Q & A    Archive
Page 92

Name: Jeff Quest
E-mail: jquest922@aol.com

Josh –

I had thought about writing to you about this film but reading one of your earlier posts I had to respond. I take exception to your comment that “Tears of the sun” was bad but not truly awful. I saw it and I have to say it is, by far, the worst movie I’ve seen in a long while. That’s saying something when every movie out there now is crap.

I admit it got off to somewhat decent start, but as soon as Willis gets on the helicopter with the woman, gets at least five or ten minutes away, then decides to go back, and everyone there actually lets him, I knew the film would turn out to be a total loss. Maybe if he’d had a change of heart before getting on the helicopter I could have swallowed it but after, no way. On what planet does he disobey orders, get all of his men killed and not get locked in a cell for the rest of his life? From the arty slowness in the jungle, to the planes that show up out of nowhere at the end to blow up all the bad guys real good, it was one eye-roller after another. (Side Note – why didn’t they show up a day earlier and take care of those guys before they became a problem? Oh, yeah then there wouldn’t be a story)

Finally there was the thing that made want to go up to the projection booth, grab the film reels and flush the whole thing down the toilet – The black guy under bruce’s command thanks him, telling him that by helping these people out of the country, he’s making up for slavery!!! I couldn’t believe that they had the balls to even write that scene, let alone put it in the movie! I could go on and on.

Then I read three star reviews and began to wonder if everyone has lost their mind. You can imagine my dismay when I saw Josh Becker, the one person I thought that would be with me on this one, label it just “bad but not awful”. I have to say, I feel a little betrayed. Ah well, at least we both agree on Donnie darko.

One last note - The sad thing is that the subject matter of “Tears of the Sun” is a story that really does need to be told. I saw a documentary recently called “the last just man” about a UN peacekeeper who tried and failed to get the UN to intervene before a genocide that killed 800,000 rwandans. If you have to do the whole “white man saves the black man” story, at least that one is true and worthy of telling.

Sorry to go on so long sometimes a bad movie brings out a rant.

Dear Jeff:

Hey, man, I totally I agree with you. You spared me having to review the film. I guess the reason I said it was bad, but not awful is that I accepted act one, which was getting to the helicopter. I liked Willis just lying to the woman and I wish he'd stuck with it. I absolutely agree that everything that comes thereafter is horseshit, unprofessional, and entirely unbelievable coming from an experienced Special Forces captain. I also hated Willis whispering all his lines. And I think Antoine Fuqua is a bad action director. But the girl's cute.

Josh

Name: Tricia Martin
E-mail: triciakitty@yahoo.com

Dear Josh:

My question, I suppose, is unusual...and quite frankly I'm embarrassed to ask...How does one request permission to use material? I am a 32 yr. old artist who has been approached to storyboard out 5 episodes of a cartoon based on my character "SKADE" to pitch to Cartoon Network for the "Adult Swim" show. Skade eats brains and decapitates garden gnomes with giant scissors...not for the kiddies... Anyway, funding meetings will take place soon for the animation. I have already e-mailed Mr. Campbell and I suppose I should try your buddy Sam- You guys have lit the fires of inspiration under my ass and I would like permission to pay tribute to you all... For example, I would have Skade wear an "Evil Dead" shirt or have a poster in the background...who do I have to give a length of my spine to? Again, I am new to this... I would appreciate any wiseitude you have to offer about this asking permission stuff.
Have a Day,
-Tricia Martin-

Dear Tricia:

If it's a poster or ad for any of my films, you've got my permission. As for "Evil Dead," I'd say just do it, although I can't give you permission since I don't own it. But Sam put a "The Hills Have Eyes" poster in ED and he didn't ask permission. It's homage, it's okay. Go for it. And good luck.

Josh

Name: Scott
E-mail: sspnyc66@mac.com

Josh,

I see from one of the last posts that you enjoyed "The Quiet American". Along with "City of God", that was one of my favorite films from last year.

It was funny how it was pulled last year do the ensuing situation that we are now facing in Iraq. History often repeats itself and now our government has done it again.

I went to see it when it was first released last year and then it just disappeared.

I have studied quite a bit about the Vietnam War and I have two uncles who where there, one was an Officer and the other was not.

They are have very different personalities and lives, and they have very different views on the bieng there. It is interesting and complex to see how we get ourselves into these things

I felt the film dealt well with what happened during the early stages of the Vietnam conflict and Michael Caine's performance was great! I don't care for Brendan Frasier at all, but he was tolerable in this film due to the character he plays.

I know you enjoy a good script and my background is mainly in Cinematography and now editing, but I still know a solid film script when I see it. How did you feel about the writing of the film?

BTW, Philip Noyce the director also directed the Australian made film "Rabbit Proof Fence" which is a very good film as well. That was released in the states last year too.

Scott

Dear Scott:

Since "The Quiet American" is based on a Graham Greene novel it has a solid, interesting story to work with. It also has a central metaphor, which is almost unheard of these days. Michael Caine is terrific, and understated, which means his chances at an Oscar are lower since the academy likes their performances big so they can actually see them. I thought Brendan Fraser was actually good, not great, but perfectly workable in the role. And the girl is gorgeous. It's what I consider to be a perfectly normal movie where I didn't feel like I was ripped-off when it ended. The ending touched me, too. Now I want to see the original version again with Audie Murphy, which was made in 1957 by Joseph Mankeiwicz.

Josh

Name: Jim
E-mail: JEaganFilm@aol.com

Josh,

You know what really bugs me? The fact that movies and television are seen as "escapist" entertainment. I bring this up because I'm already hearing friends and co-workers bitch about how television is so depressing with this war going on. "24 hours a day of war, oh I can't take it. I'm going to rent some movies tonight and just escape from everything." So many Americans are a bunch of vain, empty-headed pussies that it sickens me. You know, we live in a world that can be pretty depressing. The whole idea that movies and television function as an off-switch whenever something bad happens disturbs me. How about getting your head out of your fucking ass and taking a peek at what's going on in the rest of the world. If I remember correctly, Bush's challenge to us all after 9/11 was to shop. Is it so much for a leader to ask a country to do something? How about shutting off the fucking Bachelor and picking up a map, how about stop buying Hummer's to take your kids to school, how about writing to your newspapers or congressman to express your thoughts on things? This country is going down the tubes while sitting on its ass in front of the tube. Whatever happened to a counter-cultural revolution? Very few movies or tv shows have anything interesting or controversial to say. No one seems to have the balls to speak out against anything. We just sit back and assume the people in charge have a clue. Call me cynical, but they don't. This war might very well turn out to be an initial success. But down the road it might be seen as a failure, as the start of a much larger war between the west and the rest. If this turns out to be the case, then I feel sorry for the people that have to tell their kids that they spent the Gulf War watching basketball and My Big Fat Greek Wedding.

Jim

Dear Jim:

You tell 'em. Tell it like it is. Movies obviously can be thoughtless, mindless entertainment, but that's not all they are by any means. As Sean Penn said on "Inside the Actor's Studio," movies are too important to be considered only as entertainment. If you want to be entertained, buy an eight-ball and a hooker. The look on Robin Wright's face at that moment was priceless. But since "Star Wars" the main audience in Hollywood's mind are eight-year-olds, and that's what everything is geared for. It's not only sad, it's exceptionally boring. And for everyone's edification, the concept of the "preemptive strike" was conceived by Adolf Hitler and Joseph Goebbels. It's using semantics to try and diguise being an aggressive asshole.

