Wednesday, January 31, 2007

10 Degrees of Lindsay Wagner

I sleep on a Select Comfort bed.

And last night as lay in my bed, a commercial comes on with Lindsay Wagner. She's pitching... Select Comfort beds. And she says her Select Comfort Number is 35. And I thought to myself "Hey, my Select Comfort Number is 45. I'm only 10 numbers away from Lindsay Wagner." So that got me thinking and thanks to imdb I was able to piece some things together and here's what I found.

She starred in
The Six Million Dollar Man TV series with Lee Majors, so I'm 10 numbers away from knowing Lee Majors. Cool.

She was also in the movie Nighthawks which starred Sylvester Stallone and Billy Dee Williams. I'll probably be dropping those two a line very soon.

She was in the movie Ricochet which starred none other than Denzel Washington, John Lithgow and Ice-T. So I got that going for me.

And there are slews of other shows she was in, but these are a few highlights.

Little did I know that I was quite famous, just for buying a slightly gimmicky bed.

And now I am allowing all of you to ride my coat-tails on to fame.

You're welcome.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007


I'm currently in training for the following Blog-A-Thons. You should join me.

The Contarianism Blog-a-Thon: Do the Contrarian (PartIII) February 16-18 at scanners:blog

The Lovesick Blog-a-Thon February 14 at 100 films

Top Five Tuesdays (T5T) Name Drops

There have been some great characters in movie history. And some even better names. So this Tuesday, give me your top 5 movie character names. And make 'em good.

Here are mine.

1. Snake Plissken - Kurt Russell from Escape From New York

2. Keyser Soze - ??? from The Usual Suspects

3. Vince Vega - John Travolta from Pulp Fiction

4. A tie between The Humongous - Kjell Nilsson from The Road Warrior and Master Blaster - Angelo Rossitto and Paul Larsson from Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome

5. Sickboy - Jonny Lee Miller from Trainspotting

Monday, January 29, 2007

One More Reason Why I Won't See Ghost Rider

First, because the comic character is stupid and should never have been made into a movie.

Second, because the movie is going to suck.

Third, because while I was trying to research information for another post, the goddamn ad for Ghost Rider came up over the page I was trying to read, so I had to wait for it to go away before I could continue with my business.

The Filter Is Broke

I saw the movie Idiocracy last night, the limited-release-in-the-theatres-pretty-much-straight- to-DVD-movie by Mike Judge the director and writer of Office Space. If you don't know by now, the movie focuses on an army guy (Luke Wilson) who gets frozen for what is supposed to be a year. Well, the freeze chamber doesn't get opened for more like 100 years and when he comes out of it, he has discovered that the world is stupid. It is stupid because it has been the dumb people who have survived because the smart ones did not reproduce like they should have. So the movie is about how Luke Wilson, a pretty average guy, is suddenly the smartest man in the world.

There were a couple of parts that stood out to me. First, the opening that explains how the world got dumber is very good. And little bits here and there throughout the movie to show the slow dumbing of America. The burger place Fuddruckers changes to Buttruckers and to eventually Butt Fuckers. A favorite TV show is all about a guy getting repeatedly kicked in the nuts. And the movie that won 8 Oscars that year was titled ASS and all it showed for two hours was a guy's ass.

So that raises the question and the point of this post... do I think the movie was good enough to have gotten a better release in the theatres. The answer is that if movies like The Benchwarmers or more recently Epic Movie are going to get a wide release, then why not this movie?

Or let me phrase this a different way. How come the turd known as The Benchwarmers gets a large release and this movie pretty much goes straight to DVD? I think if you watch the movie Idiocracy you'll know the answer. The problem is that Hollywood thinks that people would rather watch Jon Heder pick his boogers and eat them than watch a genuinely funny movie that involves original thought.

So do I think Idiocracy is a great comedy and a solid follow-up to Office Space? Not really. But do I think it's loads better than The Benchwarmers. You're goddamn right.

The filter is broken in Hollywood. Somebody call a technician.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

The Grindhouse Missing Reel

Man, I keep getting impressed by this movie. Is there anyway it will live up to the picture I have in my head? Not sure, but I'm loving every minute of thinking how good it will be.

Here's the latest I've heard. Rodriguez' Planet Terror will feature a missing reel. The action will cut and then pick up 20 minutes later and you will be forced to try to put together the pieces.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, Tarantino and Rodriguez are in full form and having a great time. And I couldn't be happier to be watching.

Montage Mayhem

The average movie lasts around one hour and 50 minutes.

In that hour and 50 minutes, a movie will cover a fair amount of time. Some movies cover hours. Some cover days. Others cover years. And even still there are movies that cover decades. So when you consider that, an hour and 50 minutes isn't a heck of a lot of time. So you need to rely on certain techniques to cover a major chunk of time in only a matter of minutes.

