
I'm sure Stallone has the time for that. Wasn't Rambo
a green beret also? :)
you see "Rambo III"? He's in Aghanastan fighting
with the Mujhadeen against the Russians. My buddy Sheldon
wrote that film, by the way. Anyway, yes, I've seen
"The Green Berets," and I found it every bit
as absurd as you. I liked the scene with Aldo Ray hollering
at the reporter, David Janssen, saying "This is
a Russian AK-47!" like that means something. Still,
I'm a fan of the Duke, even if his politics were up
his ass. For the most part he had very good taste in
the scripts he chose--just not that one. Or "The
think I have to defend my comments that I sent a few
days ago. When I said, "if all movies had structure,
the movie industry would collapse," I didn't mean
that structure wasn't needed. I just meant that with
the type of people you have in America, people would
MUCH rather go see Daredevil than say Citizen Kane.
That's not to say good movies today (i.e. Big Fat Greeek
Wedding) aren't appreciated, but you can't sit here
and say that truly good movies with structure could
support the movie industry of today. If you say it could,
you are a moron.As far as Schindler's List goes, I still
just don't understand how you can criticize the movie.
Yes, the book was ten times better. In the book, Oskar
Schindler isn't perfect and the book exemplifies that.
The movie didn't do as great of a job in that area,
but the movie really didn't need to play on his "flaws."
It played on the plot of a man who saved thousands of
Jews from the Concentration camp. What else do you need?
Great acting and a great(and TRUE) plot. Call it a weak
movie, call it a weak script...That's fine. Like I said,
I think you are little too hard on movies. But it's
your opinion and I respect that and I will still continue
to read your stuff.
because a story is true doesn't make it good. During
WWII there were sixty million Germans, but only one
million Nazis. Oscar Schindler was one of those one
million. They were the problem. And Schindler was a
Nazi from about as early as it was possible to be one.
That he made recompense at the very end of the war,
which saved his sorry ass from execution, doesn't make
him a good man. Certainly the people he saved thought
he was great, but the many that died performing slave
labor for him, which is not depicted in the film, didn't
get any say so at all. If a film doesn't have decent
characterization, or a reasonable script, it can't,
in my opinion, be a good film. Good intentions aren't
sufficient. I'll still take "Judgement at Nuremburg"
any day of the week. Regarding structure, do you think
films based on comic books don't have structure? They're
just using it poorly. Also, I have more faith in masses
than Hollywood. I think if you gave them better movies,
they'd go to them. The fact is, Hollywood can no longer
make them, so it's not a choice.
have good views on directors and movies in general i
agree with almost all of your views but one person you
dont talk about much is kevin smith how do feel on his
works do you like them and the actors he uses all the
can't stand his films. I think he's utterly inept, and
has nothing to say. And I could care less about Matt
Damon and Ben Affleck.
was so excited to see your film on the schedule of the
East Lansing Film Festival! I remeber buying "Running
Time" my freshman year of college and now my senior
thesis "Fish Sticks" is in a festival with
it (Sunday, March 23, Short Films 1<- shamless personal
plug). This is so cool.
made a film in college, starring Sam, called "Fish
Shticks," which was a zany slapstick fishing comedy.
Best of luck with your film, I hope you win.
Dear Mr. Becker,
am impressed with and appreciative of your work. I am
curious of your opinion on Lucy and Renee regarding
acting (styles, etc.).
also have another comment- of course it is directed
to a number of persons- I am hopeful that you will consider
is the comment:
me to introduce myself. My name is Bond, James Bond.
I have been for a long time highly appreciative of the
beautiful and lovely Ms. Lawless and of the genius and
creativity of Mr. Tapert. It has come to my attention
recently the depth of depravity and ill-sentiment directed
toward Ms. Lawless and Mr. Tapert by some Xena "fans".
May I convey my deepest sympathies and condolences to
Ms. Lawless for any hurt afflicted by these persons,
and to Mr. Tapert. May I also convey that the persons
responsible for the heinous and hurtful comments shall
be penalized (and have been, in some capacity, over
the past year). My best wishes to the incredibly beautiful
Ms. Lawless and the innovative and handsome Mr. Tapert.
a pretty weird comment. How are people to be penalized?
