does the shutter on a movie camera do? Why would a 170
degree shutter be better than any other one? I'm new
to moviemaking, and I'm talking my dad into getting
me a 16mm camera and we're looking at one with a 170
degree shutter. They are charging a lot more for this,
so I guess it is important.
am 15, but not one of these spoiled brat kids like you
have been talking about. I have been saving my money
and will pay for half of it. I don't even play video
loved Running Time and I hope you make more movies with
Bruce in the future.
shutter opens the film gate to the light coming through
the lens, allowing the film to expose for about a 50th
of a second, then the shutter closes as the film is
clawed past the film gate. If you have the ability to
manipulate the shutter sideways, moving of its 180 degree
film plane (the same plane the film is moving on), you
can change exposures while the film is running. You
can also turn the shutter away from the film plane,
thus letting a small amount of light to leak in, thus
giving you the "Saving Private Ryan," "Band
of Brothers," "Three Kings" effect, where
it's all a bit overexposed and strobing, which I already
think is a cliched, overused effect. Quite frankly,
I think it unnecessary. I guess today is the day for
the bright kids to write in and make my disparaging
remarks about kids look foolish. Keep doing it, I don't
mind. The more bright kids the better.
Cynthia E. Jones
went and saw "The Pianist" the other night.
I found it to be a harrowing experience, something that
continues to haunt me days after having seen it. It's
a movie about Poland in World War II, and there are
no black and white little girls in red coats, or Casper
the Friendly Nazis anywhere to be seen (although there
is one momentary glimpse of humanity toward the end).
It was depressing, disheartening, and moved me to tears
at the thought that evil could be perpetuated for so
long by so many. It's essentially a dialogue-free one-man-show
about survival, and I recommend it if you get a chance.
Adrien Brody's performance is above and beyond what
I've come to expect from modern cinema.
friend at work asked, "Was it bad? Disturbing?
Like 'Schindler's List?'" I said, "This made
'Schindler's List' look like the Spinning Teacups at
Disneyland." It has no Spielberg gloss...it's all
pain. I think movies about war should be disturbing,
since war is disturbing, but I wasn't unhappy that I
saw it. (I was much unhappier when I saw "13 Conversations
about One Thing." Avoid that one.)
for kids today...yeah. If/when I have a kid, he's not
going anywhere near any god damned psychotropic medication,
that's for sure. I'll make him play outside and climb
trees and 'get out of the house' like my mom did when
I was driving her crazy. And no helmets, neither.
"The Pianist" is one of the best films of
2003, and it's a fucking masterpiece compared to "Schindler's
List," but I didn't think it was all that good
of a movie. I think it's missing all of act one, where
we get to know the character before the horror begins,
as well as his family. However, the film begins with
the Nazis attacking, so when his family was taken away
I barely knew who they were, and I certainly didn't
care. I never cared what the Adrien Brody character
was going through, and it was pretty awful, which I
found a testament to poor writing -- that without the
proper set-up it doesn't matter what you put a character
through, it just doesn't matter. By the time it got
to his relationship with the Nazi officer and him hiding
up in the attic, I didn't care at all. I also wish it
had an act three, to see how he dealt with all this
misery. It's a very professionally produced film, but
it should almost be shown to screenwriting classes as
an example of incorrect screenplay structrure. And Adrien
Brody gives it the old collge try, but he's really only
asked to go from Misery Level #1, to Misery Level #2,
to Misery Level #3, etc. and I ultimately found it boring.
But it was absolutely better than "Chicago,"
"About Schmitt" or "The Gangs of New
York" (I haven't yet seen "The Hours").
am an Indian and I am 10 years old. I want to make movies.
I had a couple of doubts.
Do you think the movies might die? You know get replaced
by some other medium like virtual reality or something?
The two-shot is dead isn't it? I mean a mid shot of
two people talking. Nowadays everybody just uses and
over shoulder shot. I don't think any T.V show or movie
uses a two shot. Why do you think this is so?
You said you don't think that Eisenstein is a genius.
I beg to differ. Don't you think he contributed significantly
to cross cutting between an action and another similar
action to show what exactly the original action is like?
You know like he cuts between a man being killed and
an animal being slaugtered. Reading your article I understood
that you have based your whole argument on the fact
the genius is extraordinary intellectual power. That
may be so but it is not all. Genius is also "exceptional
natural ability, tendency or creative power". What
I mean to say is that for the time being if I accept
your opinion that Steven Spielberg is not a genius because
he has not displayed any intellectual merit then what
do you say regarding this defenition from Microsoft
Encarta. Has he not displayed an exceptional natural
ability? Has not David Lean showed exceptional creative
power. Has he not captured the epic scale as well as
the smallest nuance? Lawrence of Arabia is a work of
a genius...and of an artist. A man has to give a lot
of himself to cinema to create something so exceptional.
One more thing. Genius cannot be exhausted because it
is not a quantity. It is a quality. As I said it is
a natural tendency. And anything natural does not get
exhausted. Only its time passes. In India we have a
saying. Geniuses cannot be made they are born. What
I meant to say is that you have implied that it is the
way that makes the man great. That is not true. It is
the man that makes the way great.
in many ways all the filmmakers you mentioned. Kazan,
Lean, Cameron all may be influencing future generations
of directors. How can you say its not happening?
ten years old? Get outta town! I think you're pulling
my leg. I think non-geniuses, a group I'm undoubtedly
amongst, try very hard to quantify genius, like it's
innate, or it's learned. I think it's a combination
of both. I think Elia Kazan and David Lean were top-notch
craftsmen, and achieved artistry in their work, but
I'm saying genius is something above and beyond mere
artistry or craftsmanship. That's what I say, and if
you want to pit me against Microsoft Encarta, then fine,
I'll take 'em on barehanded. The James Cameron reference
I'll just ignore. As for Sergi Eisenstein, I just think
that what he's given credit for was being done regularly
before him by Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin, D.W. Griffith,
Allan Dwan, Raoul Walsh, and many others. Eisenstein
just did it in a much more obvious, pretentious fashion,
which I ultimately find less effective. None of his
films move me, either. Meanwhile, I like two-shots and
I still use them. I agree with you, though, that they
are in less and less use. The reason for this is control.
If you only get a scene in a two-shot you can't cut
it, or cut anything out. With two close-ups or over-the-shoulder
shots you can create your own rhythm in the editing
room, speed things up, and lose what you don't like.
As for movies dying, I don't think so. Whether they
continue to be recorded on celluloid 35mm motion picture
film is doubtful, but they'll continue to be made. Humans
love the narrative form, and love losing themselves
in stories, and that won't change. Thanks for the interesting
for the answer. Sorry to assume that you were an only
child, but you are the only boy such as myself. I can
helmet story is funny. I remember growing up, I was
an adventurous kid like most boys. I still am. I enjoyed
climbing trees and all the cool stuff you do when you
are a boy. It allowed me to appreciate nature far greater
than kids today and I am much better off for that.
get me wrong, I believe that many kids have weight problems
and are consumed by amusement , however, living in New
York, I come across many kids who are pretty sharp and
some of those kids come from lower middle class families.
kids have to be sharp, since their margin for fucking
up is far greater than that of a kid who is handed everything
and "coddled" to in their life.
for the smoking thing, I agree that smokers are being
discriminated against and it is not fair. I think these
laws are unconstitutional.
has the right to choose their own life. My father is
59 and he has smoked since he was 16. When was I younger
I never thought he would not live into his 40's. He
is still hanging in there, although he is not the healthiest
guy in the world and he has had the smoker's cough for
as long as I can remember.
tried to quit a couple times, but he could not do it,
however, my mother quit cold turkey about 15 years ago
and never looked back.
for me, I mentioned earlier that I don't smoke, but
I have a few friends that smoke, some on a social basis
and some everyday.
of my friends back home in Michigan has smoked a lot
for about 18 years and he had a mild heart attack at
the age of 37 last year. He is a big guy , but not overweight.
It was a wake up call to him and he quit in one week
and started running and exercising everyday.
am fortunate that I never have had the craving for smoking.