That's where the montage comes in. Sure it's a bit cheesy, but you gotta love what it does. Simple men train to be Gods in only minutes. Insurmountable obstacles are overcome in only seconds. People meet and fall madly in love in no time. Montages make otherwise tedious tasks suddenly palatable. And they do it to some pretty catchy music.

So I've picked a few montages. There are tons more that comes to mind, but I just featured a few here. A few that I will rate based on several criteria. Criteria in which all montages should be judged: the amount of time covered, the task accomplished in that amount of time, the device used to communicate the passage of time, the music, and the big finish.

Team America

Task Accomplished: Gary regains his confidence as he trains in gun shooting and martial arts to kill the terrorists and save Team America. Rank: 8

Amount Of Time Covered: A few weeks, maybe a couples weeks to a month. Rank: 6

Device Used To Show Passage Of Time: At first Gary can't hit squat on the firing range. And he isn't too surefooted when it comes to Kung Fu. But towards the end, he's a dead-eye and as good as Bruce Lee on the mat. Rank: 8

The Music: A brilliant song called of all things "Montage" written by Trey Parker that helps create the best montage spoof on film. Rank: 10

Big Finish: There isn't one climactic shot that helps close the montage, it just kind of fades away. Any other montage would suffer from this, but the combination of the classic montage techniques (training with guns, showing progress) with the music and lest we forget, they're all puppets, makes this montage bullet-proof. Rank: 9

Overall: 8.2

Army Of Darkness

Task Accomplished: With the help of the resident artisan, Ash creates a robotic arm and hand made from a suit of armor. Rank: 7

Amount Of Time Covered: Considering that this movie takes place during 1300 A.D. the ability to create a robot prosthetic hand and arm from a suit of armor should take a year or two. Rank: 9

Device Used To Show Passage Of Time: Ash's girlfriend knits a blanket or a sweater. Was there even such thing as knitting back then? Rank: 8 for the tongue-in-cheekiness of it all.

The Music: No music, but great sound effects. Rank: 7

Big Finish: Once Ash's death grip is complete, he turns a wine goblet to mush, much the the shock and awe of onlookers, then he raises his new hand and says "Groovy." Rank: 10

Overall Rank: 8.2

Karate Kid

Task Accomplished: Daniel-Son fights his way up the ranks of the Karate Tournament. Rank: 6

Amount Of Time Covered: Probably a day or two to cover the length of the karate tournament. Rank: 5

Device Used To Show Passage Of Time: Daniel watching the tournament, gnawing at his finger with complete anxiety. Rank: 8

The Music: The song "You're The Best" performed by Joe Esposito helps us navigate through the montage. It's 80's, it's cheesy and just try getting it out of your head once you hear it. Rank: 9

Big Finish: Daniel starts chipping away at the Cobras and finishes the montage by beating one of the tougher Cobras. Rank: 7

Overall: 7

Rocky III

Task Accomplished: Rocky finds his eye of the tiger again through intense training in the ring and on the beach. Rank: 8

Amount Of Time Covered: 3 to 6 months. Rank: 7

Device Used To Show Passage Of Time: Rocky racing against Apollo Creed on the beach. At first it looks like he's struggling and then towards the end, Rocky takes the lead and beats him. Rank: 7

The Music: Eye Of The Tiger by Survivor. Tell me this doesn't reside somewhere on your iPod or iTunes and maybe even on a workout play list. Sure it's cheesy, but it works. Rank: 10

Big Finish: Rocky beats Apollo on the beach and the two jump up and down for an uncomfortably long time in the water. Rank: 6

Overall: 7.6


Task Accomplished: Willard (Christopher Penn) doesn't know how to dance, so he's a bit skittish about the big dance Kevin Bacon has planned. So Kevin makes it his mission to teach Willard how to dance. Rank: 6

Amount Of Time Covered: With the dance not far away Bacon has to make magic in no time. Maybe a week. Rank: 6

Device Used To Show Passage Of Time: Willard has no rhythm. At first, we see Willard unable to even snap right, but after a few scenes of foot stomping, hand pounding and guy on guy dancing scenes, Willard finally seems to get it. Rank: 6

The Music: "Let's Hear It For The Boy" by Deniece Williams. It captures the feel goodness of watching Willard find his internal beat while dancing through high school halls, basketball courts and open wheat fields. Rank: 7

Big Finish: Dressed in cowboy garb, Willard performs a combination of electric slide, disco, break dancing and God knows what else dance moves much to the satisfaction of Kevin Bacon. Rank: 6

Overall: 6.2

Friday, January 26, 2007

Please Help Me Understand

The movie The Producers was created by Mel Brooks in 1968.

Then it was made into a musical that goes to Broadway and becomes a hit.