Are you crazy? As for Lucy and Renee, I love them both
and working with them was a tremendous highlight in
you get to see Ted in "The Foreigner?" Was
it good? I've seen local productions of it, and found
the second half (all the Klan stuff) to be pretty silly,
"I Love Lucy"-style fluff, but thought the
first part, with the local simpleton trying to teach
the guy how to speak English, was utterly utterly hilarious.
Can't think of anyone better than Ted to do it!
haven't seen it yet, my ticket is for March 9. Ted did
the play once before about ten years ago. I have no
doubt he's terrific in it. I'll let you know.
feel I have to pull up SDEV here when he/she says, "if
all movies had structure, the movie industry would collapse".
What absolute nonsense - it is, in fact, the other way
around: if only all movies had structure then things
would be much better (as well as a few other things).
I think that what he/she meant was that in order for
movies to be seen as progressive they have to bend the
rules in order to make them interesting. This may work
with other forms of entertainment (music, reality TV,
etc) but not with motion pictures.
Most movie-goers I talk to have no idea that a movie
has (or should have) three acts. When I point this out
to them the looks on their faces are priceless.
didn't even bother taking that one on because it's so
stupid. As William Goldman so aptly put it, "Screenwriting
is structure." Period. Art is the imposition of
structure (and a point of view) onto reality. Take something
like "Adaptation," which folks thought was
"wildly original" and unstructured, but is
in fact highly structured, but poorly thought out. Originality
in screenwriting absolutely does not come from losing
structure, it comes from coming up with something new
to say within the structure, or even possibly coming
up with a new structure -- like "Groundhog's Day,"
quick one,and if you get this question all the time
feel free to send me hate mail,im desperatly trying
to find contact info for someone from renaissance pictures
to get permission to use images and logos from the evil
dead films for my non-comercial non-profit fan site.please
help,love your work
one talks to the great ones at Ren Pix, no how, no way.
Ignore that little man in the booth.
was trying to do some reasearch on the 99 cent store
chain for possible employment. They are planning to
open 20 stores in my area, Houston. Imagine my surprise
at finding your essay/observations.
Very well written. Your forte seems to be film but have
you ever concidered submitting your observations to
the New Yorker? Your essay,in tone and content, reminded
me of the Talk of the Town pieces. Or maybe a longer
piece along the lines of "Letter from..."
Have you written any other pieces I can read on line?
for the nice comments. Look around the site, there's
plenty more to read.
dropping a quick note...
I agree that rock music has become rather stale. I've
a huge fan of the rock band Rush, and they are one of
the few bands out there that pushes the envelope musically.
They've been going strong for over 30 years-and they
came out with new album, VAPOR TRAILS, last year. It's
68 minutes of fire and passion, IMO one of their best
albums in many years.
Geddy Lee, bassist, once said "You have to be willing
to fail in public if you really want to achieve any
kind of growth as an artist." Sadly, most of the
popular press has ignored them. I guess because these
guys are nearing 50 and not chick magnets, they're ignored.
I did enjoy Schindler's List when it came out, I am
open-minded to other people's POVs, and I must say that
the more I think about your comments on this film, the
more I agree with them. You make some very valid points.
I also wonder if there is really any point in continuing
to make movies based on the Holocost (sp?). It just
seems to be that it's always the same thing...Jew facing
overwhelming odds in the form of Nazis. How many times
can you tell the same tale? It's like, "Okay, I
get it already." After a while, it's just parroting
the same theme.
I'm just talking out of my ass; I dunno. But I'd like
to hear your thoughts. As I said before, I enjoy your
actually saw Rush about twenty-five years ago and they
were pretty good, although I'm not really a fan. Given
that twelve million people were exterminated by the
Nazis, I'd say there's many different and varied stories
to tell, and it's certainly the most dramatic event
of the past one hundred years or so. There were hundreds
of WWII movies, and many of them are very good. But
we seem to keep getting the same holocaust story over
and over again. I think "The Pianist" could
have been a good film, had they bothered to give us
an act one so we could get to know the people before
the Nazis arrived. And I agree with the Jewish perspective
of the minute you stop telling stories about the holocaust
and reminding people of it, you'll get another one.
