Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Tagline of the week: Courtesy of Domino

“Heads you live. Tails you die.”

This is the unofficial tagline for the film Domino. We hear actress Keira Knightly say these words as the screen fades to black in the last five seconds of the trailer .

Domino is Tony Scott’s latest directorial endeavor, a film apparently based on the true story of Domino Harvey, the daughter of Hollywood actor Lawrence Harvey. As a young woman, Domino Harvey was ramped up to be the next big supermodel out of the Ford Modeling agency, but instead decided to forgo her privileged lifestyle and become a criminal bounty hunter. Keira Knightly plays the lead role of Domino and quite openly admits that she based her character very, very loosely on the actual individual. In fact, the trailer begins by showing the text: Based on a true story…..sort of.

This is the kind of thing that drives me up the wall. There are films that are based closely and accurately on real events and people, like Shattered Glass based on the Stephen Glass scandal at the New Republic. Then there are completely original, fictional works like Evil Dead. But please, none of this partially, kinda true story B.S., attempting for some sort of half-assed credibility. Not to mention the fact that horror movies like the Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The Amityville Horror boldly proclaim during opening credits that they are based on a true story. The phrase “based on a true story” has become as trite in Hollywood as the “and they lived happily ever after.”

The cast of Domino is quite intriguing. It has your good old standbys like Christopher Walken and Jacqueline Bisset, but it also lists a wide variety of other stars (and in some cases former stars) in what I can only assume will be cameo roles. This list includes Mo’Nique, Macy Gray, Ian Zeiring, and Brian Austin Green among many others. Hold on, I know you’re thinking, did I just hallucinate seeing the names Ian Zering and Brian Austin Green? No, I can assure you, you didn’t. The whole supporting cast sounds like a mixer between the casts of 90210 and a Ludacris video.

I think Keira Knightly is a pretty good actress. She certainly has the looks, and she was good in Pirates of the Carribean and Bend it like Beckham, but mezzo-mezzo in the Jacket, and the God awful Love Actually. I buy the model portion of the character, but she better have done some major buffing up to convince me that she can lift anything heavier than a green bean, let alone an AK47 in each arm.

“Heads you live. Tails you die.”

Funny how if you take away the a couple s’ the tagline just takes on a whole different meaning. Don’t get your hopes up boys, I think Keira has a nudity clause.

The Pop Culture Vault Vol. 2 Part III Geek Backlash

Remember these guys? John Fritz, Frohike, and Langly”? I am guessing at least some of you are shaking your heads no. These three men made up “The Lone Gunmen”, a spinoff of the X-Files, which a college buddy of mine affectionately referred to as slashdot TV. These characters first appeared at the end of the first season of the X-files, and became mainstay recurring characters for much of the run of the show. The Lone Gunmen were nerdy, hacker, conspiracy theorists who hung out in a basement, and ran some sort of an underground newspaper. Awesome. Their unspoken ringleader, Frohike, was a friend and associate of Fox Mulder (geeks of a feather flock together) and would help him out whenever Mulder needed to hack into the FBI mainframe or bug the cigarette smoking man’s phone lines.

“The Lone Gunmen” aired in the fall of 2001 and sadly ran for only one season. Yesterday, FOX released the DVD set of this lone season, which includes an assortment of bells and whistles, like director’s commentaries and interviews. I confess, I found myself waxing nostalgic for the days of the X Files universe gone by. X - Files was THE show, and the Lone Gunmen weren’t able to commercially sustain an entire season on their own, but they were a great group of quirky characters that were both amusing and endearing to watch. The Lone Gunmen, might have been the geekiest show to ever make it on Network television. Most shows that are “deemed” geeky, like the Star Trek franchise, the X-Files, Sliders (Rembrandt lives on!), and the Twilight Zone are primarily about things that “geeks” like: outer space, aliens, lasers, monsters, time travel, etc. The “Lone Gunmen” was about a bunch of geeks who liked all of those things, and had no real lives outside of each other’s companionship and interests. This show was the biggest geek wet dream of all time, because it was the very nerdiness of the protagonists that drew then into their adventures. Their hacker abilities and UFO expertise was what allowed them to on a small scale, save the day every week to extricate themselves from situations that placed them in adventure; it was complete high fantasy, and I loved every minute of it.

The Lone Gunmen were unabashed about their own identity. They were geeks and they were proud of it. This is a sentiment which I wholly endorse, because I think far too many of us cover ourselves in a shroud of shame. Why is it any more embarrassing to know the name of every single episode of Original Series Star Trek, than to know what the pitching line up was for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1954? Why is someone dorkier because they follow the NASA space shuttle launches, instead of the personal life of Paris Hilton?

Here’s the other thing – something is embarrassing only if you are embarrassed by it. If you collect Star Wars figures and hide them under your bed, it only makes it that much worse when your friend goes to get the bouncy ball that roles underneath it and discovers you for what you are. A nerd of the grossest and most hideous kind. Much better I think, to display them plainly in the light of day, on your bookshelf, the way you would a vase of flowers, or a sports team mug. Don’t worry you have nothing to be ashamed of. I mean what’s the worse that could happen, you get cancelled and taken off the air?

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Rob Schneider if you're reading this, I love you man...

Work has been so busy recently that I let a whole week go by before I watched the new trailer for Deuce Bigelow: European Gigolo! I don’t know how I let THAT happen.