Then they remake the movie that was so good that they made a musical from it. Only they're making it more like the musical that is based on the original movie that was good to begin with.

The movie Hairspray was created in 1988 by John Waters.

Then it was made into a musical that goes to Broadway and becomes a hit.

Now they're remaking the movie that was so good that they made a musical from it. But they're making it more like the musical that is based on the original movie that was good to begin with.

The 10 Minute Film Class

Wanna be a film-maker?

Robert Rodriguez has it down to a science. He can help you become a film-maker in 10 minutes.

Thanks to exposure for the piece.

Good Morning Class!

Now a famous film-maker a while back said something about 'Everything you need to know about film you can learn in a week.' He was being generous. You can learn it in 10 minutes.

Set your watches we will be out of here in ten kids.

Okay, so you wanna be a film-maker?
(Class choruses 'YES')
Wrong! You ARE a film-maker. The moment you think about that you want to be a fillm-maker you're that. Make yourself a business card that says you're a film-maker, pass them out to your friends, soon as you get that over with and you've got it in your mind that you're one you'll be one, you'll start thinking like one. Don't dream about being a film-maker, you are a film-maker. Now let's get down to business.

Let's Play!!

What you need to learn is that being creative is not enough in this business. You have to become techinical. Creative people are born creative - you're lucky. Technical people however can never be creative. Its something they'll never get. You can't buy it, find it, study it - you're born with it. Too many creative people don't want to learn how to be technical, so what happens? they become dependent on technical people. Become technical, you can learn that. If you're creative and technical, you're unstoppable.

Experience - Do you have experience in movies? You do, right - you WATCH movies. Now you need to have movie experience - you're not going to learn from just watching movies, you're learn some things, you'll learn more picking up a camera, making your own films, your own mistakes - mistakes don't have to be mistakes, everything is subjective - a mistake to one person is actually a piece of art to someone else. Hide behind that, tell everyone its art, you can get away a lot.

Start with a screenplay. Does anybody here know how to write? No - good. Everyone else writes the same way. Start writing your way. That makes you unique. You can take writing classes, that's good, but don't bother to go to film school or you'll be making films like everybody else. We want to see your film.

How do you write a script? Well, you obviously don't have a lot of money or you wouldn't be in my class. So you wanna make a movie but you don't want to spend a lot. You're gonna come up with problems everyday on your set. You can get rid of the problem one of two ways - you can do it creatively or you can wash it away with the money hose. You got no money, you got no hose. So let's make a screenplay for a movie you can actually make without having to make your parents poor. Let's make a cheap movie.

How do you make a cheap movie? - Look around you, what do you have around you? Take stock in what you have. Your father owns a liquor store - make a movie about a liquor store. Do you have a dog? Make a movie about your dog. Your mom works in a nursing home, make a movie about a nursing home. When I did El Mariachi I had a turtle, I had a guitar case, I had a small town and I said I'll make a movie around that.

How do you visualise a movie? With storyboards, you can do that. You can previsualise your movie and draw them out, but what you should really do is make a blank screen for yourself and watch your movie. Close your eyes and stare at this. Imagine a screen, imagine your movie. Shot for shot, cut for cut. Sit there, close your eyes and get rid of everybody, get rid of all your thoughts in your head except your movie and watch your movie. Is it too slow? Is it too fast? Is it funny? Does it make sense? Watch it and then write down what you see. Write down the shots that you see. And then just go get those shots.

The man and his 16mm cameraEquipment. OK let's go over the equipment. The worse the better. You don't want anything too fancy, remember this is your first movie - you're not Spielberg yet. I used this one for El Mariachi, almost the same one, I used a 16M this is a 16S, this is exactly what I had. It helped me move fast because it was light, it was very noisy so I could do the sound in a wacky way, but this thing here would cost you about $2000. Don't spend that kind of money, find some monkey that own's one. I found somone who had one of these sitting around, he wasn't using it. I borrowed it from him, I shot my movie.

(Points at what look's like a damn heavy tripod) Look at it, this is a nice stand, its a very solid stand, y'know what's gonna happen? The camera is gonna stay on the stand, you're just gonna keep it there, 'cos its so nice, meaning your movie's gonna look...stiff. Take it off of there, sit in a wheelchair, push yourself around, get some energy in your film. That's the great thing about first films is that they have so much life and so much energy. Big productions can't even duplicate that energy, because they've got too good a stand and too much crew and everything is really smooth and polished and its lifeless. Add life to your film by getting rid of the fancy stuff. (Points at the tripods) Too good, too heavy, too good - just use your hands.

Here's a lightmeter, this isn't the write one, I broke my other one. This is a spotmeter, that's OK but it's too fancy. You just need one with a little white dome on it, point it to your subject, read the light, look at the number on your lightmeter - remember your lightmeter is your friend - feed that into lens and the iris, and then you're set. Start shooting.