This isn't ancient history, it's very recent history,
and people do need to be reminded of it.
you seen the Michael Caine film The Quiet American?
Are you a fan of the book or of Graham Greene's work
haven't seen this version, it's a remake you know. It
was originally made in 1958 by the great director-writer,
Joseph Mankiewicz, and starring Audie Murphy. I do like
Graham Greene, and he wrote a lot of terrific screenplays,
like, "The Third Man," "The Fallen Idol,"
and "This Gun for Hire." I'd actually like
to see this new version, and I generally won't bother
a quick question for you; is there an official name
for those shots, usually in interviews, where the scene
goes to gray-scale and frames or repetitive sections
are removed to create an almost strobe-like effect?
I was trying to complain about them the other day and
realized I didn't have a name for them. I think they're
supposed to emulate slow motion but they annoy the crap
out of me. Thanks,
you're referring to is one of two kinds of effects --
there's the look of "Saving Privaye Ryan,"
"Three Kings," and "Band of Brothers,"
where it has that strobing effect, and this is achieved
with an angled shutter, where the camera's shutter is
attached to a computer. The other effect, which is used
in music videos all the time, is a weird video effect
where it looks like slow-motion, but actually stays
in synch, and is achieved by shooting slo-mo, then removing
frames. I don't know if there is a name for either of
going to mention 3 names and I'd like to hear what your
thoughts are on these 3 individuals.
1) Martin Sheen
2) Robert Duvall
3) Tommy Lee Jones
I'm asking you this is simple. Opinions vary, but I've
watched a lot of movies and a lot of performances of
many stars. I feel these 3 individuals are 3 of the
best 'acting' talents around. They can do drama or comedy,
they have a certain charisma on screen, and they just
simply give damn good performances in their work. But
what gets me is normally when the industry describes
the top actors in pure class of talent.....I rarley
ever hear their names mentioned. You of course here
DiNero or Pacino and even Tom Hanks, etc.; and I'm not
taking anything away from those guys......I think they
are good actors....but I don't see them being any better
than the 3 I mentioned above; and in some I ways I think
the 3 I mentioned are better. Given this, I was just
curious what your thoughts were on those 3 actors.
last quick question that's totally different. You are
obviously familiar with the cast of Xena given your
work on the show. I'm a fan of the show and a fan of
Renee O'Connor. Renee(along with Lucy as well) obviously
think very highly of you given what they've said in
recent interviews. I was just wondering if you had the
chance to make another film(totally hypothetical here)
and had a female role that needed filling; do you feel
Renee is a competant enough actress(in your eyes) that
you would like to have her be a part of your film?
give Renee a part in a film in a second, I think she's
terrific. My friend Gary and I wrote a story for a film
that we thought would be a terrific part for Renee,
called "Hyderabad" (the treatment
is posted on the site), but we couldn't get the financing.
Anyway, Martin Sheen, Robert Duvall and Tommy Lee Jones
are all exceptionally good actors, no arguments there.
I generally disagree with your movie reviews just because
all movies don't have to have structure. I mean, seriously,
if all movies had structure, the movie industry would
collapse. But I read a question to you that called Schindlers
List a horrible movie in so many words. WHAT?! You can
say all you want about AI. You can say all you want
about Minority Report. But Schindlers List? Don't give
me any of that "structure" crap. I love your
movies, just bought running time the other day, but
your critique of movies is, well, as bad as my grammar.
You miss the point of movies. Movies aren't meant for
the cinematic snobs of the world, but for the general
public's entertainment. I've read Schindlers List and
it is a true story that Spielberg beautifully tells
as the survivors of that story will tell you...
don't care what the survivors think, nor anyone else,
for that matter. I thought "Schindler's List"
was truly simple-minded, and the most expensive exploitation
movie of all time. Half the movie takes place in a concentration
camp where none of the main charcters are. And if I
never see the raving lunatic Nazi character in a film
again it will be too soon. Nazis weren't raving lunatics,
They were just regular people, that's what's so scary
about them. When Nazis are depicted as raving madmen
it misses the entire point. But worst of all, Schindler
is depicted as a bad man, then miraculously he becomes
a good man. Bullshit. This was a very opportunistic
man who was a Nazi when it benefited him, and who saved
Jews when it benefited him. After running a slave labor
factory for ten years, and he saw the war was lost,
he saved some Jews and was subsequently not convicted
at Nuremburg. Schindler is a 99% more interesting character
than Spielberg knew how to make him. And that final
presnt-day scene of putting stones on his grave went
on FOREVER. I just hated it.
