Thanks for posting the illustrations in regards to Hitler's
art. I had seen some of his stuff before and I had known
that he was a more than competent artist and the film
"MAX" touches upon this aspect of his life.
The film also addresses the issue of him being a good
soldier who was decorted during the war, and I had known
too that he was a decorated soldier.
The film is strongest when it deals with his relationship
to his life as a poor soldier returning from the war
and his reaction to Germany's post war conditions.
The film does in fact portray him as a very complicated
individual which he was and that is something that many
people miss or don't want to acknowledge. Instead, he
is always portrayed in films as a non-human entity,
however, he was all human just not humane and their
in lies the fascination with this man
You don't become what he did by not being affected and
fueled by something other than anger and passion for
something that has been taken from you.
I believe what separates him from others with the same
traits is that he had the power to carry out all of
his deepest insecurities and convictions in a massive
scale and that is some scary shit.
I feel that considering the shape that Germany was in
at the time, if it wasn't Hitler, it would have been
someone else who would come to power in a similar way,
but may have not been as powerful or succesful at it
as he was. Who knows?
Growing up, I had a friend who was obsessed by WWII
and he studied a great deal about Hitler's life and
his rise to power. He was the one who told me about
Hitler's interest in American Football songs. It become's
very obvious when you listen to the Nazi propaganda
my silly historical opinion, the greatest achievements
of the 20th century were the Marshall Plan and the MacArthur
Plan to rebuild Germany and Japan after WWII. This was
very much due to people's awareness of how Hitler had
come to power in the 1920s, in the power vacuum and
poverty created in Germany after the first world war.
So the U.S. intentionally decided to not allow that
to occur again, and both Germany and Japan have been
relatively peaceful ever since. But it took Hitler to
give us the Marshall Plan.
searched your archives first and did not notice you
addressing the question, but your recent reviews of
Windtalkers, We Were Soldiers, and Hitler: The Rise
of Evil made me curious as to what you thought of Band
of Brothers if you've seen it. I'm rather immersed in
the story and am enjoying it, especially the interviews
with the survivors of the 101st that precedes each episode.
I found that you thought that the look of the miniseries
was cliched, but other than that, what did you think?
I realize you have an aversion to Spielberg (as a director
at least), but that you have also enjoyed some recent
HBO original productions. Thank you for your time.
watched the first three episodes and I didn't like it.
The only interesting character was David Schwimmer as
the insane Jewish drill instructor, which was a tad
over-the-top. Otherwise, all of the men are severely
underwitten and just plain old dull. I also hated the
direction, with all of that shaky hand-held camerawork
combined with the angled-shutter blurriness, I found
it somewhat headache-inducing. The episode where they
take out the artillery was so confusingly directed that
I never knew what was going on.
course i've had a look around and notice that your a
massive Wyler fan and up until about 7 months ago I
would have heavely disagree althoght he is certain not
my favorite or even near to it personally after watching
The Big Country, Dodsworth and Dead End i've really
change my mind and reading your article back than was
one of the major reason as to why I rented a bunch more
of his films. The Big Country is I think an ode and
the exploration of the western genre and takes the fish
(Peck) out of water (He was a Sea Captain) concept to
new hights. Anyway thanks for writing the article and
recommending William Wyler.
The Thing (51)
I Question, I just have to ask. Do you consider this
a Nyby film or a Hawks films. The reason is that almost
everybody considers it to be a Hawks films and it would
be intresting to get your perspective on the matter.
Plus what do you think of John Carpenter's revamping
of The Thing
George Stevens: A Filmmaker's Journey
An all incompassing and engrossing documentary on a
magnificent director glad to see someone else dig this
Who'll Stop the Rain - Director Reisz made Everybody
Wins I highly recommend it, it's got the always amazing
Debra Winger in it.
very pleased you've enjoyed some of my man William Wyler's
films. I recommend checking out some his other 1950s
films, like "Detective Story," "Carrie,"
"Desperate Hours" and "Friendly Persuasion,"
which are all very different and all very interesting.
regarding "The Thing," I honestly do believe
that it was directed by Christian Nyby, who had previously
been Hawks' editor, but from that point on was only
a director and directed a lot of stuff over the next
thirty years, particularly TV. But it was most certainly
a Howard Hawks production, he supervised the script,
the casting, and he hired Nyby, so it's really more
his film. Although we all generally accept the auteur
theory now, that a director is the author of the film,
in many cases that's just not true. Often, a strong
producer can have a lot more influence on a film than
the hired-gun director.
Stevens: A Filmmaker's Journey" was fascinating,
and all of the color footage was amazing.
like "Who'll Stop the Rain" very much, but
I didn't care for "Everybody Wins." I kind
of liked Karel Reisz's film "The Gambler"
with James Caan, and I think he did a good job with
"Sweet Dreams," too.
I just read your new reviews and I would like to make
a comment about your review of "Hitler: Rise of
Evil". I saw this too and felt that the film was
complete horse shit and I too am still looking for a
film on Hitler that portrays him as a Humanbeing instead
of some mythical evil creature.
I am with you on the fact that is so scary about Nazi
Germany is that Hitler and his people were all Humanbeings
just like you and I, however, they were able to do what
they did and almost get away with it.
Actually, there is a film which was released last that
I had seen and I actually believe that it comes the
closest to seeing Hitler as a humanbeing, however, the
film is not the greatest film and this is not a sympathetic
view of Hitler, merely a glimpse into his formation.
The film is called MAX and it is about dealing with
Hitler who was an artist before he transformed into
what he became and chose politics over art. The script
is interesting and it takes far greater chances than
any other film which deals with Hitler.
Hitler had an odd relationship with Jewish art dealer
named "Max Rothman" after his return from
the war. Rothman is from a wealthy Jewish family, however,
he too has scars from the war in the form of a missing
Hitler desperatley wanted to be an artist and sell his
artwork, however, he was just a poor soldier returning
from the war and he had no way of selling it or showing.
"What if" Hitler's art had won over his politics?