Don't overlight. On Mariachi I had two lights, regular lightbulbs, they were balanced for indoor film, so look fine. In fact everyone said the lighting looked moody because there was very little light . Your mistakes, your shortcomings suddenly becomes artistic expression.

Finally, postproduction. When you've finished shooting your movie what do you do? (Picks up video mixer) These are your friends my friends. Video editing systems, computer editing systems, anything like that, its immediate, its easy, its cheap. Do not cut on film. Film is your enemy. You may be shooting on film but don't cut on film. If any of you want to cut on film get out of my class right now. Go spend $20,000 on a real film school and do that. You'll never get a job though - believe me.

Everything is on computers or video these days. Film is slow, film is expensive, film is not creative - film take's too long. Cut on tape that's what I do. I shot Mariachi for nothing. I edited on video. I had a three-quarter inch master that looked beautiful because the negative was transferred right to tape. There was no middleman so it looked like 35mm - clean, pristine. I made VHS copies of this, sent them out all over Hollywood. I never made a film print. (Picks up film strip) Waste of money. You have to string them up, they get worn out. They're expensive. They're copies of your negative. You don't want that, you don't want copies of your negative, you want your negative...on tape. Where people can duplicate it and watch it and get you work.

OK so you've made your movie, you've cut it, you've got it out, people want you. What do you do? The first thing you want to do is get an agent - right away. Hollywood is full of sharks, you need a shark working for you. These guys go and get you the best deals, they get you the best prices, they get you the best movies.

What you've learnt is what no one else has. How to make a movie dirt cheap. No one else in Hollywwod knows how to do that. You guys can make them cheap, you guys can make them better, don't get swallowed in the system, take advantage of your position.

Now I make movies that are still low budget but they look like big budget movies because I learnt the techniques that I just showed you today.

...and this is an e-flat - twang ! All right I've got to go back and do my own films so I hope you guys learnt something today, I hope you grab some of these cameras and go shoot something of your own, I hope you write down the ideas that you have, the dreams that you have.

Stop aspiring, start doing.

See you in Hollywood - be scary!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Screw This! I'm covering Smogdance

The Smogdance Film Festival has selected 40 films to feature this coming January 26th through the 28th. The festival takes place at Harvey Mudd College in Claremont, California. The festival will be celebrating its ninth anniversary with an interesting mix of animation, documentaries, comedies and short dramas.

The films will be screened at the Galileo Hall at Harvey Mudd College in Claremont, California.

Shit Folks I'm Scared

Thanks to Michael Bay and a few other hacks, recent horror movies for the most part have sucked ass.

The remake of Dawn Of The Dead is a nice exception.

And so is a movie titled Malevolence.

Seen it? Holy shit, it's scary. Like Halloween scary. Like you're watching a couple of people talking and then you notice that there's some creep in the distance standing there watching them, waiting to kill them scary.

I thought that touch was lost in lieu of flashy cuts, ramping, creepy sound effects and every other technique that's used to make up for the fact that a movie isn't that scary.

The story involves a group of three who rob a bank and meet at a house in the middle of nowheresville to count their money. Of course there's a snafu and the group finds themselves split up and trying to find each other. Meanwhile, a local crazy is stalking them. This movie isn't about the plot, it's about the old-fashioned techniques that horror masters like John Carpenter used to scare the bejesus out of people. There's a slow building creepiness about this movie that lingers long after you've stopped watching it. The spooks aren't in the killing (there's little to no blood) or even the chasing, it's in the idea that this killer is anywhere and everywhere, waiting to kill. Like seeing Michael Myers among the clothesline in the backyard.

The story I was told about this movie is that it played at a horror film festival and right after the first reel, the film broke. They couldn't fix the film so the director/writer Stevan Mena stood before the audience and told the rest of the movie. Based on the story alone, the movie won the grand prize at the festival. Not sure if the story is true or not, but this movie is certainly for real.

Thanks to Malevolence, great horror is still alive and waiting in the closet for you to fall asleep.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Screw This! I'm covering TromaDance

TromaDance Film Festival has also kicked off this winter and they've got some exciting news. The film Witchwise has been added to the list of film shorts that are being featured during the festival.

The short is directed by Joe Harris, the writer of Darkness Falls.

The film will screen this coming Saturday, January 27th at Kristauf's Martini Bar in Park City.

Hollywood's Short Term Memory

Hollywood has a short term memory.

Has anyone else noticed this?

Vanessa Williams was once Miss America, until she lost her crown due to some Penthouse pictures of a little girl on girl action. Not too long after she starred opposite Elmo in The Adventures Of Elmo in Grouchland, and more recently she stars in the hit TV show Ugly Betty. Hmmmm.