watched both "Chicago," and "The Hours,"
this past weekend and absolutely hated them both, particularly
the latter, which went on forever, had no lead character,
no point (unless "sexually frustrated people like
to kill themselves," was the point), and absolutely
no darned plot. "Gangs of New York," was utterly
horrible and I haven't seen Polanski's new film. With
that I can say, without a doubt, that the best of the
best picture nominees that I've seen is "LOTR-Two
Towers." Kind of depressing that the best of a
group of Oscar contenders is a milit-million dollar
sequel. I really think the state of things is getting
much worse. I honestly don't think there was a single
good relese this year.
keep remembering "Hammer." I still think that
is a darned good film, and most certainly one of the
few contemporary pictures that was made by a director
with a specific vision and statement in mind. I'm still
in disbelief that no committie will select it to run
a festival. Utterly unbelievable.
you know of NewFilmmakers in NY? It's an independent
film showcase that's run by the people behind the Anthology
Film Archives, wich, as I'm sure you know is (along
with Film Forum) possibly the biggest indi showcase
in NY, if not America. I just recieved notification
that my first picture has been selected to run there
you would like, I'd put in a word for them to give "If
I Had A Hammer," a good look. It may get you a
better chance at setting up a screening of your own.
Quite honestly, I think they'd program it in a heartbeat.
can check their site out at www.newfilmmakers.com
it didn't bother me that a film as good as "Hammer"
could be so horribly overlooked by a film world that
produces nothing but shit, you can sure bet I wouldn't
have brought this up. We need more films like it, but
they have to find a way to be seen. I'll help out if
a good one.
please do put in a good word for me there, I'd love
to show the film in NY. I haven't had the guts to go
see "The Hours." All of the other big Oscar-contenders
were such crap that I was driven back into my house
and I can barely go out for groceries now.
type of camera is used on Reality shows and shows on
the Travel Channel? How much would one cost? What type
of camera do you own?
saw a cool film yesterday with Kirk Douglas called "The
Champ." The cinemotography was awesome. Gritty
and realistic. What type of camera would they have used
use those top-end digital video cameras for reality
TV, but I don't know what brand. The good ones have
to be at least $5,000-10,000 anyway. I don't know because
I don't work in DV. As for "Champion" (not
"The Champ," which was with Wallace Beery
in 1932), it was some sort of 35mm camera. The most
popular models in those days were made by Mitchell,
and were very good cameras.
the best review(s) of Spielberg I have ever read. SPR
is one of the worst films ever made, possibly the only
one any worse was Shindler's list. I agree 100% with
your opinions. Say, would you like to write an essay/review
for me/my husbands website www.cosmoetica.com?
One important point you touched upon was how condescending
his films are- i.e.- "war is bad" "slavery
is bad", etc. The problem is that old Steve has
no vision whatsoever. But what really pisses me off
is how people think SPR is so good without really thinking
why &then dismiss a great film like Thin Red Line-
a film with true vision, simply bc people just don't
want to get it. I'd be curious to read what you thought
of "The Hours".
haven't seen "The Hours" yet. If you'd like
to reprint any of my reviews or articles, just let me
know and that can be arranged. I don't know that Spielberg
doesn't have any vision, he actually sets up a shot
quite well and does see things cinematically, it's that
he doesn't understand storytelling or human motivation.