So much of history would have changed, one can only
The film does a decent job of Comparing the two and
how they deal with post-war syndrome. So similar, yet
Max Rothman is played by John Cusak which is a strange
casting, but he does a good job of it and I don't think
the film would have been made without his involvement
Hitler is played very well by the Austrailian actor
Noah Taylor who was the young David Heflgot in "Shine"
and he was also the tour manager in one of your favorite
films (Just kidding) "Almost Famous".
Anyhow, it is worth renting on video if you can find
it. "Thomas Video" should have it.
on my Netflix list. A couple of other things that no
one ever gets right about Hitler was that he wasn't
a bad artist, and that he was a very heroic soldier
in WWI. He actually won two iron crosses, which was
exceptionally rare for an enlisted man in the German
army. He's constantly made out as a coward and a completely
inept artist, and that simply wasn't the case. He probably
could have made it as a commercial artist if he'd had
an interest, which he clearly didn't. In the early 1920s
when the National Socialist Party was just starting
out, Hitler's buddy, Ernst Hafstaengl, who had grown
up in America and had gone to Harvard, played Hitler
the popular American football songs, like Uof M's "Hail
to the Conquering Hero," and Hitler liked them
so much they adapted them for use by the Nazis, and
that's where many of their songs came from. A scene
like that would have helped that Hitler film a lot.
He's a much more complicated character than he's ever
given credit for.
in Vienna" by Adolph Hitler, 1914
Wien" by Adolph Hitler, 1912
I haven't seen the movies you recently
reviewed, I love what you said. The shame that is
Windtalkers is so abhorent. Why does Hollywood make
movies about Native Americans and neither gives them
top billing or gets the story right?! I read an interview
with one of the original Navajo code-talkers and he
was just happy that the story was documented at all.
Some Native American actresses have complained that
they are denied roles because they look "too smart"
to be Indians.
amazes me that your thoughts about Robert Carlyle's
Hitler are in the minority (according to the reviews
at IMDb.com). People really need to be spoonfed the
most obnoxious caricatures in order to understand the
obvious. You don't learn anything about evil when the
villain is ugly and scary. I thought Tom Berenger's
portrayal of a bigot in Betrayed was really well done.
He's sympathetic, charismatic and completely wrong.
You learn how otherwise, "nice people" can
get sucked into that culture and mindset.
I think Fins, Femmes and Gems is fairly popular still
but In Sickness and Hell is an underdog among the Xenites.
I like them both.
well, Xena and Gaby both have every kind of crud imaginable
in "In Sickness," but I do think they're both
very funny in it. I love when Gaby's mouth is numb and
name is Ashok Patel. I am a businessman. I am running
a Digital Color Lab and Photographic Color Lab in India.
The name of my business firm is APDP DIGITAL LAB AND
APDP COLOR LAB, which is the first color lab in Gujarat
State. I have been working in Steel Photography since
I have some different plots regarding gulf war, Europa,
earth to planet, art film, world after 50 years, an
innocent boy with a charming lady, and who am I that
I am not with following details.
1) Complete Film Story
2) Complete Shots’ Details
3) Complete Shots’ Consume Design, colors
in a drawing format.
If suppose, you have subjects then we will give above-mentioned
If you want to contract or wants more details then contact
at following address:
APDP Digital Lab and APDP Color Lab,
ANAND – 388 001
Phone: +91-2692-251499 , +91-2692-257988
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
you have plots like, " . . . Europa, earth to planet,
art film, world after 50 years, an innocent boy with
a charming lady, and who am I that I am not . . . "
what possible help could you need from me? I think you've
got the situation firmly under control. Good luck.
just wanted to say after all this time I'm still a huge
Xena fan and no matter how many times people criticize
Fins, Femmes, and Gems and In Sickness and In Hell,
I still think they are absolutely hysterical. You did
a wonderful job behind the scenes. Thanks for making
me laugh at something so different.
people criticize those episodes? What do they say?
could be a question for the wrong person but im going
to ask anyway.
well first let me tell you what i think, evil dead 2
is a sequil to evil dead 1...not a remake...i think
its so clear its a sequil, i maen theres a shot at the
end of evil dead where the evil force goes into ash's
mouth...the same shot is in the first 5 min of evil
im sick of everyone saying evil dead 2 is a remake or
people saying why does ash go back to the samn cabin
or why does he date people named linda so much
so can you clear up if evil dead 2 is a sequil [extension]
to evil dead or a remake
a sequel, but it keeps lapsing into being a remake.
It's obviously a different story with different characters,
but it keeps repeating sequences from the first one.
My friend was just telling me about Roger Ebert's review
of ED from when it was released and he gave it his "Dog
of the Week." He says that when the force is chasing
the girl through the woods and knocking down trees,
then she gets back to the cabin and shuts the door,
the force slinks away and you expect it to say, "You
haven't heard the last of me!" If it can knock
down trees, why can't it knock down the cabin door?
did you think of richard linklater's first film 'slacker'
thought it was interesting for a while. I liked the
idea of one character passes the next one, etc. Ultimately,
though, it's a one-joke idea that wears out its welcome
quite a bit before the end. I don't think he's a particularly
talented director. I enjoyed "Tape," but his
direction is the worst thing about it and rather inept.
Now that you are all gay and stuff, maybe you can whip
up a nice creme brulé or a scrumptious tart.
I just watched Hitchcock's "Notorious". I
haven't seen it an awhile. I think that is one of Hitch's
best films. His films still hold up well unlike some
films form that period which do not.
"Notorious" is a great Hitchcock film and
holds up beautifully. Claude Rains is wonderful. And
the film always ends about ten minutes before I think
it's going to.
out of curiosity...how long does a pregnancy take in
YOUR neck of the woods? In the scene where the daughter
is reading her mother's diary, it says june 10 (one
year) she thinks she's pregnant and then june/july29(don't
remember which)the next year..."i gave birth last
week to a daughter....(or words to that effect)"...nearly
thirteen months for a pregnancy? Geez...big baby!
sure this is a rational criticism, I just don't know
what you're referring to. There's a lot of writing on
this website and making a reference to what you're talking
about would be helpful.
are u so gay?
actually been sort of down lately. I just wish I were
I believe your friend is precisely what is wrong with
this country and I know a few people like him as well.