Anne Heche had an unexpected relationship with Ellen DeGeneres. Then all the sudden she was straight again, knocking on the door of a complete stranger's house saying she had been abducted by aliens. Now she's evidently not crazy, married to a man and starring in the TV show Men In Trees. Say wha?

Joel Schumacher single-handedly killed the Batman franchise with the piece of cinematic turd that is Batman and Robin, yet he continues to make films to this day. Wha tha?

John Travolta who is a trekologist decides to pay homage to the head trekologist L. Ron Hubbard by making a really bad science fiction movie written by Hubbard titled Battlefield Earth. It was crap but yet people in Hollywood still seem to think Travolta is a serious actor. Come again?

The plot for the Pixar movie Cars (2006) is almost a literal rip-off of the Michael J. Fox movie Doc Hollywood (1991). Yet people cheered "Pixar has done it again" and the movie is sure to pull an Oscar in the animation category. Son of a...

I would buy that Hollywood has a heart and believes in giving people second and third chances if it were anyone but Hollywood. The truth of the matter is, it's all about the bank and as long as he/she can make money it doesn't matter what they've done in past lives.

I'm sure one day very soon, Mad Max will do another Lethal Weapon movie where he will save the day and all will be forgiven and forgotten.

Ping Pong Anyone?

There's a first for everything. And here's the very first ping pong movie called Balls Of Fury.

Not sure there's been a huge cry for it, but who doesn't love Pong, Kung Fu and Walken? It was co-written and directed by Ben Garant of Reno: 911! fame.

Hopefully it's more in the tradition of Caddyshack than Dodgeball. Either way, I'll be in line.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Screw this! I'm covering Slamdance

It seems that Picturehouse has acquired the rights to the documentary The King Of Kong, currently in competition at the 2007 Slamdance Film Festival. New Line Cinema picked up the worldwide rights.

Get this. The King Of Kong follows a middle school science teacher as he battles a hot sauce mogul for the Guinness World Record on the arcade classic Donkey Kong.

The movie is directed by Seth Gordon and is produced by Ed Cunningham.

Picturehouse will release the documentary this coming summer.

Top 5 Tuesdays (T5T) Goes Red

Here's something you need to know about me.

I love redheads. Lady redheads.

A lot.

Bottled redheads. Real redheads. Doesn't matter.

So this Tuesday I want you to give me your Top 5 Redheads in movies. Can be men or women.

  1. Julianne Moore
  2. Tawny Kitaen
  3. Anne Margaret
  4. Lauren Holly
  5. Kirsten Dunst

Sunday, January 21, 2007

D.I.Y. Grindhouse Trailer

Rob Zombie is doing it. And so is Eli Roth. And if Rob Zombie can do it, anyone can.

The South by Southwest Film Festival is putting out a call to anyone who thinks they can make a good grindhouse type trailer to be featured in the upcoming Grindhouse movie.

A sample of the best submissions will be judged by Rodriguez and presented during SXSW this coming March 11.

Submissions are due no later than February 12th. Click the SXSW link for specifics and good luck.

It would give me great pleasure for an amateur filmmaker to show up Zombie. But really, you should set the bar a little higher for yourself.

Friday, January 19, 2007

I walked out on that piece of @#$%

I love movies a lot. And for that reason, it is very hard for me to walk out on a film. Even if it's terrible, I still try to look for some shred of decency.

But sometimes those shreds are not there even if you try really hard to look for them. And that's when you walk out on that turd.

I haven't done it much. I have wanted to do it more, but I guess I haven't had the nerve. Or I haven't had anything else better to do.

The first movie I walked out on was Jerry Lewis' The Nutty Professor. I was young, I wasn't liking the movie and I think I wanted to play video games instead.

The only other movie I have walked out on was The Matrix Revolutions. It was towards the end of the movie, I had a phone call I had to take and when the phone call was over, I had no desire to walk back in the movie theatre.

I wanted to walk out of Something To Talk About with Julia Roberts but my wife wouldn't let me. I also wanted to walk out on Before and After. I remember it being terrible and quite possibly the worst movie Meryl Streep has ever been in.

I was very disappointed with A History Of Violence. I found it to be horribly written and horribly acted. I also wanted to walk out on School Of Rock because I was expecting a Jack Black role along the lines of High Fidelity but instead I got a family feel-good movie.

I know, not a terribly impressive list. I know you've got better. So give it up.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Give It Up For The Tadpole

Yes the film festivals have been a buzz about Labyrinths, Queens, and giant monster Tadpoles. Seems another movie is making the rounds at the Toronto and New York Film Festivals and the word is is that South Korea can create monster movies the likes of Jaws. It's called The Host.