I tried pot three times and it was fun the 3rd time,
but I don't really care for it.
a few of my friends also smoke pot and even that I am
not a smoker, I believe that the fight against legalizing
it is just plain stupid, although, if it were legal,
then maybe there would be other problems. What do you
think the problem with the US is that we have so many
double standards and the idea that we are our free is
believe that all drugs should be legalized. The problem
would be that it would clean out at least 33% of the
prisons and create unemployment for the prison staffs,
and God knows we wouldn't want to do that. This country
is rife with double-standards and hypocrisy. We are
"the land of the free," but we have more people
incarcerated than any other country in the world. We
attacked Iraq the first time for invading a "sovereign"
country, but that's just what we did now. We say things
like "we don't target heads of state," but
that's in fact been our foreign policy for fifty years.
The U.S. government tried to assassinate Fidel Castro
a half dozen times, and did assassinate the head of
Chile's army, Rene Schneider, (and ultimately killed
the president, Allende, too), as well as bringing down
the governments of Iran, Guatemala and many other countries.
We bombed the living hell out of Cambodia for years,
even though we weren't at war with them and Nixon never
got Congress's approval -- not that they approved this
last war, either. But Congress did all get together
recently and sing "God Bless America" and
wave around little flags. And how about those government-sponsored
commercials saying "Drugs support terrorism"?
Is it important that our government spend our tax money
on commercials that are blatant lies. If I bag a bag
of weed from a guy in Detroit who grew it in his basement,
how do the terrorists get any of that money? Of course,
the U.S. doing business with Saudi Arabia certainly
supports terrorism, but hey, that's business.
little addition to all this talk of protecting the children.
I graduated high school in 2000 and just came back to
my home town after dropping out of college. I drove
by my old elementary school and noticed that all the
playground equipment from when I was a kid has been
removed. The slides, the jungle gym, the merry-go-round,
and a huge slide. All this has been replaced by a plastic
play-school looking thing. The ironic thing was, we
only had one major accident on that equipment that I
can think of, when a classmate of mine fell off the
slide and landed on his head. (he walked away from it)
Most of the injuries during recess were when some poor
kid got trampled playing soccer or football.
They also removed the sand and replaced it with old
rubber tire shreddings, which they thought would be
safer. I was told that after the first summer all that
rubber sort of fused together into a weird, hard matting.
I was talking to my friend about the playground equipment,
he asked me where all the honor students were. You'd
think there would have been enough of them to keep this
world in order. That turned out to be really ironic,
because now at my current job, night stocking at a grocery
store, I work with the valedictorian of my high school
class, who has also recently dropped out of college.
also say, in response to the kid's parents who said
he wasn't being challenged, I wasn't really chalenged
in school either, because now school has to be dumbed
down and repeated for the dumbest, or least caring,
child. I got all B's and A's in high school because
I would read ahead in class and then not pay attention
for weeks, until the teacher began the chapter reviews,
when she would blatantly tell us what questions were
going to be on the test. Some kids still failed, and
I have no idea how. Then, of course, the kid's parents
would blame the teacher, which started the dumbing down
in the first place.
a sad, sad world.
whatever it's worth, me, Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell
all dropped out of college. Sam's probably making more
money now than the entire graduating class of your college
will ever make. Of course, college doesn't get anyone
into the film business, if that's where you want to
go. You write pretty well, maybe you should follow up
on it. Good luck.
don't expect you to remember me as I appear to be about
1 or 100 or so people who have asked you how to get
a copy of Lunatics recently. Anyway, I finally got a
beat up copy from Ebay (amazing how a few static bars
and a cut case can scare bidders away) at a reasonable
price. I don't have whatever channel Sony has pimped
your film out to, so this was my best bet. I just wanted
to say I highly enjoyed the film. I work with individuals
with psychiatric disabilities and thought you did a
great job portraying Ted and Deborah's issues. Typically
films use such disabilities as nothing but the butt
of mindless jokes. I thought your film created characters
with dignity, not just stereotypes. Sure, some of the
situations were funny, and rightly so. If we didn't
laugh at the ridiculousness of our problems sometimes,
we'd all be very miserable people. Two other compliments
to share. I thought this was the best performance Deb
Foreman has done to date. I noticed she appears to be
semi-retired since this film and that is a real shame.
Also, I thought the stop motion effects were very good.
Sadly, you don't see those much today in an age where
everything is computerized. Thanks for the experience
and keep the films rolling.
for going to the trouble of getting the film, and I'm
glad you enjoyed it. I agree that stop-motion effects
are more fun than digital effects -- they still retain
movie magic, whereas digital effects, at least to me,
don't seem particularly magical. I also used an effect
in "Lunatics" that hasn't been used in many
years, which is projecting a miniature stop-motion creature
on a rear-screen and having the live-action character
in front of it. This technique was used a lot in "King
Kong" and "Mighty Joe Young," but not
much since then. I also agree that Debbie Foreman was
quite good in the film, and very attractive. I saw a
photo of her in a recent DGA Magazine where she attended
a reunion of the "Valley Girl" cast (excluding
Nicholas Cage. Martha Coolidge, the director, is now
the president of the Director's Guild), and she looked
the smoking bans, you'd be surprised to know that there
are quite a few smokers that support those laws. It
would be one thing if your assessment were true and
smoking bans are a product of mob rule. The reality
is worse. People don't want to take responsibility for
themselves, they want Big Brother to tell them to quit
smoking. Anti-smokers take advantage of this. The assinine
part is that NO ONE considers these bans an issue of
rights or personal freedoms. I don't smoke, I hate smoke,
but what I hate worse is a Law that outlaws smoking
in a private establishment, "for the good of my
To the topic of film. You have listed MASH as a favorite
movie. I love this one too and I bought the dvd w/ director's
commentary a while back. One thing is interesting is
that there seems to be not one plot. Robert Altman even
admits that the PA voiceovers were an afterthought during
post-production because of the lack of cohesion.
My question is; do you agree there is no single story
in MASH? Is it evidence of a lack in structure? Or is
it structured storytelling in another form?
it's a lack of structure and focus in the story. This
is a film I liked far better when it opened than I do
now, but I still respect it's attitude and the way it
kind of moved cinema in a different direction, albeit
not a great direction. But every time that story veers
off into a new one, like it goes into the long sub-plot
of Painless dying, which isn't very interesting, or
the entire third act, which is a comedy football game,
I think it's failing at being a really good film. Altman
was doing kind of interesting stuff for a short time,
but I don't really think much of it holds up, nor do
I think he's a great filmmaker by any means.
not often you get box office golden letters dropped
in your lap like this. Help me out. 99/9 of films suck
today because Gen-X gets off on dreck. So it shouldn't
matter that I'm a former adult actor. No Boogie Nights
stereotype, I was first published as a writer when I
was 21, have done voiceovers and could probably do a
better Sinatra than the soundalike in LUNATICS. Back
in the mid 90s, I had a sports film treatment almost
ripped off by a major studio. But that's a long story
we don't have time to get into. In the late 90s I married
into a nice Jewish family related to The 3 Stooges with
8 brothers who fought the Nazis in WW2. Also no joke,
true story. I have a script I'm working on called the
Yenta &the Porn Star. Since this site is the property
of BeckerFilms, you could easily rip me off. But do
it the right way and hire me as a writer so we can win
an Oscar together.
you need any writers, my life story reads like Forest
Gump minus the dumb luck. It gets even juicier. And
I can list more things here that would simply blow you
away. Indeed, my life reads like a screenplay waiting
to be ripped off. Help me write it instead...
Studio City, CA
don't want your idea. I have plenty of my own I can't
get made. And if you're frightened of people stealing
your idea, don't tell it to anyone. You may or may not
have noticed that I have twenty of my screenplays posted
on this site, as well as many treatments and stories.