His talk about the free market is the wrong way to look
at it and he seriuosly abuses this concept to an extreme.
When I lived in Europe, the thing I apreciated the most
was how well the government takes care of it's citizens
when they need it.
I think I am part socialist and part capitalist and
free market or no free market, I believe that the government
should take the responsibility to care for its citizens
that need it and the average person in the european
countries which utilize the free market has a far better
quality of life than the average American.
I remember reading a recent interview with Roger Waters
from Pink Floyd about the success of "Dark Side
of the Moon".
He said that almost overnight, the band became millionaires
and he had all these thoughts about what to do with
the money, since he was raised with more socialist leanings,
he thought of giving a majority of it to charity, however,
in the end, he said "You end up keeping the money...
but ever since the money started rolling in from the
album I put 1/4 of my earnings into a charitable trust
which I still maintain today"
He ended by say "Growing up without a father(His
father was killed in WWII) and a mother who was a humantarian
and did a lot of volunteer social work, I was raised
with many socialist leanings, and it has been difficult
to accept the wealth I have achieved without giving
something back. The nice thing about being a captialist
is you can be a philanthropist".
I feel that he is obviously an exception to most rich
people and that is sad.
We don't decide to be born, but I believe it is eveyone
human's right to have a decent life. This is the difference
in thinking between many of the civilized European countries
and you friend's views.
I am sorry, but I have to laugh about your experience
in Brazil. It is not very typical, but you were in Sao
Paulo which says a lot. That city is crazy.
I am surprised as you said "nobody cared",
but as I said Sao Paulo is a crazy city and it can be
a lot like NYC, but with more people. In fact, that
is by far my least favorite place in Brazil.
Many things in Brazil are not organized very well and
it does not surprise me that the film festival was an
exception to that rule.
It is strange that you had so much trouble with their
ATM machines, because I never had a problem, and Brazilians
think that America's banking system is archaic.
Many Brazilians get hired here to work in the banking
and financial industry because they are so used to unstable
I am not defending the country because it has a mass
amount of people problems that nobody can really solve.
Yes, My girlfriend is very sweet and all of the Brazilians
I have met are very nice and far more sophisticated
than Americans who have a lot more in terms of wealth
I feel lucky to have had the life I have.
I too can get cynical about things, but I am also optimistic
about many things as well. I did not have any easy life
either, but I try not to let that effect my ability
to be happy and that is why I said what I did to Saul.
Life is too short to be so negative about it.
Many times it is a mirror and how you see yourself is
how you see the world.
As for people in the film business being self-centered
assholes, I believe this to be true in my experience
to a certain degree, however, I have also met some great
people in this business, I do my best to avoid the others
and that is the best I can do.
think that I too am a bit more of a socialist than a
capitalist. The idea that my health care is about to
run out, even though I've been a member of the DGA for
ten years and am vested in their retirement plan, pisses
me off. I'm not blaming the DGA, mind you, which is
a helluva good union, I'm blaming the American medical
system, which is controlled and dominated by private
industry. That the wealithiest country in the world
doesn't have health care for all of its citizens is
like to ask you if you ever want to make movie about
albanians i will like to be on that movie,
did you know I want to make movies about Albanians?
Have you been reading my mind? There just can't be enough
films about Albanians, as far as I'm concerned. By the
way, where is Albania?
I think you theory about rich and poor is spot on and
I agree with that theory. I think it is like like some
divine intervention that rich people feel, however,
poor people happen to actually be more religious in
general which is interesting to me.
One of my girlfriend's good friends here is married
to a doctor. He is an ear specialist and makes a great
deal of money. My girlfriend's friend is just a simple
Brazilian, but we have witnessed a transistion in her.
They just had a little girl last year and they have
a great life. The wife does not have to work and they
get hired help for the baby and the home when they need
it. They own an apartment in Manhattan and they own
a summer house in upstate New York. In short, they have
a very good life.
My girlfriend told me the other day how much her friend
complains about things where before she married her
husband, she was just a simple person who was quite
content with her life. I think her husband is a very
controlling person and that has a lot to do with her
complaints, however, she is rich and can have anything
she wants, but this is proof that money doesn't equal
I told this story because I believe that being rich
doesn't necessarily mean having a lot of money, it is
about who you are and how much you enjoy life inside
I see a lot of guilt factor with the rich,and I think
this too is something that goes along with the territory,and
that is why I agree with your theory about how rich
people feel that God loves them more. It helps to ease
their deep seated guilt which many times doesn't show
on the surface.
only do I not believe that money equals happiness, I'm
reasonably certain that too much money always equals
unhappiness. Too much money causes paranoia, and feelings
of, "They don't really like me, they're after my
money." As my friend who worked for Steven Spielberg
for twelve years has said, the only time you'll ever
see him smile is in a photograph. Otherwise, he's the
glummest guy in Hollywood. So being the most successful
director in Hollywood, actually the whole world, isn't
an assurance of happiness, either. I have an old friend
who is very wealthy (inherited), and his disdain for
the poor is overwhelming. He seriously believes that
the minimum wage law should be rescinded because it's
against the free market. If a product is only worthwhile
if the workers get one dollar an hour, then that's what
they should get. I've tried to get it across to him
that you can't live on minimum wage, let alone a dollar
an hour, and he doesn't care. The free market is everything,
and everyone else can just die of starvation to keep
it free. That one half of one percent controls most
of the wealth in this country I find deeply disturbing.
On a lark I rented a collection of "George of the
Jungle" cartoons for my four-year old. He nearly
lost his spleen from laughing and so did I. One great
thing about having kids is that you get to revisit a
lot of those old cartoons and enjoy them without guilt.
On the subject of people being in it for themselves,
I would have to say that my experience doesn't back
that up generally. I know a fair number of rich people
and, while there are certainly a good number of total
asses among them (as among the less well-to-do that
I know), most of them are genuine, caring, incredibly
hard-working and generous people. Maybe it's because
I live in the Midwest. I doubt it, though. I do believe
that "Hollywood" likely has an inordinate
number of asses but that is because, as you say, the
competition for every inch is so intense.