Josh

Name: Nick
E-mail: rexniplicus@sbcglobal.net

Dear Josh,

I ordered "Running Time" through Media Play, but unfortunately it's going to take 3 to 4 weeks...I'm pretty excited about seeing it finally, and I'll tell you all about it when it arrives.

I was looking through your favorite movie list and saw "Them!"! That's an awesome movie, particularly considering when it was mad and how the special effects hold up even today, in a really bizarre way. It's the best giant ant movie I've ever seen.

On the thought of giant creature movies, have you ever seen "Night of the Lepus"? It's an incredible movie in its own right, as far as being unforgettable, anyway. Giant rabbits attacking? It's absolutely hilarious. I'm not sure if it was supposed to be, though :-)

That's all for now,

Nick

Dear Nick:

"Them!" scared the hell out of me as a kid. "Night of the Lepus" must rank as one of the dumbest movies of all time. Killer bunny rabbits? Let's not forget "Frogs," either.
"Night of the Lepus" would make a good double-bill with "Donnie Darko."

Josh

Name: mike san juan
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

do you watch alot of new movies that come out in theaters, or do you try to stick with the underground films?

Dear Mike:

No, I don't see many new movies anymore because they just annoy me. I do try to knock off the biggest films, which also annoy me. I recently saw "Tears of the Sun" which wasn't very good, although not awful, and "The Quiet American," which I rather liked.

Josh

Name: Scott
E-mail: sspnyc66@mac.com

Josh,

I am also in agreement with Spielberg and scripts. I feel he has strengths as a director. however, he ruins every film where he has control over the scripts. I think one of the best examples of this is A.I..

I am not much into Science Fiction, however, I gave A.I. a try and went to see it at the theatre. I could tell right away what influence Speilberg had over Kubrick's idea, and in my opinion, that is what ruined the film. The first half interested me and then it became a disaster.

I could pretty much tell where it went from a Kubrick idea to a Spielberg idea without even guessing and then it became pathetic.

Scott

Dear Scott:

I didn't even like the first half. I thought it was one of the dullest, most lunk-headed SF movies I've ever seen. And "Minority Report" isn't much better, just a tad shorter. I really have no use for Spielberg.

Josh

Name: Blake Eckard
E-mail: bseckard@hotmail.com

Josh,

You may want to go on and submit a "Hammer" tape to Newfilmmakers. The address is on their web page. www.newfilmmakers.com

Before this, however, I suggest sending a quick note off to Barney Oldfield or giving him an intro call. I did mention "Hammer" to him. It doesn't cost anything to submit, so not too much to loose other than a tape.

Also, how did "Running Time" come to get hooked up with IFC? Did you get that arranged, or did a PR person do it? It's good news, by the way. Very good. IFC is a much better channel than Sundance. Any chance they'll look at "Hammer"?

Have a good one.

Blake

Dear Blake:

I have a sales agent in LA that set up the deal, but they won't rep "Hammer." Thanks for the info. Who are these people and what's this about, BTW?

Josh

Name: sspnyc66@mac.com
E-mail: Scott

Josh,

I agree that the shark is a "real" threat in "Jaws" and the when the size of it is finally revealed, it brings the point home even more! I agree to that the script was excellent and all three actors were great! Robert Shaw's character was one of the most believable characters in any film. His performance was great! A truly excellent film!

Scott

Dear Scott:

It's a great movie, and by far Spielberg's best. As I've pointed out before, that's because it's not really a Speilberg film, but a Zanuck/Brown film on which Spielberg was just a hired hand. Once he had control of the scripts his films got worse and worse.

Josh

Name: Mike Kangior
E-mail: mike_kanger@yahoo.com

Dear Josh:

I happened to stumble onto your web site and I'm glad I did. Can you advise me on the best way to shop around a script? I've heard a bunch of different advice, some conflicting. Also what do you think about email services that blast scripts to producers, et. al. versus just sending the whole script to production companies. Take care. --Mike Kangior

Dear Mike:

The best way is get a good agent to shop your script for you. Sadly, though, "good agent" is something of an oxymoron. Sending scripts to companies yourself is pretty much worthless and they won't even look at them. Since most of the scripts the companies get through known sources usually suck, they're not looking at any scripts that they don't know where they came from. I have a script on Writer's Script Network right now. I haven't had any luck there yet, but others seem to have. It's also easier than dealing with an agent.

Josh

Name: james
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

is there a way to project a dvd on to the big screen, do they make special projectors or do you need some sort of attachment

Dear James:

All you need is a video projectors, which are fairly common these days. I was showing movies at the local elementary school in Oregon using a video projector, a portable DVD player, and a stereo, and it looked and sounded great. Many schools and libraries have them now. I also believe this will be the next step in distribution and exhibition. It's much cheaper to send out DVDs than 35mm prints, and they're easier to show.

Josh

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

Josh,

In a Devil's advocate role, shouldn't you be trying to get to more of the showings like the upcoming one in East Lansing for RT? It seems that, in order to make more films, you need to get financing and visibility would be the best way to get a start on that. I'd hate to ask you to schmooze, but all of the Xena conventions and festival-style showings, don't they represent a chance for visibility and, therefore, the appearance of marketability? I know you've said in the past that S. Raimi has a real talent for this sort of thing. I know that his film-making goals are different from yours, but maybe you should co-opt the methodology. I only ask because I think you should be making films, grateful that I, myself, will never be in such a position. Thanks as always,

John

Dear John:

I appreciate your concern, but yours is a common, naive point of view. Having showings at film festivals isn't going to get me any financing or distribution. It's amusing, and a kick for the festivals promoters, but unless it's one of the few very big festivals where agents and ditributors attend, like Sundance or Telluride, it doesn't mean anything. It's also expensive to keep entering festivals. Not just the entry fees, but creating all the press stuff, and I just don't have the extra money for that right now.

Josh

Name: sspnyc66@mac.com
E-mail: Scott

Hey Josh,

You might get one blank response from me, since I hit the return button too fast! Anyhow, I agree with you on all accounts with regards to "Jaws". When I watched it again on DVD, it had been about ten years since I had seen it and I was really taken in by the editing and the pacing of the film. I also feel that the soundtrack is one of the best ever for giving an unsettling feeling. In many scenes, the music really contradicts what is going to happen. The music some scenes has this calm kind of campy feeling when you know somewhere out there, the shark is still going to attack and things could change at any minute

I think the other reason the movie was good is that you could have replaced the shark with any threat or heavy character like a serial killer or the plague and it would still fit into the story. To me, that is great filmmaking.

Scott

Dear Scott:

Except a shark is a believable threat, and that means a lot. When you see the brilliant shot from up in the crow's nest of the shark circling the boat and realize that the shark is as big as the boat, the threat is very real. And don't forget it's a wonderful script with three terrific actors in the leads. Robert Shaw is giving one of the great movie performances ever.

Josh

Name: K. Haas
E-mail:

Josh what other projects do you have in the works currently and how close to making them a reality are you. How much money have you made out of your career, I am curious to know what kind of money is in filmmaking for independant auteurs, how come after the accolades you received for Lunatics and Running Time, it is still a struggle for you to get a movie made and what do you do with yourself while out of work?

Dear K:

Is this Kirk? With all due respect, it's none of your business how much money I make. But unless you make some kind of hit film, there isn't much money to be made in indie films. Financiers don't much care about good reviews, they want to see revenue. And I'm bascially always out of work unless I make the work. I've just written my second book in the past year and a half. You can't go into independent movies thinking you'll make a living because you probably won't.