My plate is full story and idea-wise. My plate is empty
financing-wise, though. Every non-writer out there thinks
their life is a great story and worthy of an Oscar,
which of course is utter nonsense. As Laurence Olivier
so aptly put it, "You think you're an artist, prove
it." So, did you marry in the Maurer family, the
Horowitz family, or the Fine family?
have to check out doc-day, assuming it is on Bravo (no
sundance channel on our NJ comcast). Its sadly the case
that docs are the smartest movies made anymore. I'm
not a huge fan of documentaries and would take a great
fiction film over them any day, but what are you gonna
do. unfortunately, the local video stores have a small
selection so I'll have to look for these on tv. Last
time I checked the doc section at West Coast I remember
seeing a couple Michael Moore's, something about breasts,
and a bio of Bruce Vilanch. There are many great docs
being made but very few get decent distribution.
regarding this neverending discussion of bad
fiction films, I think it has more to do with everyone's
disatisfaction with the culture in general. It seems
kind of small-minded to bitch about bad movies all the
time, but they are just a representation of the blandness
in our entire society. At least, that makes me feel
better about my bitching. What disturbs me the most
is how "adults" will go out of their way to
defend most of the movies that come out. I read a review
by one critic that compared comic book movies to "impressionist"
paintings in the sense that they are just a different
style of great art. If the Michael Bay and Brian Singer
are the Monet and Picasso of the movie world then I
honestly give up.
it's part of the dumbass argument I've heard many times
that movies have moved to "a new place." That
place is called the shit-hole. I've got news for everybody,
the dramatic storytelling form is over 2500 years old
and isn't going anywhere. Movies, plays, TV, radio shows,
it's all the same thing -- tell me a story I'm interested
in, that I care about -- and the techniques to do that
haven't changed at all. I know this particularly aggravates
some people, but nevertheless, I've sat in front of
a typewriter, computer, and a pad of paper for over
thirty years working on and thinking about stories.
When I encounter bad writing, as I do in almost everything
these days, it sticks out like a big sore thumb to me,
and I know exactly where the writer is in their learning
curve, because I've been there. Movies are not in a
new place, they're in a very thoughtless place.
the most part, I agree with you and Jean; We're making
the world (of our kids) too safe for democracy. Parks
don't even have merry-go-'rounds anymore. We used to
spend hours trying to spin one another off of those
things. Now, nobody wants to face the legal liability
should someone happen to fall down. Even swingsets suck
these days. Growing up you could always find those twenty-foot
tall suckers. My brother broke his arm jumping off one
of those things, something he remembers with pride.
Now the swings are eight-feet high and have half a forest's
worth of mulch under them.
having been said, I know a surprising number of good,
active, well-adjusted kids. I play basketball six or
seven times a week and often with college-aged kids.
I realize that that isn't exactly a representative demographic,
but it gives me hope for the future.
I am a non-smoker and will do what I can to prevent
my kids from smoking, but I oppose the sorts of public-smoking
bans that are so prevelant these days. When I go to
a restaurant they ask me my preference, smoking or non,
and that seems reasonable to ne. Certainly bars should
have the right to decide for themselves how they're
going to handle smoking. Bars are about ambiance; people
can drink at home if all they want to do is drink. It
strikes me that the smoking-non-smoking option works
pretty well. These total bans are about a handful of
nosy people wanting to feel important.
haven't yet seen "A Mighty Wind" but I had
some thoughts about your comments to me earlier. If
you recall, you said that "Spinal Tap" was
a satire of a living movement while "Wind"
is a satire of a movement which no longer has relevent
life. I watched an interview with Levy on one of the
late-night shows, Leno I think, and he implied that
part of what they were satiring was his generation's
claim to a moral, social conscience superior to any
other generation's. I know your knowledge of the folk
movement is deeper than most. I feel that in the mid
to late sixties the folk movement reached a peak of
fashionability, even while the movement itself was speeding
to irrelevence. Ostentation is always a sound subject
might seem obvious but I just want to say how much I
really appreciate this forum. If the movies could address
issues as honestly and critically as happens here our
discussions would be in a vastly different vein. Your
list of movies from the year prior to "Star Wars"
was just a brilliant illustration of movies' decline
and should be included with every motion picture camera
sold or rented.
Mighty Wind" could be good, although we've already
heard otherwise. They certainly are funny people. But
a reunion of a folk band just seems incredibly irrelevant.
Ultimately, I have great faith in the motion picture
medium, and I honestly do believe that films will get
better, and possibly even better than they've ever been.
I'm just trying to keep a standard alive because I think
someone has to. Everybody else has fallen beneath the
wheel, thrown their hands in the air, and just accepts
low-quality films. I won't do that. This may make me
sound like an old fogey stick-in-the-mud, but so be
it. Until people begin again to really put an effort
into the films they're making, they'll continue to suck.
My rant against rap is another side of my rant against
modern movies -- they're both shallow and unsophisticated.
Music and movies can both handle as deep a level of
thinking as anyone can put them to, they're just not
trying. I still believe this is all due to sheer laziness.
Why struggle to come up with a new melody when you can
just use a rap beat and not have to put in any effort?
Why not attempt to take motion pictures to a new, deeper,
more meaningful place, as opposed to just getting out
there and winging it? It's about effort and serious
thought, and somebody has to promote these ideas. Since
no one else will, I choose me.
hear you about this generation of kids. A friend of
mine is a 4th grade teacher in San Diego and she has
plenty of gripes about the kids in her class. The most
disturbing one being that there is an increasing amount
of over-weight children in her school. She said that
it's because they go home after school and sit on their
asses playing video games for hours. When she takes
the kids outside for recess the inactive kids sit in
a circle and play this card game called Magic. She has
tried several times to get her entire class to participate
in soccer games during recess but she said most of them
just whine about being too tired to play. Furthermore,
she said that whenever a kid has a behavior problem
the parents blame it on A.D.D and say that she is not
properly challenging their child in the classroom. Whatever
that means. It's a shame because she is very passionate
about teaching but she is burning out at a pretty fast
rate. My theory is that parents pander to their kids
these days to a point where it arrests their development.
My parents always treated my brother and I like intelligent
people even when we were kids but we always knew who
was in charge. When we would fuck up and our parents
would discipline us it had an impact on our character
because my parents knew that we knew better. There were
no excuses and we always had to take responsibility
for what we had done. It's like no one wants to be pissed
off at their kids because it may hurt their feelings.
And don't let the kids out of the house without helmets
and knee pads because, God forbid, they may get hurt
playing outside! I guess we have a generation of pussies
to look forward to.
think so. My friend who has three kids just made the
same observation about the helmets. All these kids all
running around with geeky-looking helmets because their
parents are all mortified they might fall boom boom
and hurt themselves. Jesus! My sister's 12-year-old
son won't do any physical activities (and he's overweight)
because they're either "too jumpy," "too
runny," or "too sweaty." As you say,
it's the Pussy-Generation coming up.
a non-smoker living in NYC, I agree with you that bar
owners should be allowed to make their own decsions
when it comes to the smoking law.
bar is a place to drink and smoke if one desires and
I think any intelligent person understands this. I don't
think this law will last to long here in NYC when it
comes to the bars, but I do agree that is practical
in a restaurant to give people an option.
I criticize many smokers for being a little selfish
when it comes to smoking around others and I don't think
this has a lot to do with me wanting an antiseptic world,
it has more to do with manners and respect for others.
think it is polite when someone asks "do you mind
if I smoke?" Instead of assuming that the smoke
from their smoking will not bother people.
think your attitude towards this is too far one way,
but you are a smoker, so you have vested interest in
that, but I still feel there is a middle ground there.
me, smoking is a habit much like drinking and that is
fine if you are the only one that is being effected
by it, however, like drinking, smoking can have negative
effects others too, so I think that a smoker should
be responsible for the backlash if they assume they
are the only people on earth who will consume their
for children being "coddled" as you say, well
two of my sisters have children and I was around children
a great deal when I was a teenager, since my mother
ran day care from our home.
find that people raise their kids in different ways
and not all children are spoiled, video game and entertainment
kids are smarter about life than you think, and how
much experience have you had around children? I have
a feeling that you may be an only child by your reactions
to many things on this site, but I might be wrong.
volunteer with kids here in NYC and I see a variety
of different attitudes and educational backgrounds,
and it is as it always has been with children, some
are going to get it and some won't but all one can do
is try and educate them about the world.
act as being a sensitive child in this world is wrong
and I don't belive that at all. The world is tough yes,
and I think it is up to the adults of the world to show
kids how to handle life, but that can be difficult when
many adults don't know how to do it themselves, however,
it is easy to be an armchair parent when you have never
also believe that giving kids the benefit of the doubt
sometimes will really surprise you.
just finished watching "The Candidate" last
night and the thing I realize is that society has been
dealing with the same issues for centuries and things
really don't change that much when it comes down to
it. It is just like a different outfit with the same
has always struggled in the world. Van Gogh was a recluse
and Da Vinci intergrated into the world and was successful.