I do have a movie question for you; I was watching "Buck
Privates" with my two sons the other day and was
struck again by the songs. Particularly "Boogie
Woogie Bugle Boy" and "You're A Lucky Fellow,
Mr. Smith". Do you know if those songs were written
for that movie? I do believe they had the same composer,
and both were hits for the Andrews Sisters. Patty is
still alive, by the way, or was the last time I checked.
One final thought to commemorate Bob Hope's one-hundreth
birthday. I mentioned to you a long time ago that I
thought that he, Hope, and Bruce Campbell share similar
timings and deliveries. I was rereading some of Hope's
books ("I Owe Russia $1200") and it struck
me that Hope and Campbell even have similar writing
styles. For what it's worth, I think any comparison
to Hope is a compliment.
Great technical questions lately. Thanks as always.
Woogie Bugle Boy" was written for "Buck Privates,"
music by Hugh Prince, lyrics by Don Raye, and was nominated
for Best Song. I always thought Bob Hope was a great
stand-up comic, and the best host of the Oscars so far,
but I never much cared for his films. He's shemping
too much for my tastes.
"I thought "Spirited Away" was a great
animated film that did not explain every little thing
to kids like many of the Disney and most contemporary
animated films do. It leaves much to the imagination
while not insulting kid's intelligence and adults as
Yup. Miazaki is one of the few real geniuses around,
in terms of Anime.
"I have a response for Saul and his comments on
people. I feel that it is unfortunate that he has such
a negative perception of people. Granted everyone must
look out for themselves and the basic instinct of any
human is survival, however, I do not feel that all humans
are entirely out for themselves."
Well, my POV came about from hard personal experience.
What can I say? I'm EXTREMELY cynical. (shrug)
"I feel sorry for people like Saul who have such
a negative outlook on people. I am fortunate that I
have a family who actually does care!"
I don't mean the following as an insult-but I don't
need your sympathy. Frankly, my POV isn't that unique.
I'm just one more moron who's got an axe to grind. Big
deal. I'll just have to get in line with everyone else
who bitches about life. There are people FAR worse off
"I think Americans have this angst more than many
countries. My girlfriend is from Brazil which is a very
poor country in many respects. She is the most giving
and selfless person I have ever met. Brazilian's outlook
on life is much more shiny and simple and that says
a lot about Americans who complain about the dumbest
Some people *do* complain about dumb shit. Some people,
however, have legitimate gripes about things happening
in their lives.
"The problem I have with Saul's comments is that
if he has kids or decides to have kids, he will perpetuate
this attitude and myth to them and that is a miserable
way to be."
> Myth, huh? If you say so. I'll guess we'll have
to agree to disagree on that one. I seriously doubt
I'm going to get married-much less have kids. The world
is too screwy, IMNSHO. Frankly, I think that people
who have kids are either brave or naive. But that's
Josh, another question:
Regarding people you know who've published books and
made films, which experience have they found more bearable?
I hesitate to use the word "pleasant", because
I'm aware that there are cut-throats in the publishing
business as well. BTW-what's the status on your book?
I'm currently finishing up DANGEROUS VISIONS, the collection
of different writers' works put together by Harlan Ellison.
BRILLIANT book. I've also started reading THE COMPLETE
BOOK OF SCRIPTWRITING by J. Michael Straczynski. I've
read a few articles written by Mr.Straczynski, and I
appreciate his straight-forwardness. What little I've
read of this book is pretty good.
daresay I'm in the cynical boat with you, Saul. I think
that most people are idiots, are only looking out for
themselves, and will screw anyone at the drop of a hat
if they think they're infringing on their little lifestyle.
Most people, it seems to me, go through their whole
lives paying close attention to almost nothing. Meanwhile,
Scott may well have a sweet girlfriend from Brazil,
but I spent a week in Sao Paulo and, as a group, I'd
say the Brazilians are the most obnoxious assholes I've
ever met, and it was the worst-run festival I've ever
been to. The sons of bitches didn't even pick me up
at the airport, the ATMs don't recognize American money
cards, nor was the currency exchange open, so I had
to hitchhike into town, and Sao Paulo is the third-largest
city in the world. Swell welcome. And they weren't the
slightest bit sorry, either. And most everyone I've
ever dealt with in the film industry has been a moronic,
uneducated, self-centered asshole.
my books, no luck yet. I'm still rewriting the second
one, but the literary agent I've got in NY is as bad
as all the agents I've had in LA. She won't call, she
won't tell me what's she's doing, nor will she read
my stuff. Perhaps publishing is an easier business than
film, but in both cases you need an agent to function,
and all agents are worthless idiots.
played Stemboat Annie with Wallace Berry?
Annie was played by the wonderful Marie Dressler in
the film "Min and Bill," for which she won
an Oscar. Marie Dressler starred in the very first comedy
feature film in 1915, "Tillie's Punctured Romance,"
which co-starred Charlie Chaplin not playing his tramp
character. Dressler has the great last line of "Dinner
at Eight," where Jean Harlow says she's just read
a book -- Dressler does a brilliant double-take and
misses a step--and Harlow says that she read in the
book that someday machines will take over all the jobs
of humans. Marie Dressler looks Jean Harlow up and down
and says, "My dear, you have nothing to worry about."
I loved "Kimba the White Lion". That was my
favorite cartoon as a kid too!
I thought "Spirited Away" was a great animated
film that did not explain every little thing to kids
like many of the Disney and most contemporary animated
films do. It leaves much to the imagination while not
insulting kid's intelligence and adults as well.
I have a response for Saul and his comments on people.
I feel that it is unfortunate that he has such a negative
perception of people. Granted everyone must look out
for themselves and the basic instinct of any human is
survival, however, I do not feel that all humans are
entirely out for themselves.
I do believe we all make decisions based on our better
interests, however, everyone's interests are not the
same (Thank God), and that is not a bad thing.
The problems occur when you have an imbalance in the
way a person wants to achieve their better interests.
A good example of this is the Bush administration's
attack on Iraq and the subsequent aftermath.