Josh

Name: Dan B.
E-mail: aboutturn@hotmail.com

Dear Josh:

What is at least two films you have really liked in the past year? And man take it from me, I read Ball Breaker and I have been acting it out to my friends and getting them to read it as well. Do what ever it takes to get that made. The writing style in that one and only script out of your catalogue is sort of reminiscent to my own writing. I picture Micahel McCleery (L.A. Confidential) playing Ivan and Leo Rossi (Relentless, Analyze This) playing Frank. Just a thought. If I ever become a director in the near future I would definetely option the script and not change a word. You have nearly made me decide to shoot my 16mm film silently and dub the sound in during the editing process by having the actors record their lines after the film is done. What do you think, I am in a state of confusion.

Dear Dan:

I'm glad you like the script. You could shoot your film entirely silent and just put the sound in later, or you could shoot a lot of it silent, then have a short sound shoot and cut the sound bits in across the film, or you could just record sound, which isn't really that big of a deal -- I did it on TSNKE, which was extremely low-budget. But shooting on film still looks WAY better than video. If you do shoot silent and loop later, don't let the actors improvise. Make them stick to the script so you'll know what you're looping later. If they play with the lines you'll never figure out what they said. Try to avoid close-ups of people talking, and always make sure you have the over-the-shoulder shots, so you can have people begin to talk on camera, then cut over their shoulder so you can't see their mouths. Good luck.

Josh

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

Hi Josh,

I read one of your archived reponses about Dogme '95 and noticed that you like the idea of it. (That is, emphasis on storytelling) Have you seen any of the Dogme movies that you actually enjoyed? I've only seen two so far, The Celebration (Festen) and The King is Alive. I really got into the former and felt that the story was important. The latter was interesting and much of the acting was good. However, I felt that there wasn't a proper introduction to the characters (especially their motivations).
Ever since I first heard about Dogme, I thought about you-though I know you would never confine yourself to their rules.
Thanks,
Kim

Dear Kim:

I do like a lot of the ideas, although I haven't seen either of those films yet. There's nothing more important in a film than the story. Period. Any extra emphasis that can be put on that idea is good. As I've already mentioned, I really don't like the nonsensical idea that you can't use a tripod or a dolly. The montage of a movie is also important and will never be any good if it's all hand-held. Lars Von Trier's "Breaking the Waves" might very well be a good film, but I bailed out in fifteen minutes because of the awful hand-held camerawork.

Josh

Name: Nick
E-mail: rexniplicus@sbcglobal.net

Hey Josh,

I have read from books and been told by various teachers that screenwriting "isn't literature", that it's just a blueprint for a movie, which I suppose on the surface, that's true. How do you feel on this subject? I think screenplays are literature. It's format and narrative are written differently than a novel, but there's plenty of room for themes and meanings.

Looking forward to seeing your response,

Nick

Dear Nick:

Screenplays ought to contain themes, and metaphor, and any depth that can be put into them. But by not being literature, what is meant is that they're not really meant as a reading experience, they're meant to be made into movies. Average people don't read them. That doesn't mean they shouldn't have every bit as much thought and consideration as any play or novel.

Josh

Name:
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

Forget my name, forget my e-mail, you are a pretentious jackass whom I wouldn't want to be associated with. Keep spitting your hot air like you know something. I saw running time and it was a damn joke! The only reason it got picked up was Bruce was in it. You have no talent, and I don't think it's fair that you run your mouth to kids who are looking for some serious advice. Biological Clock... You should have all of your cameras taken away from you. Once again you are a prententious, failure, who is riding the coat tails of something that you had no impact on in the first place (Evil Dead). Wake up loser!

Dear Nobody:

Thanks for the advice. Since you haven't even got the guts to include your name, I'll take what you say very seriously.

Josh

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

Dear Josh,

Speaking of Bill Lustig and "bad" movies, I finally watched "Mosquito" the other day. Damn, was that bad. I remember, I was working at a video store when it came out on VHS, and my friend and I were like, "Shouldn't the tagline be: 'This Movie Sucks'?" I mean, come on, it's begging for it. At any rate, it was entertaining to see you for two minutes on screen and then get killed, although we didn't even get to see that part. But that chick was pretty hot, though, and you got to get naked with her, so hey.

On the "good" movie front, how do you feel about Cassavetes? My filmmaking teacher in college was obsessed with him (and realism in general).

--Cindy

Dear Cindy:

John Cassavetes is my spiritual filmmaking mentor. His need to make his own films his own way still inspires me. Some of his films can be rough to sit through, but I think they're worth it, particularly "A Woman Under the Influence" and "Faces." As for "Mosquito," it is what it is.

Josh

Name: Jason Roth
E-mail: rothj@student.gvsu.edu

Hey Josh,

I just noticed Running Time is playing at the East Lansing Film Festival, along with Fanalysis and with Bruce hosting. Are you going to be in attendance? It'll be fun to see RT on the big screen again.
Peace,
Jason

Dear Jason:

No, it's Bruce's deal. It will be projected from the DVD, so it will probably look and sound better than it ever has before.

Josh

Name: Scott
E-mail: sspnyc66@mac.com

Josh,

I agree with the "Star Wars" camp. I think "Jaws" was close to the end, but not quite! I saw Jaws in the theatre when I was 10 years old. I remember I had to go with my sister who was older than me. It was my first "PG" rated movie I had ever seen and I remember it scared the "shit" out of me! I thought the shark was going to come in my room at night. Funny stuff.

Did you like "Jaws"? I watched it when it came out on DVD and I still think it holds up well over the years, although, gladly, I can sleep at night without fearing the shark is in my room now! Hehehe....

I am glad you recieved the Roy CD. He is actually considered the Dylan of the UK, but he never gained the stature that Dylan has, and he has dabbled with different sounds including much more rockier stuff which is also quite nice.

I agree his voice and his guitar playing are nice and he keeps getting better with age. His last album "The Green Man" is totally acoustic and it is exceptional. He has influenced a great many people including myself.

Take care,
Scott

Dear Scott:

I'm glad to finally be familiar with him. Thanks again. Yes, I love "Jaws," which I think is Spielberg's best movie by a mile, mainly because it's not really a Speilberg movie, but actually a Zanuck/Brown film and Speilberg was just a hired hand. It holds up beautifully, and it's snappy as all get-out. Great editing, Beautiful direction, incredible music, terrific performances. It scared the shit out of me, too, and I was seventeen. But I never thought the shark would get me in my bedroom, only Dracula.

Josh

Name: Dan B.
E-mail: aboutturn150@hotmail.com

Dear Josh:

I respect your opinion Josh, and I have respect for most films even if they are not of the highest standard. I realise Bill Lustig is a bad filmmaker, in fact he is very bad, but I get a kick out of watching his films, not to watch and disect and what not, but just 90 min of fun. Gangs of New York is by far not as good as Mean Streets, Taxi Driver, Gooodfellas or any of the earlier works, but I still am in love with his vision. I dont think its fair that you say my taste is tasteless. Would I have bad taste if I said I enjoyed TSNKE? I'm not criticising you but I do have to set the record straight. When I was 5 I grew up with Vacation, The Producers, Young Frankenstein, See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Beverly Hills Cop, Hudson Hawk, and many of Scorsese's films, but when I reached my teens I began to gain interest in B films and indie flicks, with bad lighting and low-budgets, my taste is diverse. Some of my favourite films of all time are:

GoodFellas, Mean Streets, The Producers, and The Deer Hunter.

And could you please answer my question on your opinion on the use of adult film actors in legit films.

Thanks, (I'm not mad I swear) Dan.