These are examples of two wonderful artists who followed
art truly reflects life then it follows the same patterns
as life. It is cyclic, meaning there will be times of
greatness and times of slump. I still feel we will see
more times of greatness just not in the way it was 20
or 30 years ago, since that already happened.
one of three children. I have two sisters, one older,
one younger. The children I know are the children of
my friends, some of whom have kids in their twenties.
My observations are just from my own, single, middle-aged,
curmudgeonly point of view. And as for being a smoker,
and having spent an enormous amount of time in non-smoking
places, like L.A., then Oregon, I haven't been allowed
to be to be impolite about smoking in a very long time.
The fact that I can once again smoke in bars and restaurants
here in Michigan seems like a tremendous freedom and
luxury, and I'm just sorry for the New York smokers
who have just been marginalized and had some of their
rights removed. I think it sucks.
is everything going? Anything new on your plate? I don't
really have anything to talk about. I have not been
to see a movie in months. I'm embarrassed to say that
the last flick that I saw in the theater was "Bringing
Down the House". I had to see it for work purposes
and I had a miserable time even though I was stoned
out of my gourd! That's how much it sucked. It was so
sad to see Steve Martin in such a horrible piece of
shit. I was totally depressed after the screening. My
parents got a DVD player a few months ago and my Dad
said that he now has absolutely no reason to see movies
in the theater anymore. Can't say I blame him.
bars in NYC are now smoke-free. What the fuck!?
it's horrible. The fucking asshole non-smokers are forcing
us all to live in an antiseptic world, where we'll all
eventually be wearing face masks and rubber gloves.
I think it's so unconstitutional to not allow bar-owners
to make up their own minds about smoking that it makes
me sick. It's one more aspect of this child-oriented
world we're living in that I can't stand. "But
what about the children?" Fuck them! It's a tough
world and you'd better start getting used to it young.
Kids are so fucking coddled now it's ridiculous. 12-year-olds
act like 6-year-olds. If things are bad now, you just
wait until these kids take over; they're all immature,
amusement-junkies that can't form a cohesive thought.
from the UP of Mich...
saw "Lunatics: A Love Story" on IFC and thought
it was terrific. I wish you good fortune with your future
an Upper, eh? I'm glad you enjoyed it, but it wasn't
on IFC, it was on Starz. "Running Time" will
be starting on IFC soon, though. And just as correction,
all of these top-notch documentaries I've been watching
have been on The Sundance Channel, not IFC. Independent
documentaries are SO much better than indie fiction
films it's a joke. The documentary form is flourishing,
while all the rest goes swirling down the crapper.
Anyways I thought that episode was great sorry u didnt
think it turned out all that great.
here's what I was wondering. When u wrote that ep for
Herc did u have that arrow scene in there? Like when
they took it out? Or was that something u added for
don't even remember an arrow scene. I barely remember
that episode, which I wrote in 1995, eight years ago.
When I was recently being interviewed for the Xena DVD
release, I couldn't remember what that first episode
of Xena I directed was about to save my life. Luckily,
a girl on the crew had seen it and remembered the plot,
otherwise I'd have been completely stuck. The plots
of those shows don't stand out in my mind at all. I
do recall the ending of that ep being completely botched.
The little girl hasn't been able to speak since her
mother was killed. When Xena leaves at the end I had
the little girl finally speak saying, "Goodbye,
Xena," and her father smiles and hugs her. The
way it was shot, she says "Goodbye, Xena,"
and her father says, "Not now, we're talking,"
and ignores her. But I'm glad you liked it.
for the response. I'm referring to putting someone in
a movie, and being afraid of getting sued somewhere
down the line. Using union contracts as a basis for
non-union projects sounds like a good idea. At least
they'll cover everything--compensation, model release
(or whatever it's called), and so forth.
religion, I'll say fair enough and leave it at that.
The thought of a religious discussion between you and
me reminds me of that Dr. Suess story about the two
creatures who stood there while a city was built around
think Dr. Seuss is a terrific example, which I kept
flashing on as I watched this recent documentary about
the genocide in Rawanda ("The Last Just Man,"
which was quite good). The Hutus and the Tutsis in Rawanda
can't even tell each other apart except by their ID
cards, but one side felt the need to exterminate over
800,000 of the other side. It's just like "The
Sneetches on the Beaches," where some of the Sneetches
have stars on their bellies, while other don't. Of course,
having a star makes you superior to those without them.
It's also just like the "Star Trek" episode
with Frank Gorshin, where he's an alien that's half
black, half white and fighting another black & white
alien aboard the Enterprise. No one can tell the difference
until they tell us that one is black on the left side,
the other black on the right side. World conflict boiled
down to popular culture references.
I think you might be able to download many of those
union contracts from their various websites.
just saw your answer to my last post, and am responding.
We're in Kuwait now, but a few people brought laptops,
so we're watching the same sort of movies we watched
at Fort Drum. Surprisingly, no one brought THE LONGEST
DAY. Everyone seems to be craving escapism(understandably),
so action movies and contemporary stuff are the order
of the day. To my everlasting shame, I even went down
to the main PX and bought GHOST SHIP on dvd (mainly
'cause that Italian night club singer takes her clothes
off in it). There have been a few high-water marks,
though: we've been watching an episode a night of BAND
OF BROTHERS, for instance.
Oh well, I guess I'm going to have to swear off decent
movies for the next year, just like beer (a no-go in
Muslim countries) and decent food (I literally would
kill right about now for a slice of pizza from Pepe's
in New Haven, or at least a decent dish of baked ziti).
What we have now are the cinematic equivalent of MRE's:
they'll keep you alive, but they're nothing to write
brother Don just returned from eight months in Riyadh,
Saudi Arabia and was able to get beer. The U.S. military
base in Riyadh, BTW, was built by the Bin Laden family.
Well, luckily there's no shooting in Kuwait, so you're
safe for the time being. That's until Operation Syrian
Freedom begins, that is. Good luck to you, and don't
go crazy watching bad movies. Of course, that's what
we're stuck with here, too, so we all commiserate.
don't suppose people were as litigious back when you
started filmmaking, and now, you probably have legal
considerations up the wazoo, but what are the basic
safeguards for a low budget filmmaker? Are there any
online sources for forms that you know of?
in regard to Jim's comment, I realize that many priests
in the post-1970 Catholic church have brought much scandal
into the issue, but it's unfortunate that "priests
are bad" is now lumped in with all of the other
universally bad things when there's a large group of
traditional-minded priests who are what priests should
not sure what you're asking. You need to have contracts
with the people you hire, and if you're working with
union people then you use the union contracts, like
SAG, DGA or WGA. If it's non-union then you make up
your own contracts, or have a lawyer do it for you.
You can also use union contracts as the basis for non-union
contracts. What are you specifically referring to?
since I truly believe that all fundamentalists of every
religion are evil, and anyone that goes into the clery
is undoubtedly a fundamentalist, then there are only
bad clergy people. Beneath their kindly exteriors lies
evil dogma meant to make the world a worse place, to
make their religion or denomination look good, and all
other religions and demoninations look bad.
Josh, did your site become talk for rap(or should I
say crap)..Haha.. Just kidding. But anyways, I enjoyed
watching Running Time when I got it back in '99. It's
one of my favorite movies... And yea, I wouldn't want
you to jinx on making a movie with Bruce. Good Luck
with that if that happens...
BTW, have you ever watched Xanadu? I picked that up
the other day. I haven't seen that since '82 when I
was like...6.. But it brought me back memories when
thing were better in the old days. Why does movie's
today have to suck so bad like music. Well anyway's,
take care Josh.