I live in New York which has many "Me" people
living in it, however, it also has a great many depressed
people as well and much of that stems from being so
self-absorbed that you loose any kind of compassion
for the outside world because you become so focused
It becomes a vicious cycle that is hard to break in
such a place like this and people spend thousands of
dollars on "shrinks" here for nothing. Hollywood
is actually worse.
I feel sorry for people like Saul who have such a negative
outlook on people. I am fortunate that I have a family
who actually does care!
I think Americans have this angst more than many countries.
My girlfriend is from Brazil which is a very poor country
in many respects. She is the most giving and selfless
person I have ever met.
Brazilian's outlook on life is much more shiny and simple
and that says a lot about Americans who complain about
the dumbest shit.
The problem I have with Saul's comments is that if he
has kids or decides to have kids, he will perpetuate
this attitude and myth to them and that is a miserable
way to be.
my theory: rich people don't like poor people and successful
people don't like unsuccessful people. The rich and
the successful don't like to be reminded that they too
could still be poor and unsuccessful some day. Although
they'd never ever admit it, the rich and the successful
deep-down believe that God likes them better than the
poor, that they're better people, and therefore they
really do deserve to live better than everyone else.
It's just my theory, mind you, but I'm sticking with
I watched "The Onion Field" for the first time
last night and really enjoyed it. I forgot how intense
James Woods can be if given the right material. And John
Savage was heartbreaking as the cop who lost his partner
and then has to suffer the abuse of his fellow officers.
I thought it was a bit slow in certain parts but found
it to be a fairly solid film. Christopher Lloyd was cool
as the "jail-house lawyer" too. As a whole I
thought it was an interesting commentary on our justice
As for finding a job in Hollywood, you have to just keep
plugging away. I started out as an office PA at a film
production company about 5 years ago. I made it a point
to remember everyone's name that I met and to ask them
for a business card. I moved over to the development department
where a large portion of my day was spent on the phone
with agencies, studios, production companies etc. I began
to build relationships with the people that I talked to
the most which came in very handy a few years later when
the company split and I was out of a job. But it still
took me 8 months to find work even though I had experience
and all of those business cards. I did free-lance script
coverage for 5 of those 8 months and then I decided that
I would rather starve then read and write about another
teen gross-out comedy or some bullshit action/serial killer
movie. I would email or call my "connections"
on an almost daily basis looking for work. In a period
I hope all is well with you Josh.
I'm fine. I think the first incorrect assumption many
people are making is that it can't be that hard to get
a low-end film job. In reality, there are probably a
lot more people vying for the low-end jobs then the
jobs higher up the ladder. That's why they can be so
damn picky about who they hire as PAs, because many
people want the jobs. When I had my office for five
years people used to walk in all the time asking for
a job, and when I asked what they did, they'd reply,
"I'll do anything." Well, that's completely
useless. If I didn't have a category under which to
save their info, like FX or casting or actor, they got
shitcanned. If someone can't even go to the trouble
of deciding what their own interests are, I'm certainly
not going to do it for them. When my good buddy Gary
Jones wandered into my office in 1984 and said, "I
do special effects," I hired him on the spot.
to add to Katya & Josh's conversation:
"If it's so hard to get into the biz, and people
in it are there becausethey themselves got a break,
why aren't more people in the biz trying to help young,
budding talent that's struggling as they once were?
How can one lose perspective so quickly and not sympathize
with a fellow artist?"
"Hollywood is the place where the favorite expression
is, "There's nothing better than seeing your best
friend fail." It may have to do with killing any
possible competition, but it's really a cut-throat,
back-stabbing business. Hollywood makes about 200 pictures
a year and you've got about a million people vying for
them. 10% of all the guild members make 90% of the money,
leaving 10% of the money for the other 90% to split.
Them's the breaks, that's just how it is."
Just to add to what Josh wrote:
As much as I hate to say this: most people don't give
a shit about anyone but themselves. It's a harsh, cynical
POV, but unfortunately, also very true. Many people
could care less if you fail or not, and even those that
do care about you are oftentimes too caught up in their
own problems to really be able to offer much help-if
at all. And that INCLUDES family and friends.
Life oftentimes is like someone putting a gun to your
head and ordering you to build a house-except the foundation
is quicksand, and the tools you have to build the house
are a rock and twig. And you're forced to work with
what you've got.
Hollywood, from what I've heard, is no different. Josh's
experiences only reaffirm my feelings on this.
Speaking of disappointment in Hollywood, I want to touch
on an old sore point of mine: animation. I've always
been pissed off that animation in the United States
has been looked upon as primarily an art form meant
for kids. I find that to be highly insulting.
Japanese animation-when it was decent, back in the 1980s-often
tackled more mature themes and didn't shy away from
serious, adult drama. The Japanese didn't limit animation
to just kiddie fare. Sadly, I'm less than impressed
with the stuff I'm seeing out of Japan nowadays.
In the U.S., if animation is geared towards adults,
BTW-just a comment on Hercules & Xena: The Animated
Movie-this film, IMO, was one of THE worst pieces of
shit I've seen, insofar as cartoons go. A friend of
mine picked this film up, and showed it to me. I watched
about 20 minutes of it. The story was standard kiddie
fare, but the animation was horrid. It looked like the
character designs were thrown together in 3 minutes.
The animation was flat, dull, and uninspiring. I knew
not to expect much, but this was far worse than even
I had envisioned.
Anyway, enough of my ramblings for now. What's your
take on animation?
Have a good one.
amuses me when other people get as pissed off as I always
seem to be. Regarding animation, it once was my very
favorite thing in the whole world. When I was a little
kid I thought cartoons were the greatest thing on God's
green earth. I learned to tell time when I was four
or five so I could get up early enough to not miss any
of the cartoons. My favorites from early on were all
the Warner Brothers characters, Bugs, Daffy, Foghorn
Leghorn, and the Fleischer Brothers cartoons, Popeye,
Betty Boop, and Superman. I also really loved "Rocky
& Bullwinkle" and all of the cartoons within
it, like Fractured Fairytales, Peabody & Sherman,
and Aesop & Son. My very favorite cartoon as a little
kid, and it remains one of my favorites still, is Disney's
"The Old Mill," which won the Best Cartoon
Oscar in 1937 (before it was called Animated Short Subject).