He's the Michael Jackson of film directors, stuck in
his neverending childish cocoon, forever riding the
merry-go-round in Neverland, and dreaming he's Peter
Pan. To a twelve-year-old things are simply good and
bad, black and white. You have to be an adult to see
that life is made up exclusively of shades of gray and
there are no blacks and whites.
will compile a CD of of Roy harper music for you. The
reason he is singing on "Have a Cigar" is
that he was recording in the studio next to Pink Floyd
when they were recording "Wish You Were Here"
and he stopped by to say hello to David Gilmour, since
they were and still are friends. At the time, he was
on the harvest label with PF in Europe, so it was like
one big family.
and Gilmour were not happy with what they could do with
the vocals on the track, so they used Roy to sing it
and the rest is history.
music is political and intelligent, however, he does
come off as being quite English, but I don't think you
will be disappointed
for "21st Century Schizoid Man", I too feel
that this song and "Epitaph" from the first
album were far ahead of their time. It is erie listening
to "Schizoid Man" now and relating it to how
we have progressed in society.
remember coaxing my roomate at college to listen to
"Epitaph" one day. Our other roomate was a
music major, so we had a nice sound system in our house.
Both my roomates were really into the "80's"
thing and their favorite band was U2.
cranked "Epitaph" and we both layed down on
the floor and listened to the song. It blew him away.
He said he never heard anything like that before and
he thought the lyrics were great. I told him that I
doubt he will ever hear anything like that again in
music. I was right.
will send the CD soon.
I really do love "In the Court of the Crimson King."
"Epitaph" is one of the greatest songs of
all time. Peter sinfield's lyrics on the whole record
are astounding. And the whole album is pre-sythesizers,
just a mellotron. Peter Fripp has also never sounded
better. Michael Giles drums may very well be my favorite
on any rock & roll record. He's so incredbly all
over the beat it takes my breath away (the only other
drummer I've ever heard that sounds like that was Bruce
Springsteen's first drummer, Vinnie "Mad Dog"
Lopez, who's only on the first two albums). And Greg
Lake has one of the most beautiful voices to ever sing
rock & roll. I'm listening to it right now.
again for your reply! "All the President's Men"
blows me away for the same reasons that you mentioned
as well. It is amazing how much much conspiracy was
going on (and goes on0 in our government. My roomate
was kind of teasing me that I was so mesmerized again
by seeing the film again, but I love it!
here you on the groups you mentioned from the 70's.
I grew up listening to King Crimson, Yes, Early Genesis,
Jethro Tull, ELP, Pink Floyd and a host of not very
well know british bands from that period. When I worked
in the record shop, there would be guys who would come
in that were ten years older than me and they could
not believe I had known all that prog/art rock stuff,
since I did not really grow up in that era.
is a musican/singer that I admire a great deal from
England his name is Roy Harper. He is was very big in
the late 60's and 70's in England and Europe, but not
so much in America. Something tells me you would enjoy
his music. His music is very intelligent and political.
people were inspired by him including Led Zeppelin's
Jimi Page who played on many of his albums and wrote
a song with Plant about him that appears on led Zeppelin
III, "Hats off to Roy Harper". His lead vocals
are also what you hear on the Pink Floyd tune "Have
a Cigar" on their album "Wish You Were Here".
can burn a CD of his stuff if you have an interest?
am interested. I always wondered who that Roy Harper
guy was that was singing on "Have a Cigar."
I too also love that first King Crimson album, with
Greg Lake on vocals and bass (he was eighteen at the
time). I wonder if this was how the envisioned it when
they wrote "21st Century Schizoid Man." If
you do want to send the Roy Harper CD, Shirley, the
webmaster, will give you an address where to send it.
Thanks. [send to: Shirley Robbins
LeVasseur, c/o P.O. Box 86, East Vassalboro, ME, 04935]
the Renee who recently sent you filmmaking questions,
the lovely Renee O'Connor? If so, let her know that
we miss seeing her in front of the camera. Everytime
I see Renee Zellwegger (sp?)on screen, I think her role
should have been O'Connor's. If it is the multi-talented
Texan, you are an amazing actress. I wish you much luck
and success behind the scenes as well. Hope you eventually
make it over here to Sundance with your short film.
We need great talent. Keep writing, directing, and acting!!
You triple threat Diva!!
I don't think that was Renee O'Connor.
E-mail: got it
I'm sitting down with my plate of nachos and unexpectedly
flip right to the start of "Mosquito" on the
Sci/Fi channel. I'd forgotten how incredibly cute you
are in that! You really are, Josh! My favorite part
is you behaving menacing with the barbeque fork. I still
don't quite get your expression coming out of the tent.
Was it supposed to be a kind of: "Whew, what a
tiger in the sack she is"-exhausted shake of the
head? Or you were just behaving drunk? I wish Gary Jones
didn't cut out your, umm, "technique" footage.