Good God that was a miserable picture. The only thing
good about it was that they shot at the Pan Pacific
Auditorium, a cool art-deco auditorium in LA that was
torn down soon after the film was shot, because God
forbid there should be any cool old buildings left in
LA. I personally don't look at the 1980s as the good
old days in the movies. They were probably better than
the '90s, but that's not saying much. Look at the year
immediately before "Star Wars" ruined the
film business, 1976. The nominees for Best Picture were:
"All the President's Men," "Bound for
Glory," "Network," "Rocky"
and "Taxi Driver." Also released that year
were: "Carrie" (the best Stephen King film
adaptation), "Face to Face," "Marathon
Man," "Seven Beauties," "The Front,"
"The Shootist," "Silver Streak,"
"The Omen," "The Outlaw Josey Wales,"
"The Pink Panther Strikes Again" (arguably
the best "Pink Panther" film), "Harlan
County, U.S.A.," "Black and White in Color,"
"The Wild Party," "The Tenant,"
"Small Change," "Robin and Marion,"
"The Man Who Fell to Earth," "The Last
Tycoon," "The Bad News Bears." And it's
not like anyone at the time thought it was a particularly
good year for film, but there were probably more good
and great film that year than all of the 1990s. It's
a sad, pathetic state we're presently in.
am aware that Vonnegut is still alive and well. Actually,
I was out in the Hamptons in the winter staying at someone's
summer home (Don't ask, I hate the Hamptons, but it
is nice to be there off season), and there is a local
arts and literary publication from there which had an
interesting article with Vonnegut and the author Robert
A. Caro who had written an entire series of books on
the life of Lyndon B. Johnson which consumed most of
article consisted of them interviewing each other and
the difference in their work and their subject matter
while relaxing at Vonegut's home in the Hamptons. It
was a great article and you really get and interesting
view of the differences in their works and lives as
writers in a very relaxed dialogue.
regards to George Roy Hill's film version of "Slaughterhouse
Five", yes I have seen it and yes I agree it is
a fantastic film version of the book. I had seen the
film for the first time back in 1989 at college. That
book, film and "Welcome to the Monkey House"
was where I started getting into him.
think Vonnegut has a knack for making "Science
Fiction" much more believable then any other. Actually,
when I have read his books, I never, they never feel
like science fiction because he writes in a somewhat
lighthearted way about seroius subjects with regards
to the human condition.
alive, but I think he's every bit as frustrated with
society now as I am. A big part of "Timequake"
is about the fact that people don't seem to give a crap
about reading books anymore. He says that when he was
young writing really had meaning, and people cared about
it and discussed it. Now no one gives a damn. This too
shall change, but it's difficult getting through it.
Another pretty good Vonnegut-to-film adaptation is Mark
Robson's "Happy Birthday, Wanda June," which
is rather stage-bound as a film, but catches the right
tone and is very well-cast, with Rod Steiger, Don Murray,
and William Hickey. It's definitely worth seeing, particularly
in light of how badly filmmakers have screwed his stuff
up since then.
was listening to the commentary for Three Kings the
other day and one of the producers made an interesting
point. He basically said that the studios nowadays commonly
reject scripts that are not part of their short list
of "commercial" genres. As in, a "political"
film, or a satire. I don't recall the whole list, but
it amused me because these were all the genres that
I miss seeing at the movies. How long has it been since
a real political film was made by the studios? I thought
Three Kings was pretty much a mess, but it did have
a few good ideas and had the balls to be slightly ambiguous.
Its funny to me how the "smartest" Hollywood
films these days do nothing but state the obvious: slavery
is bad, the holocaust was bad, priests are bad, drugs
are bad, homophobes are bad. Its these softballs down
the middle that drive me nuts because they add nothing
new to the conversation. They simply tell us what we
already know and act like that's enough. Unfortunately,
I don't see much coming from the independent filmmakers
either. Everything feels very test-marketed to me, like
the filmmakers wrote the script with box office always
in the back of their mind. I look at a film like Hammer
and it feels like an original to me. I like it when
a film gives me a unique perspective on something that
I don't know much about. It feels like I know exactly
what to expect before I see a movie these days. Everything
feels so couched in commercial safeness, political correctness,
whatever you want to call it. I feel redundant because
I've made these comments a million times before, but
it was just frustrating to hear from a Hollywood producer
how the studios will just immediately reject a script,
no matter how great it is, simply because it fits into
an "uncommercial" genre.
very frustrating, I agree. If this forum is nothing
else, it's a place to bitch about this subject, because
it needs bitching about. With each passing year the
list of "commercial" genres shrinks, until
all that will remain are films based on comic books
with a $100 million worth of special effects. "Three
Kings" could have been an interesting film, but
I think it used up its welcome within about five minutes.
As a little note, the lead Iraqi character that shows
them around for most of the film is Cliff Curtis, who's
actually Maori from New Zealand and played the centaur
in the Hercules films and show. He's a terrific actor,
and I shot all of the original centaur effects with
him. As Walter Burley Griffen said in the documentary
"City of Dreams," which I saw last night,
to be an artist you are forced into either being a parasite,
a panderer, or a recluse. I've ended up as the last,
but most folks fall prey to the second, they all become
panderers, which sums up all of Hollywood. And if you
really want to get ahead there, then you must become
both a panderer and a parasite. Original, provocative
ideas do not come from pandering parasites. Meanwhile,
I saw three good documentaries last night on IFC (Mondays
are now "Docdays" on IFC, but I think they
should show them all the time, they're much better than
the fiction films). I saw: "Shalom Y'all,"
about Jews in the south, which was very interesting
and well-made, though it owes a lot to Ross McElwee
and "Sherman's March;" "My Friend Paul,"
also a personal, first-person documentary about a guy
from Long Island and his one fuck-up friend that ended
up in jail; and "City of Dreams," an Australian
film about an American couple, Marion Mahoney and Walter
Burley Griffen, who were architects in the beginning
of the 20th century who started off working for Frank
Lloyd Wright, then moved to Australia to design the
capitol city, Canaberra, which was a beautiful, thoughtful
design that ultimately got changed for no good reason.
Perhaps because documentaries are so much cheaper they
can still be made with intelligence and quality.
have laid this rap thing to rest and I won't mention
it again on your site, since I agree that we spent far
too much time discussing it.
loved that book by Kurt Vonegut, in fact, he is one
of my favorite writers ever. I also know where you are
coming from when you talk of working again with Sam
and Bruce again.
years before I moved to New York, I also had a close
knit group of friends and we made quite a few films
together, and sadly we all live in different places
now and everyone is doing something in the industry,
but we all miss making films together. Someday soon
I think we will get together make another one. I miss
it. Actually, I miss shooting as a DP. As you know,
I am an editor by trade.
were some of the best times of my life and we all miss
it, but I know what you mean by things "getting
serious". We all have paying jobs, but the beauty
of those days was that we were not making it for money,
we were making it to create and we were having a blast
even if we did get on each others nerves from time to
time. We challenged each other and had fun doing it
and that is something that is surely lacking with filmmaking
and music when you set out to make it for the money.
a different note, I went to see "A Mighty Wind"
over the weekend and it wasn't that bad, but I agree
with you that that group has run out of ideas. The best
part of the film was Eugene Levy's and Catherine O'hara's
characters and relationship. Also Fred Willard was pretty
funny in the film too.
you haven't yet read Vonnegut's final novel -- he said
he wasn't writing anymore, not that he's died -- "Timequake,"
I thought it was pretty good, and his best novel in
about twenty years. It's a real shame what they did
to "Mother Night" and "Breakfast of Champions."
Have you watched George Roy Hill's brilliant version
of "Slaughterhouse-Five" lately? It really
for making such a scene with this rap thing, but I agree
with you about the state of the arts and people's interests
in life now. It is quite depressing to me. I feel as
if Entertainment is becoming what we consider reality
and the lines are very thin there.
one is for "The Abominable". I have listened
to rap and I don't hate all of it like Josh, in fact,
I quite liked "Public Enemy" and I enjoyed
some of the "Beastie Boys" more developed
songs, however, they play their own instruments, so
I would consider them musicians. As for "Blackalicious"
and "The Roots", I have also listened to both
of these groups, since my roomate is really into "The
Roots". I had actually seen the rapper "Rahzel
the Godfather of Noyze" live here in NYC. He opened
for a great Canadian band called "The New Deal"
which had nothing to do with Rap, but they were fantastic
for a three piece band.
I could get through two of his songs even with his impressive
gimmick of imitating beats with his mouth and singing
over them at the same time. It was fun and it was like
watching a circus act, however, the technique could
not sustain my attention for more than two songs and
that is the same way I feel about the Roots album as
a whole. Actually, I made it through half the album
only because the band plays their own instruments and
the bass player is excellent. Though, the lyrics are
stupid and I agree with Josh on the so called poetry
in Rap music.
as for "Blackalicious" doing a song with Gil-Scott
Heron, well I have heard that too and it is not bad,
but again, I could not get through the whole album and
the best song on the album is by far the song with Gil-Scott
Heron because he is a poet.