There was also a guy named Rudolph Ising who made wonderful
cartoons for MGM in the 1930s. As far as anime goes,
I liked "Kimba the White Lion."
Wanted to thank you and Scott for your answers and input
into the different 16mm cameras. I have another question
on the subject. A guy recently contacted me who said he
has a Hotrod Super16mm camera and some Sharp lenses. What
the hell is a "Hotrod" Super 16 and what are
"Sharp" lenses? Are these brand names or is
he just being witty in the description of his equipment?
never heard of either.
In light of the current discussion about how hard it is
to break into the film business, I thought I'd throw in
my ten cents.
I had the good fortune to hear the great Martin Scorsese
answer a question about how to break into the business
a few years ago, and I believe he said that the qualities
needed are: tenacity, to know what you want and to know
how to communicate that to the people around you, openness
to other ideas, and also to have a good idea on the page.
As far as I can see, if people can make a decent living
making movies like Legally Blonde 2, then the rest of
us can afford to be at least a little bit optimistic,
as optimistic as you'd like, but don't believe for a
second that because Hollywood makes bullshit like "Legally
Blonde 2" it improves anyones chances of getting
into the business, nor does it mean that the dumb schmuck
that made that films gets to stay in the business. If
ability, knowledge, and experience aren't the perequisites
for getting to make feature films, then it's entirely
based on who you know and who's ass you're kissing.
That's not a better system. Scorsese's comments are
obviously in regard to once you're already making the
wanted to let Keith know that I have a good friend in
her early twenties who lives in London and she comes
form a well connected family, however, it was still
difficult for her to break into the business.
She is interested in post and she has done audio work,
but she wants to become an editor. She grew up with
Terry Gilliam's daughter and her parents live down the
street from him. She always knows someone who knows
someone, yet she still has to work from the ground up
like everyone else.
At the moment, she is working as an assistant chef to
make ends meet and explore something else she enjoys
until she gives the post thing a go again.
My point is that I agree with Josh that it is very difficult
to get work in the film business and knowing people
is the best thing, however, it doesn't meant that you
will get the position you want in the beginning, but
nothing is certain in this business ever.
I too had my fair share of job jobs when I was trying
to break into the business, however, I was lucky because
I started out as a freelance camera assistant in Detroit,
but I did not get a whole lot of work, so I did a great
deal of video Jobs, gripping, audio, and wore many different
After shooting for awhile, I settled into editing. I
love photography and I love shooting films, but editing
was a better job to making a living for me and chose
to do that. I feeel lucky to even be an editor, since
many people try to get in, but never do.
In my own experience, the main thing that people want
form you on this end is they want you to be everything:
Fast, effecient, and have a good eye. etc..
NYC is different than Hollywood because people here
actually care how good you are with your skill, however,
Hollywood is a different beast and it doesn't give a
shit where you went to school in this business, it is
who you know, and in Hollywood, it is how good you are
at marketing and schmoozing.
Lastly, my best advice to Keith would be to find a skill
that you semi-enjoy in or out of the business and this
can help you earn some money while you try to get to
where you want to be.
Jerry Seinfeld said the other night in an interview,
when asked what he thought of the new generation of
comedians, he said there wasn't one. There aren't many
young comedians, and the ones that are there aren't
funny. He said we now live in the "American Idol"
age, where kids say, "I'm seventeen, Goddamnit,
I've waited long enough!" When I was seventeen
I thought the same thing, I moved to Hollywood and thought
I'd take it by storm. Slow dissolve to me working in
a delicatessen. But what I did is I began to write seriously,
mainly because it was a thing I could do and develop
without anyone else's permission. Ultimately, though,
if you're not driven like hell to be a filmmaker you
shouldn't go into it. It's certainly not an alternative
to the lottery, although your chances are about as good.
As Stanislavski said, "Don't see yourself in the
art; see the art in yourself."
says it's so hard to get into the business and people
in the business claim they had to catch a big break
to get where they are. So my question is this: If it's
so hard to get into the biz, and people in it are there
because they themselves got a break, why aren't more
people in the biz trying to help young, budding talent
that's struggling as they once were? How can one lose
perspective so quickly and not sympathize with a fellow
is the place where the favorite expression is, "There's
nothing better than seeing your best friend fail."
It may have to do with killing any possible competition,
but it's really a cut-throat, back-stabbing business.
Hollywood makes about 200 pictures a year and you've
got about a million people vying for them. 10% of all
the guild members make 90% of the money, leaving 10%
of the money for the other 90% to split. Them's the
breaks, that's just how it is.
for writing that postscript. I'm Rick's neice and it
was fun to hear his voice again.
postscript? I'm sorry, but I can't remember what you're
for the advice, I think your right about getting PA
work that you really need to get recommended for the
job by someone. Ive handed out about 50 cv's and not
heard a thing. I havent stopped trying though. I think
London is in an economic slump at the moment which coincided
with the end of the tax year in april. Ive applied to
every film co.,photographic centre, video post/weddings
co. and cinema in my area of the country and cant get
any work. Not in the history of my unemployments has
this happend... Last year i got 3 interviews in a couple
of weeks..Must be an alignment of the stars or something.
Carbon arc? Boy that must have been an old cinema. Ive
only been in the game since 98 and ive always used xenons
with platter systems, no reel changes I couldnt imagine
changing reels 12 times during Lord OTRings, phew! way
too much work, that would interupt with me putting my
feet up and writing my scripts...still, i did have 13
screens to run around after. What type of films did
yeah, i had a gay chief projectionist once.Didnt have
your problem though, he liked younger boys..till he
came to work drunk once.After that i got his job!
my great consternation, the only films running while
I was projectionist that this theater were Russian ballet
films shot off a stage in Moscow. I'm not much of a
ballet fan so it was very difficult remembering where
the reel-changes were. Anyway, the job only lasted about
a month. This was in 1976.
a quick ramble really, what do directors (independant
ones that is) do when their not (trying) to make films?
I suppose everyone else out there can throw in their
6 cents worth on this one.. Just wondering cos Ive read
that you've been a PA and gained lots of experience
on commercial shoots etc.. although ultimately you said
it sucked. At present, Ive sent my Cv to nearly every
single film co. in London and have not heard back zip.