Dear Dan:

Sorry for impugning your taste (although I have no respect for "The Deer Hunter," either). I don't watch porno films, so I don't know if there are any decent actors working in them. Of the porno films I have seen, the acting was certainly of the lowest possible quality. I think you'd be better off with theater actors. Personally, I like trained actors, and the more training the better, and they're not making porn. Regarding bad movies, I lost all interest in how bad movies could be many years ago. When most of the really expensive films are truly awful, what's the point? Nor do I find anything fun or amusing about Bill Lustig's films. I find them utterly boring and entirely inept, and that doesn't interest me in the slightest. I think it's much more important and far more edifying to watch good movies. And, to reiterate, "Gangs of NY" is a complete disaster, and I seriously don't think Scorsese knows what the fuck he's doing anymore. That opening fight scene looked like it was directed by someone who's watched too many commercials and music videos, and wants everyone to think he's young and hip. And to set up a revenge plot, then have the character in a position to take revenge within 20 minutes, but don't let him for two more hours is bad writing at its worst.

Josh

Name: Justin
E-mail: moosebase1@hotmail.com

Josh,

Just wanted to tell you that I have been at two of the sold out screenings of Bubba Ho-Tep at the South by Southwest film festival and the audience loves it. I think it is the best thing Bruce Campbell has been in. Him and Ossie Davis make a great team. I hope this film can make a theatrical run.

Justin

Dear Justin:

Me, too.

Josh

Name: Scott
E-mail: sspnyc66@mac.com

Hey Josh,

It is interesting that the book "Easy Riders and Raging Bulls" chooses "Heaven's Gate" as the last of the personal, "non-studio interference" films, and the "Trio" documentary special actually ends with "Star Wars" which is what you feel ended that period as well.

I think it would be well worth a viewing for you if you have access to cable. Maybe I could tape it for you if you are interested?

Scott

Dear Scott:

I'm not the only one that uses "Star Wars" as the dead-end of decent filmmaking. Some people use "Jaws," but I disagree. BTW, I got the CD and I've listened to it once, and was very interested. I'll listen to it again in a minute. Thanks very much. Harper is much more of a Bob Dylan kind of guy as opposed to a Pink Floyd kind of a guy. Good voice, nice guitar.

Josh

Name: Jared Jones
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

Judging by your opinions, and your last three features, it would seem you have a keen eye for direction and character and story development. But could you honestly say your first feature wasn't a youthful venture on your behalf. Just a slasher flic? I don't want to sound like i'm being rude, but i am just curious. Did you see Blood Diner? It sucked the only funny part to me was the car jumping up and down to Lacukaracha? Have you seen Buddy Giovinazzo's Combat Shock? Beyond the amatuerish acting, I feel the film is gritty and raw and the writing is brilliant, and presented in that post-apocalyptic atmosphere. I recomend it to you, it's disturbing, but i would like it if you could review it on this site.

Dear Jared:

Of course it was a youthful venture. I was twenty-one when I wrote it and twenty-five when I made it, with ten cents, in my backyard. But I don't even feel like seeing movies like "Combat Shock" anymore, or TSNKE, either.

Josh

Name: Dan B.
E-mail: aboutturn150@hotmail.com

Dear Josh:

Have you seen Gangs of New York? did you enjoy it? Only one thing I did not like about it and that was the use of a U2 song, I though dramatic score would have been fine instead of the hands that built America.
Otherwise I loved it, now I can appreciate anything on the large (definitely not TITANIC or and ANTHONY MINGHELLA film) or small scale, but this was grand and as a major fan of Scorsese, I have been waiting for this for many years. What is Bill Lustig doing now, since Uncle Sam, he has seems to have produced a bunch of shorts and documentaries, does he have anything in the works, cause I enjoy his films, Relentless and Maniac Cop being personal cult classic in my friendship group. Question if hypothetically you were desperate for film work as a newcomer and could not get work anywhere, would you ever consider working on adult film sets? Hypothetically? And what is your stance on the use of pornstars in legit films? Would you ever hire a porn star for a small cameo? Cause I think I would, I have actually written some parts in my other feature scripts for pornstars to play, because I feel that some of them have talent that goes unrecognised due to them fornicating for a living. I met Ron Jeremy last year, and watched his documentary and I feel he is a great character actor, and he appears to be setting the standard for many other porno actors to follow his footsteps. Great guy to.

NEWS.... I got in touch with an actor from four or so films today, and he has asked me to send my scripts along. I hope it goes well.

Dear Dan:

With all due respect, your taste leaves something to be desired. Bill Lustig may be the worst filmmaker since Ed Wood. "Maniac," "Vigilante," and "Maniac Cop" are three of the worst films I've ever seen. Also, "Gangs of NY" is by far Scorsese's worst film, and truly a piece of crap. But if you like these films, God bless you.

Josh

Name: Scott
E-mail: sspnyc66@mac.com

Hey Josh,

I watched a good program on "Trio" that is running all week. If you have cable check it out. It is called "Ez Riders and Raging Bulls" which is a documentary about the films of the 60's and 70's directors that broke the studio system. There are also other interviews which are scheduled at different times which are interesting too. There is some great bashing about the Hollywood of today and the horrible advent of "The Blockbuster".

BTW, let me know when you receive the Roy Harper CD.

Take Care,
Scott

Dear Scott:

I've read the book "Easy Riders, Raging Bulls" and it's very good. I recommend it to everyone. I understand the parameters the author, Peter Biskind, chose, which was 1967 to 1980, or "Bonnie and Clyde" to "Heaven's Gate," but I would personally dispute it. I think it goes from 1967 to 1977, "B&C" to "Star Wars." I'd say "Star Wars" changed the film business much more dramatically than "Heaven's Gate," which simply destroyed one already failing studio. But Mr. Biskind's point is well-taken though in that "HG" was the last huge, personal film by a director, basically without studio interference, which wasn't aimed at kids. But it was already a dead issue at that point. The kid-audience had already taken over.

Josh

Name: Jim
E-mail: JEaganFilm@aol.com

Josh,

What are your thoughts on realism in cinema? I've noticed that a number of movies these days are made with the goal of giving the audience an "experience". Particularly war movies, like Blackhawk Down, and most action movies in general. Personally, I think this focus on realism is less than fascinating. I'd argue that if you want to experience "reality" you should step outside of the house once in awhile. Cinema shouldn't really be about giving the audience an "experience", but rather offering them ideas that they can process and make judgements on. I'm not saying that the best films are distant and purely intellectual, but are actually a combination of many things. When I hear people say that they love a movie because it was so real and intense I think they're very easily amused. Not much different from a video game. I've read interviews with directors like Lucas and Spielberg in which they claim that the future of cinema will be some sort of a 3D headset that taps right into your visual cortex. Movies that you experience as if they were real. I'm wondering is this is kind of missing the point in terms of the ideal response to a film. Virtually experiencing the horrors of war seems less significant to me than viewing an artist's portrayal of the same thing.

Jim
JEaganFilm@aol.com

Dear Jim:

I don't think there's anything wrong with realism, per se, it's just what's done with it artistically. Let's face it, to end up as a movie everything must go through the minds of humans, be processed, then spit back out. It's only realistic to a point, no matter how hard you try. The realism of "Black Hawk Down," for instance, was fine with me, my problem was the piss-poor writing and utter lack of characterization. They didn't allow me to truly experience their realism because I never cared about the characters in that reality. The true beginning of realism in cinema was the Italian neo-realist movement right after WWII, where, for the first time, we got to see regular old poor people, living miserable lives, wearing ratty clothes, trying to scratch out a meager living. Vittoria De Sica's wonderful "The Bicycle Thief" is a very realistic depiction of life in post-war Rome, but it 's also highly artistic. De Sica was able, as an artist, to make me feel how desperate this man was, that his whole world hung on having a bicycle, and it was stolen. I felt WAY more for that guy and his son and the missing bicycle then I did for the entire platoon of soldiers in BHD. So which one is more realistic?