I believe is that Rap music is substantial for single
releases, however, it can never sustain a whole album's
worth of listening and if it remains a popular form
of music, this is all it can offer in my opinion, since
this is all it could ever offer. Most Rap is crap.
is unworthy of as much space and thought as we've given
it here. It's a refuge for the untalented, which is
what movies have become, too. What's scary is that there
are talented musicians and filmmakers around, but unless
they give up their individuality and work in the "money"
forms, they don't work at all. Art is now entirely about
money and nothing else. It reminds me of Kurt Vonnegut's
story "Harrison Bergeron," where in the future
everyone must be equal. If you're a great dancer then
you must wear sandbags around your waist so you're not
lighter on your feet than anyone else, and if you're
too smart you have to waer a hearing aid that gives
a a shrill, high-pitched beep every few seconds so you
can't form thoughts. We've arrived at that future and
we've handicapped ourselves without sandbags and beepers.
do y'all always use Eminem and P Diddy as examples?
That really shows me you haven't been exposed to any
of the rap artists I mentioned. It would be the same
as if I came here dissed rock using Limp Bizkit as an
example...Y'all would be like what the hell is this
guy saying, he doesn't know ish, and you would call
me ignorant. Anyways, I never claimed rap is better
than rock, in my opinion they aren't comparable. As
far as no rappers not being able to read or write music,
that's not true. The Roots are a band. Mos Def can play
and write music, so can Pharrell Williams. But I never
see any rappers claim to be muscicians or whatever.
For real if the only rap you know is P. Diddy and Eminem,
I see why you can call it stupid and unintelligent but
listen to a Common or Blacklicious album and you will
see it's not what you say it is. My friend, the one
who showed me this site, used to say the exact same
thing about rap until I told him to check out certain
acts, and now he doesn't think it's so stupid anymore.
and this is a verse from Slug(Atmosphere)...
wrapped, placed in neat little rows
Becoming A piece, of everything that grows
Some numbers, A name, to indicate you played the game
Came empty handed and left the same
A soul is A soul and A shell is A shell
The border in between is full of everything you felt
Some cling to A cross because they're tired and lost
They leave it up to the weather to measure the cost
And everytime I look within I recognize the darkness
Familiar to the image of the artist
Staring at the bathroom mirror in A strangers apartment
Can't remember her name, don't remember how I got here
But here I am, thinking about death again
Humbles out the stress, helps the breath get in
I need to check my friends as well as my next of kin
To let them know I love them all to the end
And when the soul begins to reap, I think she'll know
me from the sleep
I keep caught in the corner of my bloodshot eyes
And if she has the nerve, to let me dump a few last
I'm gonna turn to the earth and scream "Love your
Love your life, quite cliche but I guess thats me
A ball of pop culture with some arms and feet
As discrete as I've tried to keep the drama and cancer
It's no secret I hunger for someone to feed the answers
I never expected a bowl of cherries
I'm just a virgo trying to find my own version of the
And when I let them carry me to a cemetary
I wanna be buried with a pocket full of clarity"
Emminem and P. Diddy as examples wasn't difficult to
arrive at, they're the biggest in the field. And if
that's your idea of good rap lyrics, you can have them.
It's like half-assed high school poetry. Rap is so ridiculously
unsophisticated it gives me a pain. Since I am unconvincable
on the subject, perhaps we should drop it.
Oh and this is for Scott,
has progressed, a whole lot...I already explained myself
in a previous post. And you if you like Gil-Scott Heron
I suggest you check out the Blackalicious song "First
in Flight" which he features in and check out the
Train of Thought album by Reflection Eternal, he has
a little skit on there saying he urges everyone to get
a ticket and hop on the train of thought. He doesn't
seem to find rap so stupid...
I don't give a crap what he thinks. And I won't check
out anything regarding rap. I don't have to be reasonable
about it, nor do I intend to be. Every rap song I've
heard for twenty years has been shit and I won't give
the form any more chances. I hate it, and neither you
nor anyone else can convince me otherwise. Shit, my
friend, is shit and it will never be anything but shit.
In the history of music, rap won't even be a footnote.
was just wondering, how does one go about trying to
pitch an idea for a show to a network. Would you have
to have an agent? Obviously not just anybody can go
in and make an appointment..or can they? It seems that
way with all the shitty shows on tv now, but its like
you said that entertainment is in an artistic slum (i
know I'm not quoting it right). Anyways hope your holiday
weekend goes well.
don't just pitch an idea for a show. You have to have
the script for the pilot episode, as well as several
other episodes, a detailed list of the plots of many
of the other episodes in the first season, a "bible"
that states all of the rules and regulations of the
show, and you need an agent to get you in.
you know I am an avid listener of music and I am an
ok guitar player and a pretty good drummer. Recently
I have been reading the posts about rap music and I
have some comments.
music used to be a very subculture thing in music and
it did originate from the inner city streets. I live
in NYC, so I can understand where this music comes from,
however, I do not like it myself. I feel that it is
an artform and it is an expression which one cannot
problem that I have with most rap music is that much
of it consists of tearing down other rappers or artists
instead of just being fun or making some intelligent
statements. Much of the more aggressive stuff revolves
around complaining about life and talking about how
much better the rapper is from everyone else.
course there is some good old fashion sex themes and
a great deal aggressive language to get the point across,
but what you find is that there really is no point.
I think this is where I agree with you that it is "lunkheaded"
and boring to me.
of us have struggles in life and some of us are luckier
than others, but to turn to ignorance and just bad lyrics
to express your inner turmoil is boring and I feel there
are more constructive ways to get your message across.
Rap artists are not musicians and anyone who would like
to argue that point with me can go ahead, but only a
few could actually compose a song without sampling someone
elses popular riff
have great producers who can assemble rhythms and samples
for them to rap over, but that is the extent of musical
knowldege that is required for becoming a Rapper.
think the most appalling thing to me is when watching
something like the MTV music awards and hearing how
unintelligent most rappers are when they actually speak
to an audience it is embarrasing.
proves how little it takes to rhyme a bunch of phrases
and have the masses buy it.
"Eminem" is from near my hometown and quite
frankly, I don't really care to hear how much he hates
this and hates that and how much better he is than other
rappers blah, blah, blah... I 've been there too dude,
stop crying and lighten up. life is too short!
also worked in a CD shop for quite a longtime when I
was younger and it would make me laugh when I would
hear white suburban kids trying to talk like they were
from the Bronx or Brooklyn. It is pathetic.
was so taken back by this kid one day that I said to
him " Look in the mirror kid, you are a white middle
class suburban kid" get over it, but I guess I
was wrong back then because now we are graced with Eminem's
have never heard a rap album with the exception of a
few Public Enemy albums which could actually sustain
a whole album's worth of music. The songs just blend
into each other and become repetitive and boring.
in the future, rap will become the new version of elevator
music and Eminem will be playing Vegas.
you said Josh, Rock &Roll progressed and it may
be in a stagnant period, however, Rap has never progressed
musically, nor has the message really changed and I
have heard years of it.
you really want some great urban poety and music listen
to some Gil-Scott Heron albums and you would be better
off! Great musican and poet and great music.
you're really reaching back with Gil-Scott Heron and
"The Revolution Will Not Be Televised." Of
course, he had something to say. I barely think that
rap is a worthy topic of discussion. There's almost
nothing there to talk about. As I've said, it is a perfect
representation of these times, though, because it's
dull, boring, and not challenging, just like everything
in the arts these days. There are no plays, movies or
music really worth discussing or thinking about. Society
is in a huge artistic slump. Nobody wants to create
interesting, challenging art, they just want to make
money, and if that's your motivation then you'll just
spew out the same crap you've already seen and heard.
Nobody is even particularly political anymore, and if
world events of the moment don't upset you and get you
thinking, nothing will.
just wanted to say to MC whatever his name is, those
are some of the best hip hop artist's. I like some rap,
but I don't disrespect Josh for hating rap. I hate most
rap, cause it has turned to CRAP. But anyways, I still
respect you Josh and your movie's. Even though you don't
like rap. But anyways....