We could rib you for years on that alone.
can't wait to compare you then to the season 1 extra
DVD with you. So what was the format for that? Did someone
off-camera pitch questions, or were you free to comment
"free style" during play-back of your episodes,
You mentioned you met Michael Levine, but did you happen
to meet T.J. Scott? I am so impressed with his Xena
episodes, as well as an old "La Femme Nikita"
ep he directed. (But his show with amazing wife Victoria
Pratt--Mutant X? Cringe worthy. Yikes.)
didn't see T.J. there, but I've met him before down
in NZ. He's a very nice guy, although, quite frankly,
I don't like the way he directs, although many others
do. But I'd never met Michael Levine before and I had
to study his episode "Warrior . . . Princess"
before I did "Warrior . . . Princess . . . Tramp"
and I thought he did a very good job. Yes, there was
an interviewer off camera asking questions, although
I don't think the guy even saw my ep. They were all
very general questions. I talked for about two and a
half hours, so we'll see what they use. The idea coming
out of the tent, BTW, is that girl was supposed to be
screwing my brains out. She was actually a stripper
hired from a topless club in Detroit, and she had the
sharpest hip bones of anyone ever.
had written you a couple weeks ago and mentioned the
Brazilian film "Cidade De Deus" (City of God).
I thought that it would have a wider distribution, however,
it has been snubbed by the Oscars (No surprise to me),
so I doubt if most people will get to see this truly
fantastic film. Unfortunately, it seems that an Oscar
nomination would be the only way it could get the wider
distribution it needs.
I noticed in an e-mail posted to you a couple weeks
ago that there was mention of "Thomas Video"
in Clawson, MI. You mentioned that it was a couple blocks
from you. Have you moved back to MI? As I mentioned
in my previous post to you, I am a native Detroiter
and I used to work at Flipside, the record/CD shop that
is very near Thomas Video. I know both the owners of
Thomas Video and it is one of the best video stores
anywhere! (I have been to many here in NYC and in LA).
only other video store that I have found equal to Thomas
Video is a little video store I used to frequent when
I lived in Zurich, Switzerland for three months. Zurich,
of all places!
I watched "All the President's Men" the other
night on DVD of the first time in a longtime. I love
that film and I started to think about how it was shot.
There is so much wide space in many of the shots and
the film gives you the sense of how big an vast the
whole unravelling fo the Watergate story actually is!
It gives you the sense of distance from the facts surrounding
also agree with you that filmmaking and music in my
opinion, hit there creative peaks in the lat 70's. I
still listen to a lot of music and see films, but both
arts are quite different now. Even though I was a teenager
of the early to late 80's, I had alwasy connected more
to music form the late 60's and early 70's and films
always liked Thomas Video because they carry my movies.
Meanwhile, I bet I've watched "All the President's
Men" twenty times over the years, and I'm always
impressed by the entire film, and Gordon Willis' terrific
photography. It's brilliantly written, directed, and
acted. I watched it again a few weeks ago and it struck
me that it's about a conspiracy between all of the law-enforcement
angencies in America, the CIA, the FBI, and the Justice
Department, and it's true, so why couldn't there have
been a similar conspiracy in the assassination of JFK?
People are always very quick to scoff and say it's impossible
for a conspiracy to include all of the law enforcement
agencies, but it has happened. Quite frankly, though,
I think the mafia and Sam Giancana were behind it. Anyway,
my contemporary musical tastes are pretty much stuck
in the late 1960s and 1970s. I listen to something like
Emerson, Lake and Palmer's "Pictures at an Exhibition"
and think that rock and roll never went beyond that
in terms of sophistication. And no one has written more
cynical lyrics than Ian Anderson on the album "Aqualung"
(I'm thinking specifically of the songs "My God"
and "Wind-Up"). Rock and roll used to be a
place of terrific experimentation, self-expression,
and finding new approaches. Now it's just the search
for hit songs. And rap and hip-hop all sound exactly
the same, sample from other songs, and is ultimately
a complete musical dead-end. Movies are in the same
Hi again Josh,
for your assistance regarding my 1940s short film. If
I may I do have one more question of sorts.. We plan
to shoot a car scene, also in the 1940s period. How
did they originally do this back in the day? We are
currently thinking of rear-projecting some moving background
footage behind the (stationary) hero car and shooting
it live, as opposed to using a blue screen. Is this
a crazy idea? We want to recreate the artificiality
of the backgrounds in those days. I hope artificiality
is a word.