Josh

Name: Brian
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

I'm surprised you liked "Slacker." There was no structure, no likeable characters to care about, no plot at all. I'm sure that was the point of the movie, but still a terrible bore IMO. "Tape" was pretty good itself, although don't waste your time on Ethan Hawke's directorial debut "chelsea walls" which was shot on the same camera (sony PD-100). I was actually surprised when watching the credits for "Tape" how many people were involved in making that. For a film like that it seemed like Linklater could have done most everything technical himself. I think it was Stanley Kubrick who said, and I may get this quote wrong, when asked why there was only 2 people working the camera and he replied, "How many do you need?"

Dear Brian:

I don't want to defend "Slacker" too strenuously because it's not that good, but it certainly does have a structure -- each character, or group of characters, takes you to the next character. Period. It's incredibly simple, but it's still a very clear structure that no one had used before. Sadly, the last ten minutes when it goes into super-8 is just awful. As far as a camera crew goes, generally they're made up of: the DP, the camera operator, the 1st assistant cameraman (who pulls focus), the 2nd AC (who loads the camera and makes sure it's all properly set up, and keeps the log), and the clapper/loader who loads the magazines and runs the slate.

Josh

Name: Tony Mitchell
E-mail: mitch_2209@hotmail.com

Hi Josh,

I was interested to read your post on the Baby Cart films. I recently saw "Baby Cart at the River Styx" on TV and I thoroughly enjoyed it. How adorable is that little kid?
Also, speaking of Lord Larry Olivier - did you ever see the film "Inchon" which was financed by the Reverend Moon? Larry played the part of General McArthur and I was wondering what you thought of his performance in that. Apparently that was one of the biggest bombs since "Heaven's Gate".

Dear Tony:

I'm ashamed to say I've never seen it, and they never show it on TV. Casting Olivier as MacArthur is insane, although Gregory Peck wasn't so hot, either. Lord Larry was taking any piece of shit they offered him there at the end of his life. I'm still a little shocked by him in "The Betsy," "The Jazz Singer," and "The Boys From Brazil." He began doing accents from countries that don't exist.

Josh

Name: FABIO BLANCO
E-mail: longtom@oeste.com.ar

dear JOSH...
what a surprise you know the "sword of vengeance" series. I have four of the films in japanese with English subtitles. I have the comics too, and the films are very faithful to them... You know, I have a dog named Daigoro, like the son of Ogami Itto, the ronin... :-)
I know that a lot of movies are based in comics now, but I think the worst thing is... they are bad movies. From Hell is a wonderful story in the comic, you know who the ripper is and why he kills these women... the political reasons and the personal mystic reasons of the killer. Is a great graphic novel, but was too much intelectual for a hollywood movie. So they transformed Inspector Abberline in... addict Johnny Depp who fall in love with this top model whore of Whitechapel...
Well, sorry, I did want comment that a lot time ago. There are good comics, but is hard remember an adaptation that results in a good movie...

FABIO

Dear Fabio:

I have nothing against comics, other than they're not a very good basis for movies. Actually, superheroes of any kind I can live without, but I realize that's just part of the world of comics and graphic novels. I really do love "Shogun Assassin." At the beginning, after his wife is killed, Ogami puts little baby Daigaro on the floor, sticks his sword into the ground, then sets a colorful ball a few feet away. He says, "Choose the ball, you go with your mother. Choose the sword and you come with me." Daigaro looks like he's going for the ball, then at the last second changes course and goes to the sword. Ogami says, "You are truly my son," then picks him up and kills ten guys while holding his baby.

Josh

Name: Jules ( the homeless,bag guy)
E-mail: julesdesjarlais@shaw.ca

Hello Josh,

You probably wondered day after day about what happened to that Jules guy. Well I've been up here in frozen Canada doing some acting and voice-overs in the Canuck language for the last 3 years. So! anything else going on? Just thought I'd say HI! Is Pato still around? I picked up the DVD Running Time, Great comments and good memories

Dear Jules:

Hey, good to hear from you. I really enjoyed working with you. I just transcribed all of your dialog word-for-word as I did the "Running Time" dialog-continuity script (which is the exact transcription of all the dialog as spoken, not as written). RT will be on the Independent Film Channel starting in June. The best of luck to you up in the great white north. Pato moved back to Bolivia.

Josh

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

hey Josh,

Speaking of boring films, ever see Richard Linklater's debut "Slacker"? Man, what a piece of shit. And I thought "Kids" was the worse film debut from an unknown director, but Linklater proved me wrong. I should have known not to pick it up at the video seeing how "slacker" inspired kevin smith to write "clerks" but then I thought what the hell. At family video it's 2 movies $1 so I don't feel bad about turning that off after a half hour. I'm surprised I even made it that long. Anyways, I have one question. You said that you had a meeting with the Troma guys, I was wondering what it was for. A film you were trying to get financed by them? That would be kind of amusing seeing Troma pictures presents: A Josh Becker Film. :\

Dear Brian:

It was to try and get them to release TSNKE, in which they expressed interested. Then they jerked us around for months, constantly lowering what they would pay and changing the deal. We finally told them to get lost, but it cost us four or five months of wasted time. I actually didn't mind "Slacker," although it completely ran out of steam long before the end. I absolutely hated "Dazed & Confused," though. I rather liked "Tape," although the direction is by far the worst thing in the film.

Josh

Name: Patrice Jones
E-mail: ricecakep@hotmail.com

Dear Josh:

I think an actor by the name of Kristian Monday played someone named Terry. I haven't seen him in awhile and wanted to know if he was okay. Any info would be great.
Patrice Jones of Sacramento

Dear Patrice:

Kristian did play Terry in my film "If I Had a Hammer," and I thought he was very good. The last I knew he was living in LA, but I don't know where. I wasn't even able to contact him for the cast and crew screening of the film.

Josh

Name: Dan B.
E-mail: aboutturn@hotmail.com

Dear Josh:

I ran out and hired Texas Blood Money ages ago when it first came out when I was 16, cause I was excited to see Scott Spiegel's direction after Tarantino praising him in his biographies cause Intruder is hard to find in Australia. Texas Blood Money sucked, the genre should be comedy instead of horror or action, cause some of the directing made me laugh. His use of P.O.V.s were silly, corny and overused in the film. Like the fans moving side to side, Duane Whittaker with his the front of his hat covering the top of the screen, and one that my friend predicted before it happened was the shot looking up at Robert Patrick through the skeleton. I own The Rookie, and have seen Evil Dead 2 and I read some of your collaborations with Scott, (Ball Breaker my favourite in particular, should have been made, it has potential to make my top 50 list, witty and tough), and I feel that he is a talented writer, but he directs films they way we used to do when we put together home made horror films in our younger days. Even at sixteen I was laughing at his style, but everyone deserves a second chance. Is he directing an adaption of Modesty Blaise. If possible could you tell me who are some of the cast members, I must admit, the possibility of this films release is exciting and I hope he does better with this one

Dear Dan:

I don't know who's in "Modesty Blaise," but I think it's done. I haven't spoken with Scott in years.