The Director Bong Joon-ho got together with the Weta Workshop, John Cox's Creature Workshop and The Orphanage to create a Tadpole that will evidently scare the bejesus out of you.

The trailer doesn't do too much for me, but here's what does: anything larger than me that's slimy, angry and can survive under water. Not sure when it hits the States.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Top 5 Tuesdays (T5T) Weathered And Tattered

A lot of great movies are described as "timeless masterpieces." Seems a little easy and cliched to call a movie that.

At least that's what I thought until I watched On Golden Pond the other day. That movie is not a timeless masterpiece.

It won 3 Oscars in 1982 and was nominated for countless others including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actress and so on. In 1982, the movie may have been Fonda gold, but today it's kinda corny.

So todays Top 5 Tuesday is about movies that have not weathered so well. They may have been masterpieces then, but not now.

Here are mine.

  1. On Golden Pond Like the story and love the setting, but the dialogue doesn't feel real and I thought Jane Fonda was truly dreadful.
  2. Breakin' There was a time when I wanted to make my chunky body move like a robot on a piece of cardboard. But no more.
  3. Dances With Wolves Bring up this movie and Goodfellas at the same time and see which one you talk about longer.
  4. Batman Tell me you don't cringe a little when Jack Nicholson walks into an art gallery blasting Prince on a Boom Box and defaces works of art with florescent paint.
  5. Titanic Now that technology has advanced and the crash isn't as amazing as it once was, doesn't this seem like a teen flick? And I would argue that this was never a masterpiece, but it sure did make a lot of people pretty giddy.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Where's The MLK Movie?

I have today off to pay tribute to a great man.

An incredible man.

His life is an amazing story.

Which begs the question. Why isn't there a Martin Luther King movie?

They've made a movie about Ghandi. And Malcolm X. And Nixon. And Patton.

About Ali. And Jake LaMotta. And Jim Braddock.

About Amadeus. And Johnny Cash. And The Doors. And Ray Charles.

About Capote. And Virginia Woolf. And J.M. Barrie. And Dorothy Parker. And Harvey Pekar.

About Bettie Page. And Andy Kauffman. And Ed Wood. And Diane Arbus.

About The Z Boys. And Rudy. And Vince Papale.

About Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. And Bonnie and Clyde.

About The Queen. And The Last Emperor.

There has been a movie about a city. A hockey team. A building. A flight. A car. And a dog.

But no movie about Martin Luther King.

Doesn't seem right, really.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

The Power Of Positive Thinking

So the Golden Globes are tomorrow and I would like to send good mojo to the following nominees.

The Departed

Martin Scorsese

Meryl Streep


The Office

Will Ferrell

Helen Mirren

Kate Winslet

And if I'm short on the Mojo, then I reserve it all for Scorsese.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Whore Director - The Interview

After several weeks of making calls and dealing with agents and production companies, I was finally able to track down Whore Director.

This was quite an honor, I mean look at the guy's filmography. I have been trying to interview this guy for a long time.

filmography - director
Halloween (2007) (pre-production)
Charlie And The Chocolate Factory (2005)
Bewitched (2005)
Rollerball (2002)
Red Dragon (2002)
Planet Of The Apes (2001)
Psycho (1998)
The Vanishing (1993)

P - Hello.

WD - Hello.

P - Wow, first let me say it's an honor.

WD - Well, thank you.

P - Where do I begin? First, let me compliment you on your body of work. Quite a list. And all unoriginal.

WD - Thanks. I pride myself on riding the coat-tails of great writers and directors.

P - How did you get into Whore Directing?

WD - Well, like they say, it's not what you know, it's who. I used to be a hairdresser in LA for this movie producer and he liked the way I cut his hair. Next thing you know, I'm remaking masterpieces.

P - What a great story. It must give great hope to the truly talented up and coming filmmakers out there that a hack like you can make it.

WD - I hope so. I mean, if I can make it in Hollywood...

P - Okay, I've been dying to ask you this question.

WD - Shoot

P - Do you have any original thought whatsoever?

WD - Nope. Not one original thought. I mean, why would I? There's loads of stuff already out there for me to affix to like a leach. There was one time a few years back, I think it was a day in March where for a second I thought I had something, but I was mistaken.

P - So when you're remaking a great movie, do you ever think you're going to remake it better than it was before?

WD - Absolutely not. (laughs) I mean, I'm not making art here. I'm making money.

P - (laughs) silly me. So what's next on the horizon?

WD - Halloween is in Pre-Production. And I'm thinking about remaking The Birds.

P - So is nothing sacred?

WD - Not since Ted Turner started colorizing.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Burn an hour with Tots

I'm going to break from my regular routine.

But not really.

I'm in advertising. It says so on my profile, so it must be true. And because of that, I advertise. So I'm going to do some advertising right now.