for any advice you may have. All the DOPs here in New
Zealand are staunch for shooting colour. I think we
are also going for the grainy look to save lighting
time. Always a compromise.
rear-screen is a slightly complicated ordeal. First,
you must have a large rear-screen, which is made of
a specific kind of material. Then you have to have a
very bright projector, preferably with a xenon bulb.
Next, you need to have a sufficient throw from the projector
to the rear-screen to be able to fill the screen, which
is behind your subject, which sometimes means projecting
into a mirror to increase the distance. Then you have
to make sure you're getting a low enough exposure on
the foreground subjects so that the image on the rear-screen
will be bright enough. You're supposed to synch up the
camera's shutter and the projector's shutter so you're
not getting black frames, although I've shot rear-screen
without synching it up and it worked. Next, you need
to rock the car to make it look like it's moving, as
well as moving the foreground lights and passing branches
and things through the light to also give the impression
of movement. All in all, it's much easier to actually
shoot people in a moving car. Good luck.
have already edited the film by just hooking up the
camcorder to the vcr [having a blank tape in the vcr]
and edit it that way, but i dont know how to add music
don't know if you can even add music using such a low-budget
method. Unless you've got an "Audio dub" switch
on the VCR, which most home models don't have, you'll
just wipe out the picture. You need to locate an actual
editing system, which many schools have. Just running
your camcorder into your VCR isn't good enough. Sorry.
make films in regular vhs film or the smaller vhs film,
how would i add music into the film
system are editing on? You need to cut the film first,
then add the music. If you're editing digitally on a
computer, then it's pretty easy to add music and do
a minor sound mix. If you haven't started editing your
footage yet, you need to start.
currently in pre-production, planning to direct a short
film set in the 1940s detective film noir genre (maltese
falcon, the big sleep etc). I was wondering if you had
any advice you could offer me on recreating the look
of these old films, e.g. what kind of film stock would
be best, whether to shoot in color or black and white
(the film to be finished in black and white). Any lighting
suggestions would be fantastic. We are shooting on super
suggest shooting black and white stock, which will look
much better than shooting color stock and draining all
of the color out later. The master of film noir lighting
was John Alton, who wrote a book on lighting called
"Painting With Light," which is in print and
available from the University of California Press. The
basic concept, though, is to use as little light as
possible to get an exposure, and generally the light
is coming from the side or behind the actors, with no
fill light, meaning no overall illumination, thus letting
the actors drop into shadows or into silhouette. I've
found that the Kodak stock gives you the blackest blacks,
which is what you're looking for. Also, you might want
to go with the 80 ASA black and white stock, as opposed
to the faster 250 or 400, to get a sharper image. On
the other hand, if you do go with the faster stock,
you'll get more grain, which is an interesting look,
too. Good luck.
son, Allen Hebel, spent 4 years in the Marine Corps,
and spent a portion of that time aboard the USS Belleau
Wood. He ran across the screenplay for the movie, Devildogs
Battle of Belleau Wood, and suggested that I read it,
too. Has a movie been made yet, and if so, where can
we see it? If not, when do you expect to film?
film has been made, nor are there any plans to make
one. Of course I'd be more than happy to make it at
any time, but no seems interested.
live in Australia and I have decided to try and set
up my own DVD distribution company, because the current
distributors here are useless and being a big fan of
Running Time I was wondering how does one go about securing
the rights to it (I have no idea what I'm doing and
learning as I go along). I will completely understand
if you ignore this email, but I thought I'd give it
a shot. Thanks Jason
purchase the rights for Australia, duplicate it, possibly
design new packaging (or get the rights to the old packaging),
then distribute the DVD throughout the land, trying
to make as big a deal of it as you can. All this would
take money, not necessarily a lot of money, but enough
to do the job well. I'm interested if you can come up
with some money and make an offer, as well as a proposal
for how you'll distribute it.