Josh

Name: anne gold
E-mail: golda@mville.edu

Hi Josh,

I so agree with your take on movies of today. In fact I teach an Intro to Communications class at Manhattanville College and I want to demonstrate all they are missing out on by not renting the classic movies. I have copies of Gladiator and Spartacus. WHat scenes from each would you suggest that I show to them?BTW a few years ago Dave Brubeck's son gave a concert in this local church and low in behold his dad showed up and jammed away on the piano. It was quite surreal. My friend and I were the only two in the audience who were not members of the congregation. Yet they treated us well and served tea out of china cups.....anyway thx if you can help me out on this i will appreciate it aand we can enlighten a classroom of college age kids!

Dear Anne:

I've done a reasonably good job of putting "Gladiator" entirely out of my mind. I just watched "Spartacus" again for about the 50th time the other night, and I just love all the scenes with the Romans, particularly the scene between Peter Ustinov and Charles Laughton, or the scene near the beginning when Crassus (Laurence Olivier) and his friends show up at the gladiator school and have them fight to the death for their amusement, which is what ultimately causes the slave revolt. Olivier is so good it just tickles me when I watch it -- he's the perfect Roman nobleman. But I don't think there's anything comparable in "Gladiator," so you can choose any part of that film because it's all equally as bad.

Josh

Name: Chopped Nuts
E-mail: danjfox@rogers.com

Dear Josh:

I think one of the reasons films are becoming duller is that everyone is trying so hard to find the "reality" of whatever situation the film portrays. "Being real" is the buzz-word combination of pretty well every actor I come in contact with. Characters are being played so low-key that they're all about as interesting as the colour beige. I think I'd rather see James Cagney chewing up the scenery than a true-to-life portrayal of a gangster and his son. As if people in the entertainment industry didn't leave normal behind a long time ago. There's a quote in the extras of The Shining dvd, where Jack Nicholson is talking about why he played his author character in broad strokes. He said Stanley Kubrick said (I don't remember the exact quote, but...) "Reality is all very well and good, but it's not always so very interesting."

P.S. What does "Japanese baby-cart film" mean?

Bye!

Dear Dan:

There was a series of Japanese comic books in the 1960s and '70s called "The Baby-Cart" series, or more accurately, the "Sword of Vengeance" series, about a ronin samurai who pushes his little son around in a wooden baby-cart. These were made into seven Japanese feature films ("Lightning Swords of Death," "Baby-Cart in Peril," etc.). Some guys at Roger Corman's company took two of the films and re-edited them into "Shogun Assassin," which I just loved and saw many times. I then saw all the rest of the films in their original versions. These films are beautifully done, with incredible direction, strong scripts, and amazing fight scenes. That's what "Road to Perdition" is based on.

Josh

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

Dear Josh,

Such lively and literate commentary of late! It's wonderful to see. I just wanted to let y'all know that you can buy a CD by David Zink, who played Bobby Lee in "Hammer," if you go to Amazon.com. And he has a website: http://home.earthlink.net/~davidzink/. I really dug that guy.

On a less-musical, more movie-related note, I'd like to say that "Six Feet Under" has some amazingly real moments in it. Have you seen any episodes? The first season's on DVD now, and I dug it highly, except for a bit of over-the-top drama toward the end there. I'm renting HBO tv shows now because every new movie I've rented has warrented nothing higher than an "Oh, that didn't COMPLETELY suck," rating. I'm starting to wonder, where are the talented artists who are alive today? I'm guessing they're all broke and working day jobs.

--Cindy

Dear Cindy:

It's worse than Hollywood just makes shit, it's that they know they're making shit so what's the difference who makes it? If the end result is going to be garbage and everyone knows it, then why not let the producer direct it, or some first-time kid. Directors used to be strong personalities with a vision, now they're ass-kissing wimps because that's how you get a job. At DGA meetings, I felt like if I yelled "BOO!" most of the directors in the room would piss in their pants. We used to have powerful guys directing, like John Ford, Raoul Walsh or Victor Fleming; now you've got these weasels that grew up jerking-off to "Cinderella" and "Snow White," who won't shut the fuck up about their "inner-child." I wish I'd become a boxing referee.

Josh

Name: Dan B.
E-mail: aburtturn150@hotmail.com

Dear Josh:

I really like your site Josh, and have been coming to it since I was 15 or 16, i'm now 19 nearly twenty, and I admire your dedication to an industry that is driven by sheep ie corporate execs. I have been trying to find Running Time in Australia for a while now, but no luck. I had planned my first feature a while ago, but it fell through. I have some mentor/friends who are in the industry and they told me to shoot on video. If all else fails I would do this, but their is something fake about video format. I wanted to make my first feature "Formal Ring of Red" on 16mm, and to save money I would sacrifice coverage, and cut out different camera angles, using a similar method to what you supposedly used for Running Time. Did you use any different camera angles or did you just shoot it in one take? I am a penpal of actor Robert R. Shafer (Psycho Cop, Rosebud Beach Hotel), and I asked if I could feature a picture of him in my film (I wrote him in as a reporter in a newspaper, with his picture in it due to not being able to fly him out). Other actors with minor film credits were lined up as well, but everything keeps going wrong before I begin shooting.
Question!
What is the best thing to record sound on when shooting on 16mm, and where could I find it?
Question!
How much would it cost to get music rights for unpopular songs by famous artists, like the ones on the albums were not singles
Question!
I have been trying to get jobs of movie sets as a Production Assistant for experience, how is possible to be hired, with no prior movie credits?
I feel sorry for you having to deal with people asking you for jobs, when it seems hard enough for you to get things made for yourself. Keep your chin up, and hopefully you and I will make a break.

DB

Dear Dan:

It's very difficult getting movies made, don't give up hope. I didn't make my first feature until I was twenty-five, which is still pretty young. You record your sound on a Nagra sound recorder, which is a synch reel-to-reel tape recorder, or a digital sound recorder, if you've got more money. If you're clever, you can shoot all or most of your film silent with a Bolex, which is much cheaper, then put the sound on later. I have a friend who has been shooting a 16mm feature on weekends now for five years and has shot quite a bit of it. When he completes shooting all of his silent footage, which is the bulk of the picture, he'll then have a one-weekend shoot with a sound camera and recording sound. Video, of course, is much easier in many ways, but it still looks like video, I agree with you. Still, if you were willing to really put in some time and effort into the lighting, it could look great. As for the songs, if they're by known bands, they will all be way more money than you can afford, whether they were hits or not. Get a local musician to score your film for you. As for trying to work as a PA, you need to ingratiate yourself to a production company, which isn't easy. None of this is. If it was easy, everyone would do it. Good luck.

Josh

Name: Boyd Mann
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

With all of your movie connections like Raimi and Tapert and Campbell, i thought you would be in a good position to get some of your unreleased scripts funded. Do you like Troma films cause beyond their violent exterior, I feel they make clever stabs at society, and are witty. Lloyd Kaufman like John Waters over exaggerates his point so the viewer not only gets the message, but has no choice but to agree with it! Have you seen Adam Rifkin's new film Night at the Golden Eagle? If so did you like it?


On your next project I have a list of actors you should use that are under appreciated.