I work at a company called Barkley and we do work for Sonic Drive-In. More specifically, the Sonic 2 guys in the car, Pete and TJ.

And come to think of it, they're in movies. You can see them both in Stranger Than Fiction. TJ is also in The Ice Harvest and Pete is in The Weather Man. So you see, I'm staying real.

Anyways, we just launched an on-line game involving the 2 guys. It's called Tot Rejection. It's simple. It's fun. And you can find it at

It's the second on-line piece we've done with the Sonic 2 guys. The first was It's simple and fun too.

So check it out and burn a couple of hours with Sonic.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Plot Farm 1.1

It's another edition of Plot Farm where I give you 10 words/phrases for you to use to come up with your very own completely original movie plot. Remember, you can use all of the words/phrases or a few of them. You decide.

A dignitary
Long lost love
Car crash
A tuba
An unexpected call
A hammock

Good luck

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Top 5 Tuesdays (T5T) Talks During The Movies

Let's talk narration for a moment.

A lazy filmmakers tool for when he/she can't tell a good story? Sometimes.

Sometimes it's as central to the movie as the main character.

And sometimes that certain voice adds a little something to give it personality.

So give me your Top 5 Best Narrators. Here are mine.

1. Alec Baldwin in The Royal Tennenbaums Sophisticated in a tongue and cheek kind of way. He was unexpected and that's why it's number one.

2. Morgan Freeman in The Shawshank Redemption Man, what can I say about this except his voice is incredible. A true storyteller.

3. Robert Redford in A River Runs Through It Again, he's a storyteller. His voice is warm and tragic. It perfectly captured the theme of the movie.

4. Harrison Ford in Blade Runner The Director's Cut of this film cut it out because the only reason it was included was because the production company didn't believe people could track with the story. But again, his voice was unexpected and not as polished as it should be and I think that helped tell the story of the character.

5. Boris Karloff in How The Grinch Stole Christmas Is there a more sinister voice that so perfectly captures the evil glee in which the Grinch does his business? I don't think so.

Monday, January 8, 2007

Movies That Moved Me

Thinking back, I cannot remember seeing one movie that made me love movies.

There was no singular occasion that comes to mind that inspired me to invest serious money in Super 8 cameras and film. Or start a Film Club in High School. Or go to film school.

It's kinda sad, really. I don't have that great story to tell everyone what inspired me to be such a movie freak.

But here's what I got. I've got a handful of movies that changed my DNA forever.

And here they are.

La Femme Nikita A film school buddy was watching this when I stopped by his apartment. I had never heard of it. I came in a little bit after the beginning when Nikita is asked to execute her first assassination in the restaurant. I saw this scene and then asked my buddy to rewind it to the beginning so I could watch the whole thing. The whole movie was incredible and so unexpected. The scenes were powerful and the combination of music was spot on.

Reservoir Dogs For some reason or another I hadn't heard of this movie before. And when I saw it I was blown away. I hadn't experienced such a dialogue driven movie. Tarantino obviously had to simplify the sets because of budget, but you wouldn't know it because you're captivated by the characters and dialogue. It's like a one act play.

Battle Royale I had read about this movie on a website and knew that I had to see it. I bought it and watched it on a plane from Kansas City to Los Angeles. I couldn't stop talking about it the entire trip. The concept is disturbing and fits in right nicely with our reality competition mindset. The scene where the students are told exactly what has befallen them is funny/tragic/disturbing. I think this movie is still not sold in the US because of its violent nature, but I got it here.

Fight Club I saw this in a hotel room and it didn't really hit me until DVD. I felt like this is the only movie that spoke to my generation (that being Generation X). It speaks of roles that have been set for us and the materialism of our generation. The fighting was a metaphor for feeling alive, I never took it for anything else.

Royal Tennenbaums Again, I didn't really grip this movie until I got the DVD. This movie is as close to art on film as I have ever seen. Wes Anderson didn't miss a detail and every shot is framed as if it were a masterpiece. And with the exception of Scorsese, no one shoots slow-motion with music better. It's like they created it.

Blue Velvet I can't remember the first time I saw this film, but I remember every time since. I once e-mailed a friend and said that in twenty years, I don't know where film will be with advancements and plots and whatnot, but I can't imagine a movie getting under my skin more than this one did. I am an incredible fan of the dirty underbelly plot being that I grew up in a small town myself. This movie is beautiful and disturbing all at once. And I still can't get the fat lady dancing on top of the car while Roy Orbison plays on the radio out of my head.

Sunday, January 7, 2007

Ash Bathes In Old Spice

Man, the playoffs have sucked thus far. At least if you're a Chiefs' fan.

But here's the highlight.

I saw Bruce Campbell in a commercial. That's weird enough, but the product is even stranger. Old Spice. Yes, Old Spice.