I finally got a hold of the "Evil Dead:Companion"
book, and I was glad to see your mentioned in the book
Josh. I hope you all(Bruce,Sam,Ted,etc..) can make films
together again. It would be nice to see you all just
having fun making film's (even though it was torchure).
Well anyway's, best wishes Josh. I'm looking forward
to see" If I Had a Hammer" soon. Late
can't really see all of us making movies together and
having fun anymore. It's all gotten too serious for
some of us. Bruce and I had a terrific time making "Running
Time" and the two episodes of "Jack of All
Trades" we did together. We're trying to put something
else together now, but I won't even mention it because
I'll just jinx it.
man! Sorry about that director writer thing. So u wrote
it as a Herc episode and then u changed it to Xena.
But did u have to change any other stuff in it? I mean
like when it was a Herc episode was it just like Herc
getting shot with arrows too? Or was that part different?
anyways I guess it was filmed before Sins of the Past.
Cool man! So like was that battle scene with Xena like
the first scene ever with Xena?
man I thought that episode was really cool.
don't know which scene they shot first because I wasn't
there. I think the first thing up was the chariot race
stuff, which was shot 2nd unit. I personally didn't
think the episode turned out all that well.
hope this isn't a dumb question (and I've been a little
squeamish about asking this, seeing how merciless you
are toward people who ask dumb questions:), but...
going to film a scene where a character is watching
a news broadcast on TV which is relevant to the story.
Anyway, I have some connections at a local PBS station,
and I was planning on shooting it on video in their
studio and then filming it off the TV on 16mm.
my D.P. is now telling me that since video is 30 fps
and I'm shooting on film at 24 fps (if you'll allow
me to insult your intelligence for just a second here),
I might have problems. Now, honestly, this never occurred
to me. Although I've shot plenty of Super-8 and a fair
amount of 16, I've never filmed off of a TV like this.
Does my D.P. know what the hell he's talking about?
the way, thank you for your rant against rap. Amen.
One thing that irritates me to no end is how rap's defenders
will accuse you of being racist if you criticize their
"music" (for lack of a better word). Never
mind that I respect and/or love virtually every other
form of "black music." I'm racist because
I can see that rap is crap.
yes, I agree with the last guy. Rap will always be around,
just like pornography. Anything that appeals to the
lowest common denominator will never go out of style.
I that merciless? If anyone asks a straight-forward
question I honestly try to answer it. Anyway, your DP
is correct. Shooting off a TV set will cause you problems,
but they can be lived with and you've seen them before.
You'll get bands scrolling across the screen. These
bands can be minimized by adjusting your shutter, but
you may not be able to do that. They can be entirely
eliminated by running the TV off a DC source, like a
generator, and synchronizing it with the camera's shutter,
but that's a big deal. Ultimately, though, it's just
going to look kind of funky and you'll have to just
live with it. I have a number of scenes with TVs playing
in "Hammer" and I got the scrolling bands
on all of them. Good luck and don't be so afraid, I
don't bite. I just don't like rap.
Abominable Flow Man
don't have a question, I have a comment. One of my friends,
copy/pasted the comments on rap...He told me if I replied
I would get "bitched out"...Whatever. I just
wanna say that the take on rap written was the most
ignorant thing I ever read. It was just a repetition
of the stereotypical view on rap by someone who clearly
doesn't know or has never really listened to rap music.
Your perception has been tainted by the image portrayed
by media. I'll agree there is rap music that contains
stupid and sensless lyrics, but there is just as much
rap that has clever and positive lyrics. Mos Def, Talib
Kweli, Common, Blackalicious, KRS-One, Public Enemy,
Gang Starr, J-Live, Atmosphere, De La Soul...to name
a few...And as far as rap music not evolving and it
being the same, that couldn't be further from the truth.
Listen to a BDP album from the 80's and then play a
Blackalicious album from 2002. And the comparison to
Rock n Roll in terms of progress is just plain stupid.
Rock n Roll started way before rap. Hip Hop is still
relatively young, artists who are considered old school
are stil younger than my dad.
you don't like rap, that's cool. But please stop making
ignorant statements about a great culture with misinformed
it' s still a free country, at least to some extent
and for the time being, I'll make as many comments as
I care to, misinformed or not. I appreciate that you
like rap, and that you're willing to stand up and defend
it. I still think it's audio garbage. My comparison
to rock & roll, which you clearly didn't understand,
didn't insinuate that rap is as old as rock, it's that
when rock had been around as long as rap has, which
is over twenty years now, it had gone through a lot
more interesting changes than rap has. The important
people in rock & roll were serious musicians, rappers
aren't musicians at all. They're half-assed (def) poets
that know nothing about poetry, let alone music. Do
you actually believe that someone like M&M or P.
Diddy can sit down and write music? Can they work anywhere
outside their own form? Many rock artists are terrific
musicians, like Keith Emerson, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page,
Jeff Beck, all the Beatles, all of the Rolling Stones,
etc. I'd be very surprised to find any rappers that
can read music, let alone write it. It's a stupid, lunkheaded
form that perfectly represents a stupid, lunkheaded
time in history, and I hate it.
agree with your take on rap entirely. Some people say
they find it offensive because of the lyrics; I find
it offensive because it is completely mindless and utterly
gratuitous. People who say that it "speaks for
the 'Hood" are full of crap. The lyrics in rap
say nothing. Only the ongoing existence of this "entertainment
form" makes any sort of statement. I, too, would
celebrate its demise but I doubt it will happen. There
seems to be an insatiable appetite for mindless stupidity
and rap is mindless stupidity in its purest form.
a more positive note, there's finally a movie coming
out I hope to see. I just read the Time article on "A
Mighty Wind". Christopher Guest emphasizes the
importance of structure in the second answer he gives
to the interviewer. Of course, I'm a huge fan of Eugene
Levy. I would think that folk music would be an excellent
comedy vehicle as well. "Hammer" certainly
took advantage of it. Anyway, that'll be one to see
in the theater if it actually shows up. Wichita is a
bit off the beaten path sometimes. Later,
clearly the folk version of "This is Spinal Tap."
Making fun of rockers in a world full of rock &
roll made that film pertinent, whereas making fun of
folkies that don't even exist anymore seems pretty weak,
at least from the trailers. I certainly hope it's good,
but it sure doesn't look like it to me. It appears like
those guys are shit out of ideas, just like everybody
you know if quinn had a son who was kidnapped and missing
for years i believe his face was badly burned and contusion
on right side of his head
never heard that. One of his sons, Francesco, was down
in New Zealand for a few days during the shooting of
"Hercules." He's in "Platoon." I
did hear that Quinn lost a son, but I don't know how.
happened to catch "Lunatics" the other night.
I own it and have watched it several times but it was
easily the best thing on so I watched it on satellite.
In watching it I came to the conclusion, yet again,
that Ted needs to be in more, and more substantial,
roles. He, like Bruce, is a guy who could carry a movie
about eating toast.
which struck me about the film itself, however, was
the rap group. Don't get me wrong; I think it was a
great manifestation of Hank's delusions, but it occurred
to me that a rap group should have been the last thing
to expect in a Josh Becker film. It wasn't too long
ago that you described Hip Hop as a bankrupt medium,
or words to that effect. It prompted me to wonder how
that element came into the film. Thanks as always,
film was shot in 1989, and even then rap just seemed
ridiculous to me. I honestly worried that rap would
be totally out of style by the time the film was completed
in 1990. And it's perfect proof that you need no musical
talent at all to write a rap song. As I was explaining
to my father recently, rock & roll went through
a big change in its first ten years of existence, so
that a Chuck Berry or a Buddy Holly song from the fifties
doesn't sound anything like The Yardbirds or The Beatles,
or Motown, and then rock & roll went through another
total change in its next ten years with the advent of
Creem, Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin, then went through
yet another complete change with New Wave and Punk,
and during that time you even had other rock & roll
like Emerson, Lake & Palmer and The Moody Blues
that didn't sound anything like anything else. Rap hasn't
changed at all in twenty years. It's a completely stagnant
form, and is just waiting for something else to shove
into the dustbin of musical history, like disco, which
is a much more lively form than rap. While I'm on a
rant here, aside from the fact that rap has no melody,
and therefore isn't music in my opinion, and always
has the same rhymn scheme, there's no metaphor, there's
no allegory, everybody just says exactly what they mean
-- Kill the cops, my woman's a bitch, the ghetto's ugly.