This is the 3rd or 4th time in my life that ive applied
for PA work and ive never gotten anything. The only
thing Ive gotten into is working in local cinemas as
a projectionist and now chief projectionist. You ever
done that? The pays crap and the hours suck. Ive driven
trucks, stacked shelves, worked in factories...is it
easy to get PA work in America? I could just be thick,
either that or the lack of any (film) business in my
pathetic small country (England) might be why even a
job as a PA is something which seems out of a lot of
not easy getting a film-related job anywhere. As I related
in my essay, I got my first PA job through Bruce Campbell
who had a full-time position with a production company.
From there we were both hired by another production
company, whom we then worked for many times over the
next several years. Once I was working regularly as
a PA, word got around that I was actually good at the
job and I got hired by other companies that would call
me. I quit working as a PA in Detroit and moved out
to LA, where I vowed to never work as a PA. After a
few years I reneged on that vow and began working as
a PA again. Once again, it was almost exclusively for
an old friend who had become a producer who specialized
mainly in music-oriented shoots, so that's how ended
up working on Sting's concert film and Mariah Carey's
first video, as well as a bunch of other things. But
initially anyway, it was always based on who I knew,
not what I knew. What you need to do is befriend someone
at a production company. Yes, I worked as a projectionist
for a while, at a revival theater in LA. It had the
old Simplex, carbon-arc projectors and you had to make
change-overs every twenty minutes. I kind of enjoyed
the job, until the old man that owned the theater came
onto me and I quit.
was wondering if you could possibly tell me or give
me some site links that could tell me about some the
special effects that you used in Pearl Harbor for a
special effects project that I am doing. If you could
do that for me it would mean a lot. Thankyou
I used? In "Pearl Harbor"? Well, I decided
to stick mainly with clay animation because I think
it's so realistic, although I did occasionally intercut
the animation with puppets. Although you were probably
fooled, all of the sailors were actually marionettes.
I saw your film " Running Time " some time
ago and enjoyed it very much. I was wondering if you
are planning to collaborate with Bruce Campbell on any
film in the future?
and I enjoy working together very much, and we'd both
like to make more films together, but there's no plans
or financing to make another picture.
the big old Auricon! That is taking me back too.. They
get the job done! The bulit in bonus with those cameras
is they can double for a lunch table on the set! I used
a Mitchell a few times as well.
really liked the fact that you could just plug the Auricon
into the wall, with a big fat plug like a vacuum cleaner.
I've used a Mitchell many times, although mainly for
shooting special effects plates. I used one on "Lunatics,"
as well as on the first "Hercules" TV movies.
They sound like meat-grinders, but the image is rock-steady.
Given my druthers, however, I really do like Arriflex
cameras the best. The 16mm and 35mm SRs are just great
not the drums it's the drummer it's not the camera it's
the cameraman so on and so forth.I feel the director
can make something out of not much! It takes a real
desire to do it and you will find the answeres .I started
out on a auricon with outdated film in the 60's Some
of my better stuff was done in those years.The key is
to enjoy the process.
completely agree, and I don't believe I've ever intimated
anything different. I do believe, however, that a director
can't do much with a bad script. But generally a director
has to want a script to be any good before it gets good.
If a director accepts a inept script, then they are
an inept director. I began shooting with a giant old
I do have the answer to your drop frame/ non-drop frame
question. This is a confusing one to most people in
this business, including myself and mainly when I was
working as a camera assistant and DP.
Now that I have been editing for a living for about
6 years, I feel I can answer the question properly.
It is really an anomaly
First, I must say that it is the silliest thing and
it is Primarily due to our NTSC system. Without getting
too technical, anything you have mastered to a video
tape with time code which is going to be 5 minutes long
or over to the frame and broadcast on televison, you
must use Drop Frame time code or the length of your
program will be incorrect in real time.
Confused? I thought so. Now the technical stuff!
Basically, when we changed from a black and white signal
to a color signal with television in America, we added
a colorburst signal which screwed everything up with
regards to the frame rate and quality of our signal.
Our system is broadcast at 30fps at 60hz and has less
scan lines than PAL which runs at 25fps at 50hz.
How does this all relate to timecode? Well, since the
added colorburst signal in America forces our system
to run at 60hz and 30fps it throws the time code generator
off. Therefore, if .3 frames are not dropped every second
while running at 30fps your program will not have an
accurate timecode reading in real time after about 5
minutes. That is why some film cameras have a speed
option which is 29.97fps. This is actually the accurate
frame rate for NTSC color broadcast television , isnce
it is dropping the .3 frames needed to be in sync with
the drop frame rate of time code.
Don't be frightened if you are shooting for televsion
and your camera doesn't run 29.97fps or 30fps, since
this can be taken care of in film transfer. However,
if you have the option and you are going to shoot for
strictly televison with a film camera, you should run
the camera at 29.97 and adjust your exposure accordingly
which usually varies about 2/3 to 1/4 stop. it is quite
Also, remember, if you want something to be broadcast
with the use of time code, always use drop frame time
code while editing and mastering anything 5 minutes
and over to cover yourself.
Here is some added info about video formats
PAL is the European standard system for video. Actually,
only the US and Japan have the NTSC standard. PAL has
625 scan lines which make up the signal you see on your
monitor or televsion. NTSC has 525. HDTV has 1025 and
runs at 24fps progressive scan. Notice too how much
closer PAL's frame rate is (25fps) to what the standard
film projecting speed is in the theatres and when you
are shooting film.
This is one of the reasons Europeans do not have the
Drop Frame/Non-Drop frame issue, and that is because
they did not use the extra colorburst signal when transfering
to a color television which is mainly due to the fact
that their electrical current standard is 220v/50hz
and ours is 110v/ and the colorburst signal runs at
PAL video is actually much better quality than NTSC
and that is due to the extra scan lines and the frame
There is a joke amongst film and video professionals
in Europe and America which is that NTSC stands for
"Never The Same Color".
I have done projects with PAL which originated in both
film and video and PAL's colors are far superior to
our NTSC standard, however, this will all change someday
when and if HDTV becomes the standard for home and broadcast.