It was a strangely appropriate commercial for him. And pretty damn funny.

Nice work Ash. Great to see you again.

Disecting Grindhouse

This is the new trailer for Grindhouse. We will call it Bizarro trailer because it is the complete opposite of the first.

The first trailer was amazing. Like something you would stumble across on an old dirty shelf in the back room. It looked to be from another film. You felt like you shouldn't be seeing it. It was anti-Hwood. It was cool.

Bizarro trailer is all Hwood beginning with the Dimension and Troublemaker logos at the beginning, followed by a tongue and cheek definition of what Grindhouse means and carrying into "from the directors who brought you..." It's not cool.

So here's the thing and this is what bugs me. Bizarro trailer goes against the concept.

The concept of Grindhouse, before you even get into what the two movies are about, is about everything Hwood is not. It's gritty, it has no big stars, there's lots of gore, it has unacceptable themes. It's not about production companies and "from the directors who brought you..."

And what really bugs me is, the creators aren't Hwood either. Tarantino and Rodriguez can do whatever they want. So what's with going all traditional with the movie trailer?

I've really spent too much time and space focusing on a trailer to a movie I know will be cool. But it's a disappointment nonetheless. And if you think for one second it will hold me back from seeing the movie, you're crazy.

Friday, January 5, 2007

Is the 300 trailer for real?

Here's something about me.

I'm usually an optimistic guy. I like to take things on the surface, and not dig too deep to look for the dirty underbelly. I'm simple that way.

So when I see the 300 trailer I get all giddy like a fat kid in a cake store. A double lard cake store, of course. I want to be first in line to see what looks to be one of the coolest movies in 2007 and maybe the last few years.

But then I wonder. I've seen lots of cool trailers that got me all fat-kid-giddy, but then have not delivered. They have duped me with ramping, epic scenes, good music and fast cuts making a shitty two hour movie look really good in a couple of minutes.

Some cases in point.

History Of Violence


Star Wars The Phantom Menace

The Matrix Revolutions

The Village

So until it comes out, I won't know for sure about 300, but for now I'm giddy.

I'm sure you've all been trailer duped. Let me know which ones.

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Top 5 Tuesdays (T5T) Makes A Comeback

In honor of the Boise State/Oklahoma Fiesta Bowl game last night this T5T is about comebacks. If you didn't see the game, Oklahoma was down the whole game and came back not only to tie the game, but take the lead with under a minute left. Then Boise State came back. Then Oklahoma came back and then Boise State came back again to win in overtime. It was one of the, if not the best football game I have ever witnessed.

So for this T5T give me your top five comebacks in a movie.

1. Robocop Peter Weller left for dead, missing most of his limbs comes back as half man/half robot to put his robo-foot up the ass of some bad guys.

2. Rudy Dude, tell me you don't cry "Rudy, Rudy, Rudy" any time you face impossible odds.

3. Pulp Fiction Incredible film that marked the rebirth of John Travolta. With the success of that movie Travolta was able to move on to even bigger, more important films like Battlefield Earth.

4. Miracle America overcomes impossible odds and sticks it to the Ruskies.

5. Road House Shit yeah. Swayze creeps into a no-name Missouri town and with the help of Sam Elliott gives the Double Deuce Saloon a remake and beds Kelly Lynch in the process.

Monday, January 1, 2007

Plissken in '07

On December 27th, 2006 John Carpenter's horror masterpiece Halloween was added to the National Film Registry. They add 25 each year.

This is a nice start but only scratching the surface. I think the library of Congress is getting short changed from all that John Carpenter has to offer. So as of right now, the morning of 2007, I am petitioning for Escape From New York to be added to the National Film Registry this year. Here are my selling points.

1. The title. Say it with me... Esape From New York. Not since Beneath The Planet Of The Apes has a title grabbed ahold of you and not let go.

2. The concept. While other filmmakers were dreaming up romances and coming of age stories, John Carpenter was thinking how in the near future, Manhattan Island was going to be a maximum security prison where the President Of The United States crashes.

3. Snake Plissken. With the exception of Kaiser Sose, have you ever come across a better name in a movie?

4. Isaac Hayes as the Duke Of New York. The dude drove around in a car with chandeliers hanging from the hood for crying out loud.

5. Ernest Fricken Borgnine. Let me say that again. Ernest Fricken Borgnine.

6. "You're Snake Plissken? I heard you were dead?"

The eye patch. What happened to the eye? Who knows? Who cares? It's just cool.

8. The music. Once again, Carpenter crafts a masterful soundtrack that captures the dread and creepiness of New York as a prison cell.

I've made enough points to sell Escape From New York at least 100 times. Now it's up to you. Show you're a fan by posting your name here and let's show John Carpenter some love.

Plissken in '07!