Big fucking deal! It's not music and it's lame, bad
poetry. I can't wait for rap to wither up and blow away.
it going man? This is a really cool site u know.
I was wondering about one of those episodes u directed
I think it was "Chariots of War". What was
that like? Cuz that was really cool! Do you remember
anything about how that episode was like to direct and
didn't direct that episode, I wrote the story. I initially
wrote it as a Hercules episode, which no one was interested
in. Then the order for the first Xena episodes came
through, so I changed Hercules to Xena, and him to her,
and they bought it. It was also the very first Xena
episode to go into production, although it ended up
as ep #2.
agree with what you said. We created Saddam Hussein,
or at least allowed him the opportunity to dominate
the Ba'ath party and ultimately, Iraq. Our civilization
depends on fossil fuels, and we put a megalomaniac in
a position to potentially dominate the world's largest
supply of them; now we have to pay the price. If anything
good has come out of this war, it is the liberation
of the Iraqi people from that strutting dickhead; no
matter what the reason we went there, that is a mark
in our favor. I just hope we don't screw it up and put
some puppet regime in power just to protect our gas
Speaking of hypocrisy, I noticed that France and Germany
shut up their protests against the war pretty quickly
once we found that they were trading weapons and weapons
parts to Iraq for oil. At least Russia was clear that
they didn't want a war because Saddam Hussein owed them
money, while France and Germany feigned moral indignation
over the use of force. One thing is true throughout
history: in the end, it always comes down to money.
Bored to tears at Fort Purgatory,
this is Bush, Sr.'s fault. We already went to war with
Saddam Hussein once, then left him in power. It might
have taken an extra week to get the guy the first time.
So what movies do they show you there at Fort Purgatory?
Do they show "The Longest Day" over and over?
quick question, but one about which I am genuinely curious.
As a person with a strong opinion on all things filmic,
are there any DPs from the pre-80s that you particularly
like and admire? Are there any who are currently out
there whose work you appreciate? That's it for now.
are many DPs I admire. The late Conrad Hall, Haskell
Wexler, Vittorio Storaro, Guiseppe Rottuno, Ghislain
Cloquet, Greg Toland, John Alton, Bert Glennon, Ernest
Haller, Robert Surtees, Bruce Surtees, Jack Green, Daniel
Fapp, Freddie Young, Joe McDonald, Gordon Willis, Joseph
Walker, Sol Polito, Miroslav Ondricek, Douglas Slocombe,
Nestor Almendros, Geoffrey Unsworth, Michael Chapman,
William Fraker, Vilmos Zsigmond, Laszlo Kovacks, Owen
Roizman, Ernest Laszlo, Richard Kline, Bill Butler,
James Wong Howe, John Alcott, Joseph Biroc, John Alonzo,
Sven Nykvist, Pasqualino De Santis, Burnett Guffey,
Ted McCord, Robert Burks, Gabriel Figueroa, Russell
Metty, Freddie Francis . . . on and on.
appreciate your well-wishes. This has to be a unique
experience in American history. A huge slice of our
population is against this war, yet unlike the Vietnam
War, no one seems to be blaming the soldiers for it.
Indeed, everyone has been incredibly supportive of us,
which we all appreciate (except for the Girl Scout cookies:
really, how many damn Tagalongs and Somoas do you think
we can eat...just kidding!). I'm a bit divided: on one
hand, no one relishes the idea of going into harm's
way, but on the other hand, the later we go, the more
likely we'll get the drudgery of occupation duty. Everyone
here is anxious to just go and get it over with.
Anyway, I read your comments on James Cromwell, and
forward the opinion that he's an underappreciated actor
for his talent. He was indeed good in RKO 291, as well
as in THE GREEN MILE. As for Kim Basinger...well, she
IS pretty hot, even if she does suck (or is that BECAUSE
she sucks....hmmmm). I last saw her in 8-MILE, where
she plays Eminem's trailer trash mom. It was an interesting
contrast, if nothing else.
American public seems to have matured somewhat since
Vietnam and can now seperate the government's policies
from a soldier's duty. If you're in the military, you
go where they send you. And everyone else, including
me, has to be damn happy and appreciative it wasn't
us. I do think this war is the single worst piece of
foreign relations in our history. I don't think we could
have intentionally found a better way to galvanize the
entire world against us. And the one number that is
never spoken is how many Iraqi soldiers have been killed?
I've heard estimates of over a hundred thousand already,
which certainly isn't surprising given there have been
over a thousand bombing sorties a day for a month. One
of the seriously distressing parts of this is seeing
just how slanted and biased American news coverage is.
As Michael Moore pointed out in a recent letter on his
website, the American news services immediately jumped
on the Dixie Chicks after they came out against the
war, saying their album sales were down, as were their
concert ticket sales, but in reality their album went
from #4 to #1 and all of the tickets for their concerts
are sold-out. I feel like we don't have any real reporters
anymore, nor would any news service allow a real, opinionated
reporter work for them. Reporter's jobs are now to read
the government statements without comment. The idea
that the U.N. has "lost it's moral authority,"
a statement I've heard many times on the news, because
they don't agree with us and didn't want to go to war
for false reasons is particularly insulting. And clearly
this war has nothing to do with weapons of mass destruction,
not that I ever thought it did, mind you. America toppled
Iran's government in 1953 in a CIA coup, after they'd
gone to a lot of trouble to remove the Shah, then we
stuck them with 25 more years of the tyrannical asshole,
and that was entirely over oil. Then we backed Iraq
against Iran. Then we turned on our own allies (after
supplying them with most of the weapons they now have)
when they "invaded a sovereign country," which
is exactly what we're doing now. I just watched two
good documentaries, "The Trials of Henry Kissinger"
and "Waco: Rules of Engagement" and it appears
that the U.S. government does nothing but lie to the
public. But it's certainly not the soldiers' faults,
they just do their jobs. Once again, good luck and stay
safe, even if it's just occupation work.
stumbled across your 99cent rant and i have to say that
i loved it! All too true, as my husband and I are avid
99 cent / dollar store shoppers. We've spent as much
as $35 at a time, and about $10 of it turned out to
be useless! But I don't have the nerve to return any
of it! LOL Thanks for sharing your insight to the 99cent
glad you enjoyed it. Mellie is what Scarlett called
Melanie in "Gone With the Wind." "Oh,
Mellie is so mealy-mouthed." But I don't mean you.
don't know if you'll remember me; it's been about four
months since I last logged onto the site. Things have
been pretty busy. My National Guard unit has been activated,
and I'm in Fort Drum, NY, waiting to go over to the
Anyway, I was curious to know what you thought of a
film that I bought recently, called LA CONFIDENTIAL.
I found it to be refreshingly sophisticated, and not
convoluted like the other whodunits that Hollywood churns
out nowadays. Also, the performances were very good,
most particularly those of Kevin Spacey and James Cromwell
(who excels in playing authority figures and villains;
hard to believe that he was Robert Carradine's father
in REVENGE OF THE NERDS).
Well, have to go (there's a line forming for the computer).
I'll log on tomorrow and see your response.
Long time no see,
I remember you saying that you liked MRE's. I'll be
sure to save some of my extras and send them to you
when this deployment is over.
long time no hear. It sounds like you'll get there after
the war's over, which is very good. Stay safe. I did
like most of "LA Confidential," although I
wasn't pleased with the finale, when suddenly they were
shooting hundreds of bullets at each other. That sequence
felt like the one bit of pandering to a modern audience.
Otherwise, it was pretty good. Not great, mind you,
because I didn't find it particularly memorable, and
I've seen it twice. As for Kim Bassinger getting an
Oscar, as Bruce put it, "They gave her an Oscar
because it was the first time she didn't completely
suck." I also don't think you can do that gag of
"That's really Lana Turner," when, of course,
it wasn't really Lana Turner. But as far as modern movies
go, it's pretty good. I particularly liked James Cromwell
as William Randolph Hearst in "RKO 187." Once
again, be safe and good luck.