I hope this helps!
knew you were the one to answer this question. Now even
I understand, and it's obviously a confusing issue.
All of the daily transfers of Her and Xena in New Zealand
were all PAL and all looked clearly and obviously better
than NTSC. Thanks for the info.
far as editing terminology goes, what is a drop frame?
And in what circumstances have I seen it used in?
a good confusing question that I can't honestly answer.
It relates directly to video editing, and I've been
getting 3/4 inch tapes with stickers on them saying
"Drop Frame" or "Non-Drop Frame"
for thirty years, but I can't explain the difference.
Perhaps Scott, the editor, could field this question
and fill us all in.
was the first pianist to receive a star on the hollywood
walk of fame? Was it Richard Williams?
I just wanted to add my Two cents to Eric. The benefit
of getting the High Speed SR-2 is that it has a PL mount
for the lenses which means that you be able to rent
Some nice Zeiss Lenses and use them with that camera.
The PL mount Zeiss lenses are much better and have far
better glass than the standard Arri lenses, so you should
ask whoever you are renting from if the lenses you can
rent with the SR-2 High Speed PL mount are Zeiss primes?
If the prime lenses are too much for your budget, you
can also rent the Zeiss 10-100 zoom lense which is a
very good lense that will cover you. If you choose to
rent the other standard SR-2, ask to see if you can
rent a set of Zeiss prime lenses and get the Arri to
PL mount adaptor, so you can use them.
don't have to get Arri lenses for the regular SR2, you
can get the Zeiss Super Speed lenses. And you are very
correct in suggesting that he get Zeiss lenses, if possible,
which I think are much more important than a high-speed
motor or a variable shutter. The one time I shot without
Zeiss lenses, on my last film, "Hammer," where
I used Panavision lenses, I noticed the difference and
didn't like it.
saw the original "Thomas Crown Affair" on
the weekend and was interested to know what you thought
about Steve McQueen as an actor. I read that he not
only demanded equal billing with Paul Newman in "Towering
Inferno" but he also demanded (and got) the exact
same number of lines as him in the script.
As an aside, if they made a similar film today (with
a whole host of big-name actors) do you think they could
do it? Personally, I think they'd struggle.
think Steve McQueen was great. It didn't have a huge
range, but he was terrific within his range, and was
a true movie star. What's the difference between something
like "Towering Inferno" and the remake of
"Ocean's Eleven"? If you have a big, all-star
cast, it just means that most the actors get to work
less days and no one has to take full responsibility
for the film. And it's not like those mid-70s disaster
films were all that good anyway. In "Towering Inferno"
the characters don't have names, just professions. In
one scene in an elevator McQueen and Newman talk and
things like, "Now listen, Architect. When will
you guys stop making buildings so tall?" "Now
you listen, Fireman, we make them the way people want
them." As for "The Thomas Crown Affair,"
it was never one of my favorites, but it's better than
is the difference in quality between:
1. Arriflex SR-3 16mm Camera ($300/day) - Arriglow,
Variable Shutter 5-75 FPS
2. Arriflex 16 SR-2 High Speed Camera ($250/day) - 5-150
FPS PL Mount
3. Arriflex SR-2 16mm Camera ($225/day) - Built-in Speed
What is the difference between the two SR-2's and what
makes the SR-3 better than the both of them?
Arri-SR3 has the variable shutter, which you can attach
to a laptop computer and change while shooting. This
is how you achieve the look of "Saving Private
Ryan" and "Three Kings," with that slightly
blurry, trailing effect, which is already overused and
a cliche. The SR2 High-Speed has the high-speed motor
for running extreme slow-motion. The regular SR2 has
the regular motor that will only run up to (I'm guessing
here) 72 fps, which is plenty slow. I say go for the
cheapest one and get more lenses. A bigger selection
of prime lenses is more important than a variable shutter
or a high-speed motor, in my opinion.
How are you Josh?
My question has to do with selecting a film stock for
16mm. Since the budget doesn't call for a month long
shoot, more like 2 weeks, I would like to do as much
natural lighting as possible. However, the filming will
take place half inside and half out. I've looked into
different film stocks and was wondering what you would
recommend for some forgiving stocks since we'll be moving
fast. What would you recommend for outside during the
day/night? Inside, what would you recommend using with
tungsten based lightbulbs in practicals and inside during
the day with sunlight?
Any help would be appreciated,
recommend 500 ASA stock for inside, and possibly 200
ASA or 100 ASA for outside. I'm sorry to burst your
bubble, but if you want your film to look any good you'll
have to do more lighting than you've suggested. The
best-looking films are really the ones with the most
lighting, and the most thought put into the lighting.
You do not achieve a good-looking film by not lighting.
To get a decent look in motion pictures you need to
begin your lighting by raising the basic exposure in
the whole room, and this is done with bounced fill light,
usually achieved by shining a light away from the action
into a white card, then you choose the specific spots
What is your opinion on getting insurance on film stock
and the processing of it in case it's damaged? I'm not
sure the exact name of this type of insurance. Do you
think this is worth it? Also, do you know if it's outrageously
think it would be expensive, but I don't know for sure
since I've never had it. Just getting standard insurance
coverage -- equipment damage, injury, worker's comp
-- on a film shoot has always been expensive enough
for me. You have to have that much insurance because
otherwise no one will rent you equipment. I think what
you're referring to is only on high-budget expensive
movies. It's probably cheaper to reshoot something that
didn't turn out, than have that insurance.
can see why you dont like sequils and prequils with
all the crap that has came out over the last 2 years
but i really like x-men and x-men 2 it might be because
im a comic book fan but i think they were good movies,
and x2 is not really a sequil seeing how it picks up
right where the first one left off
what do you think
and what did you think of spider man
is it not a sequel if it picks up right where the first
one left off? That's the standard approach to a sequel,
just like, say, "Rocky 2," which picks up
immediately after the fight that ends "Rocky."
But I particularly can't stand movies based on comic
books, and that's all you're talking about. I don't
like any of them, whether it's Superman, Spiderman,
Batman, Bugman, or Shitman. It's all shit, man.