Robert Miano (Donnie Brasco)
William Katt (House, Big Wednesday)
Miles Dougal (The Chase, Detroit Rock City)
Ron Jeremy - need I say more
Reverend Jen Miller (Terror Firmer, Thus Spake Zarathustra)
Will Keenan (Tromeo and Juliet)
Valentine Miele (Tromeo and Juliet)
Robert R. Shafer (Psycho Cop, Hollywood Shuffle, A Brillian Disguise)
and
William Sadler (Trespass, Shawshank Redemption)

Dear Boyd:

Thanks for the list. I personally can't stand Troma's films, all of which that I've seen were very poorly made even more poorly written. Having tried to do business with those idiots, I found them lacking on an ethical level, too. As for being friends with Raimi and Tapert, they have their own lives and careers. Getting any picture financed is a huge ordeal and is never easy under any circumstances.

Josh

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

Josh,

I was just looking through IMDB, looking at the careers of some of my favorite golden era actors, when it dawned on me that, beyond some Chaplin and Keaton films and a few landmark films, my awareness of films prior to 1933 is virtually non-existant. After 1933 or '34, irrespective of who I was looking up, I knew almost all of their films, or at least was aware of the title. Since I haven't made any systematic study of films, this lack of familiarity with earlier films is likely not coincidental. Do you know of a change in film style or technology occurring about this time which might account for the very sharp division in my awareness. I know most of my golden era films from television, as oppossed to art houses or the like. Thanks,

John

Dear John:

Yes, it's called the Golden Age of Hollywood, which went from about 1935 to 1955. The sound films before 1935 are, for the most part, rather crude. Before 1927 are the silent films, which no one pays much attention to anymore. I think that's shame, personally, because movies had hit a level of visual sophistication between 1924 and 1928 that really hasn't been recaptured. Films like "The Big Parade," "The Crowd," "Sunrise," "The General" and "The Freshman" I find quite amazing.

Josh

Name: Jean
E-mail:

Hi Josh,

I just finished reading "Above the Line" a few hours ago and I enjoyed it for the most part. It reminded me a lot of "Biological Clock". I see that your alter-ego Aaron is in this one as well. As a matter of fact it seemed as though Aaron, Cathy and Shauna are pretty much the same 3 characters from BC.

I think you have a very interesting and strange view of women. At first I was a bit put off by how sexually aggressive Cathy and Shauna were. But then again, men are portrayed as being sexually aggressive all the time so what the hell! I do agree that Cathy was not the most likable character. Yes, sometimes people who are smart and attractive can get away with being unlikable but it does not always work that way. Have you ever met an intelligent and attractive person who comes off as being very interesting at first but then after you talk to them for awhile their attitude and personality fucks their face up? Cathy kind of reminded me of that type of person. However, she was not all that bad. If I slept with a guy and gave him VD and then slept with him again and got pregnant I would probably split too! You certainly made the guy the hero of the story. In both this script and "Biological Clock" Aaron is the one with his head on straight (for the most part) and the female lead is a wacky/neurotic chick. There is a very "Taming of the Shrew" quality to both of these stories. Does this bother me? As a woman I would have to say yes. As a writer I would have to say that it works because you need the conflict. But then again I read and see negative portrayals of women day in and day out and it's very depressing. I think you are a much better writer then that. Or maybe I should just shut my trap about this whole gender issue thing and write a script with a strong female lead myself. Yea! I bet I'll get that made!

I actually enjoyed the whole movie within a movie within a movie aspect of the story. I thought you dealt with that very well. It totally reminded me of "Adaptation". You WERE ahead of your time Josh! Normally I would rather jam a pencil in my eye then go to see a film about people making films. But I thought that "Above the Line" had a very personal feel to it and that really appealed to me. Aaron was very easy to identify with because he is just a regular guy who happens to be in the film business. He's the type of guy that an audience can root for and he had a good smart-ass quality to him. You should write more personal stories like this one. You are very good at it. I enjoyed how you plugged in all of your old friends from Detroit into this script. I also liked how the script opened. That was rather clever and it set a nice tone for the rest of the story. I really enjoyed the sort of heightened reality that the characters lived in. Very, very Los Angeles. Aaron truly lives and breathes for movies.

I think that the script's weakest point was the character of Shauna. To me, she was just pointless and annoying. Forgive me Josh, but the scene where she goes to his apartment and ends up fucking him came off as just a juvenile sexual fantasy. She only had 3 character traits. She was cold, strange and beautiful. Not nearly enough for me to actually pay attention to her.

As a whole I thought that "Above the Line" had a pretty solid story. I personally think that "Biological Clock" is a better script. I just think that the story in BC helped give the characters more dimension.

That's my two cents!

Best,
Jean

Dear Jean:

Thanks for the interesting review. In my defense regarding "Above the Line," all I can say is that it was written fourteen years ago. I think the female characters in my more recent scripts have been more three-dimensional, or at least I hope so.

Josh

Name: Jim
E-mail: JEaganfilm@aol.com

Josh,

What would you say is the most boring movie you'eve ever seen? I ask this because in the last week I've seen some horribly dull movies and I just don't get what the directors were going for when they made these things. I've barely made it out awake from a bunch of Tarkovsky and Michael Mann movies last week in class. Then over the weekend I saw the Road to Perdition, giving it a second chance after a bad time of it in theaters. The most self-important piece of dull nonsense I've seen in awhile. Just incredibly awful, which is a shame that Conrad Hall wasted his amazing talent on such a huge pile of boredom. Can I blame it on Hollywood directors having a drug problem? I swear Michael Mann had to be on something when he cut Last of the Mohicans. Plodding on and on, one scene more boring than the last. Its almost like "boring" is an esthetic nowadays. Like if its "boring" its important or something. I'm not even looking for a fast-moving film, just something that tries to engage its audience. I saw The Seventh Seal and found that to be reasonably engaging even if it was incredibly obvious. I notice that audiences nowadays seem to be under the impression that newer movies are more entertaining. That's simply not true at all. I've got a really shitty attention span and I can much more easily sit through a 30s black and white gangster movie than some piece of shit like Road to Perdition. Its like movies from back then were more lively or something. There's something to be said for the pure thrill of an actor enjoying his performance even in a mediocre story. The director's and actors these days feel comatose to me, they just took a bunch of painkillers and are too cool to be interesting.

Jim

Dear Jim:

What can I say, it amuses me watching other people arrive where I am. Welcome to the modern-day reality of movies. The true culprits, in my opinion, are the writers. There hasn't been a decent script written or shot in Hollywood in years. I haven't seen "Road to Perdition," but you're dealing with a story that's a remake of the Japanese baby-cart films, that were in turn based on comic books. I was one of the few people the year Michael Mann's piece of shit "Last of the Mohicans" came out that simply hated that film. I actually walked out about a half an hour before the end and just sat in the lobby waiting for my friends. I just saw Mann's newest piece of shit, "Ali," and it's a fucking travesty. It wouldn't have been possible to make a worse film about the great Muhammed Ali (as Teddy Atlas, the announcer of Friday Night Fights, said after seeing it, "That was awful! They shoulda gotten that guy who made 'Raging Bull'). Anyway, what was the most boring film I've ever seen? That's too big of a subject, let's just keep it to recent releases. I was pretty stupified with boredom this last year watching the horrible "Chicago." With all due respect to my friend Sam, "Spider-Man" deeply bored me. "Lord of the Rings" was so dull I had to turn it off. "The Royal Tennenbaums" completely and utterly bored me. That awful film Bruce was in, "Serving Sara" was painfully dull. "Minority Report" went on forever. Robert Altman's "Dr. T and the Women" was mind-numbing. "Donnie Darko" was so stupid I became comatose. "A.I." was the most boring of this whole list so far. "Memnto" bored me stiff. I'm going to stop, there's far too many boring films these days. I'll take any film before, say, 1977, over most anything that's come out since.

Josh

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

Dear Josh,

I just finished reading the "Making Of" essays for "Hammer," and I have a question: What were the 'digital effects' you did for the film? Just curious.

Also...I neglected to mention that I really loved the lighting. Esp. in the club, it looked like an actual club with multi-colored lights, and it wasn't too bright in there. Nice looking stuff.

take care,

Cindy

Dear Cindy.

Thanks. Someday I hope everyone gets to see a top-quality transfer of the film, then you'll see how really terrific the lighting is. Kurt Rauf, the DP, did a wonderful job. Meanwhile, the digital effect, which you commented on in your previous email, is when Phil is walking up the street and you see the TV light flickering in all the windows. Other than him walking up the street, every element in that shot was digitally replaced -- the buildings, the cars, and the street lights.

Josh

Name: Frank Peterson
E-mail: frank_peterson@hotmail.com

Dear Josh:

I do think you need to research the Guadalcanal campaign. The Army's contribution was major and it lasted from Nov42 to Mar 43 when the island was declared taken--Jones wrote himself into the book as Cpl Fife and the sequence in which Fife kills a Japanese soldier while taking a crap is based on what happened to Jones. I do agree with you re the movie--it was much more Malick than Jones.

Dear Frank:

I have no doubt you're right and the army made a big contribution to the Pacific campaign. Nevertheless, the real story on Gaudalcanal was the marines taking the island. James Jones wrote about the army there because that was his experience, he was in the army and fought there. Write what you know. But the fact that Jones was stationed at Pearl Harbor when it was attacked allowed him to make his great contribution to literature, "From Here to Eternity." "The Thin Red Line" is a secondary book in his career, as well as to WWII literature. And it's a crappy film.

Josh

Name: travis
E-mail: dustglas@hotmail.com

hey josh,

did you guys rent lights for the shooting of evil dead or just use shop lights and such. i'm looking for a good way to get around having to rent a kit. thanks, travis

Dear Travis:

No, we we rented lights, and we could have used more. We had a 5-K, two 2-Ks, four 1-Ks, and quite a few little clamps lights, too.

Josh

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

Dear Josh:

Oh...and where did you find David Zink? He's amazing!! his song kicked so much ass! And that Jason Kyle Webb rocks, too. Great casting! Okay, I'm done.

Cindy

Dear Cindy:

I found them both in LA. The place is stinking with talented people who never get to be in anything. David Zink and Jason Kyle Webb were particularly good, I agree. I think Jason is particularly good in his scene with Brett about, "What's it like to be a negro?"

Thanks again for buying and watching it.

Josh

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

Dear Josh:

Yay! Finally got my VCR working again...All I know is, it worked for two hours and I finally got to watch "If I Had A Hammer" last night! What a great movie! I was thinking, "Oh, this is going to be political and important, blah blah blah," and of course it turned out to be "History according to Josh Becker," which was great. The TV commercials (nice touch! I especially loved the cigarette ads), the way that everyone sat in front of the TV instead of going to the rally, that shot of the glowing TVs was like that shot in "Network" but without everyone yelling "I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it anymore!" out the window. The apathy...yes! Finally...someone makes a movie about apathy. Thank you. And when Brett Beardslee sings "If I had a Hammer," he sounds exactly like Iggy Pop. I laughed so hard I almost died. Wow. Not what I was expecting. Great movie. So funny, and I loved that scene where they got high together... "But that's marijuana!" "Why don't you say it louder, so the cops can hear ya?" You rock. I think about seven times while I was watching this movie, I said that out loud: "Josh, you rock!" So. There you go. I think I'm going to watch it again this week, it was like actually going to a Hootenanny (open mic night--whatever, which I do sometimes), which I dug.

You've done it again, my man. Now I need the DVD with commentary, please. I want to hear your voice over the production, saying "Yeah, this guy, he's like me when I was 21 years old, and this other guy, he's like this other part of me..."

Cindy

Dear Cindy:

I'm so pleased you enjoyed it, and that you got your VCR working. I'd of course love to do a commentary track, should the film ever be released, that is. And yes, it is history according to me. But I think there's some truth there.

Josh

Name: James Bond
E-mail: herculean@techie.com

Dear James:

Kevin 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.

Josh


Dear Josh:

Thank you once more for your intriguing response.

If I may continue the discussion, I am very impressed that Kevin Sorbo was able to for the most part maintain an overwhelming physique and act in such a physical capacity despite his aneuryisms. I was not aware that it had caused him nearly as much discomfort or prevented him from exercising- I had only recalled that it resulted in one of his film roles being cancelled (a film known as Black Dog, I believe).

By the way, if you could also please describe which season or episode of Hercules you last saw Kevin Sorbo.

Thank you for repeating this story- it is very interesting and impressive! I am certain that Kevin Smith had a terrific physique. By the way, which Xena episode was this? Could it possibly have been "Amphipolis Under Seige" (a very fine episode)? Of course I do not recall that Joxer was in that episode.

By the way, I hope that Ted Raimi intended his comment to be humorous (and did not really feel adverse). It is certainly possible to be in fine physical condition
without being very muscular, I believe.

Thank you,

James Bond

Dear James:

The Xena episode was "Soul Possession." I don't know what episode of Herc Kevin Sorbo was on then. But he wasn't just in discomfort, he was seriously ill. That's why Bruce Campbell stepped in and kind of took over the show in the last season. Kevin could only work for a few hours a day, and couldn't do anything difficult. Thank goodness he fully recuperated.

Josh

Name: Melody Hogan
E-mail: Whatevrduh@aol.com

Dear Josh:

I don't suppose you know how much it cost to make the movie Raising Arizona or at least how much it grossed in at the box offices do you?

Dear Melody:

I don't know either answer. You might try Variety. I do know that it wasn't very expensive, though.

Josh

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

Josh,

I saw an ad for Bruce Willis' newest film, something with "Tears" in the title. I will never see this movie unless I'm captured by the enemy (I'll probably talk first) but I did have a reaction to a scene in the ad. The scene is of two F-15's flying over a central-African battlefield. What struck me about the scene is that it is shown from the perspective of a man hovering three-thousand feet from the ground. "Pearl Harbor" did this sort of thing as well, placing perspective from a falling bomb, or one thing or another.

These were not establishing shots; not shots from outside of a plane in flight to show that you are now hearing the voice of the pilot of the plane. These scenes strike me as entirely gratuitous. I compare the scene in the Willis movie with the napalm strike in "Apocalypse Now", a scene which I think a lot of directors profess to admire, and the Willis movie fails. How can you take a scene seriously if there is no way to connect with the perspective? "Apocalypse" conveyed a sense of awe at the perverse beauty of the napalm strike. The Willis scene made me think about Gillete commercials.

John

Dear John:

I'm sorry, but I don't know what you're referring to regarding this new Bruce Willis film. The oddball POV that got me, many years ago now, was in Oliver Stone's early film "The Hand," where Michael Caine gets his hand chopped off, then rest of the film we keep getting hand POVs as it crawled around. I wanted them to cut back finally and see the hand holding an eyeball.

Josh

Name: SARAH HELLEN
E-mail: HOUOF BEARS

Dear Josh,

Do you know the name of the silent film that I'm
searching for? It is about a villan kidnapping a local
girl and ties her to train tracks. Then the hero fights the villan and saves the girl? Yuors truley
Sarah Hellen age almost 13 years old

Dear Sarah:

I believe the clip you're referring to is from the silent serial "The Perils of Pauline" made in 1914 and starring Pearl White.

Josh


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