But, uh oh, I better not say anything too mean about Rob Schneider. Remember a couple months ago when LA film critic Patrick Goldstein lambasted the big Hollywood studios for not making more “serious” films that would reward them with Oscar nominations? Goldstein implied it was a pity that the smaller independent films were garnering more attention during the awards season than their big siblings, the studios. Goldstein also made the egregious error of using the Duece Bigelow sequal as a case study of Hollywood movie making at its worst.

Little did Mr. Patrick Goldstien know, that Mr. Schneider (or at least his assistant) reads the newspaper. A few days later Robbie took out a page in both the Hollywood Reporter and Variety to print this letter of retort.

Dear Patrick Goldstein, Staff Writer for the Los Angeles Times,

My name is Rob Schneider and I am responding to your January 26 front page cover story in the LA Times, where you used my upcoming sequel to "Deuce Bigelow" as an example of why Hollywood Studios are lagging behind the Independents in Academy Nominations. According to your logic, Hollywood Studios are too busy making sequels like "Deuce Bigelow" instead of making movies that you would like to see. Well, Mr. Goldstein, as far as your snide comments about me and my film not being nominated for an Academy Award, I decided to do some research to find out what awards you have won.

I went online and found that you have won nothing. Absolutely nothing. No journalistic awards of any kind. Disappointed, I went to the Pulitzer Prize database of past winners and nominees. I thought, surely, there must be an omission. I typed in the name Patrick Goldstein and again, zippo - nada. No Pulitzer Prizes or nominations for a "Mr. Patrick Goldstein." There was, however, a nomination for an Amy Goldstein. I contacted Ms. Goldstein in Rhode Island, she assured me she was not an alias of yours, and in fact like most of the World had no idea of your existence.

Frankly, I am surprised the LA Times would hire someone like you with so few or, actually, no accolades to work on their front page. Surely there must be a larger talent pool for the LA Times to draw from. Perhaps, someone who has at least won a "Cable Ace Award."

Maybe, Mr. Goldstein, you didn't win a Pulitzer Prize because they haven't invented a category for "Best Third-Rate, Unfunny Pompous Reporter, Who's Never Been Acknowledged By His Peers!"

Patrick, I can honestly say that if I sat down with your colleagues at a luncheon, afterwards, they'd say, "You know, that Rob Schneider is a pretty intelligent guy, I hope we can do that again." Whereas, if you sat with my colleagues, after lunch, you would just be beaten beyond recognition.

For the record, Patrick, your research is shabby as well. My next film is not "Deuce Bigelow: Male Gigolo 2." It's "Deuce Bigelow: European Gigolo," in theaters EVERYWHERE August 12th, 2005.

All my best,
Rob Schneider

Wow, somebody got a little hot under the collar! I’ve discussed this letter with some of my friends who’ve had different opinions on Schneider's actions. Some felt that it was “douche-y” of him to write this letter because he is a public figure, and should be acclimated to critic’s critiques. Others found it hilarious that Schneider would go so far as to take out full pages in the trades. Obviously he was not satisfied with just Patrick reading his letter, he needed the whole world to witness his retribution. I myself, found it hilarious. I have read several of Patrick Goldstein’s articles, and he definitely embodies that snide, pompous righteousness that many critics have. One of those pseudo-pundits who is content to just sit in front of their computers all day and type away vitriolic diatribes that tear apart other people’s artistic endeavors. These people are more often than not, frustrated artists who due to cowardice and neurosis can’t force out their own creative product so they must be content to pan the creativity of others.
(Uhhh….is it getting hot in here, or is it just me?)

Unfortunately Defamer exposed shortly after that Patrick Goldstein had in fact been awarded some no – name publicists guild press award. For me this took away some of the sweetness of Schneider’s zing.

But let’s stop romanticizing mini press scandals and get back to the issue at hand, DUECE BEGELOW: EUROPEAN GIGOLO. The trailer is piss poor, but maybe that’s just because it doesn’t do the film proper justice. (Maybe my boss will double my salary today and give me a two week paid vacation to the Bahamas!) I have to confess that I have not seen the original film that spawned this franchise, but apparently it did well enough to merit a sequel. So who knows?

In the words of an agent (who I overheard a couple days ago) “European Gigolo is gonna be huge! Schneider is gonna go huge after this!” (uhuh, and maybe that hooker last night will return his wallet with all his credit cards still inside!)

Monday, March 28, 2005

Bay's Day

We all know about how I feel about Michael Bay, and wouldn't you know it there's someone out there in blogger world who feels even more strongly than I do. A friend of mine discovered this little gem and sent it my way. If you wish to chuckle at MB's expense surf over to Michael Bay's Blog . This blog is genius because it is written as if Mr. Bay himself is writing the posts. Parody at its best, I promise you, you will not be disappointed. I will warn you however, this blog is not for the faint of heart. Apparently Mr. Bay has quite the potty mouth.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

To All You Harry Haters

This is the cover for the latest installment of the Harry Potter series which will be released in book stores on July 16th.

This will be the sixth book in the Harry Potter saga, and I am eagerly awaiting its arrival.
I think the Harry Potter books are great, fun, fast, imaginative reads. J. K. Rowling has succeeded in creating an entirely different universe within these books; it is a universe with its own rules, characters and history, and this is part of what makes these books so engrossing.

I think the films are all solidly enjoyable as well, especially the third one, Prisoner of Azkahban which benefited greatly from Alfonso Cuaron’s artistic directorial talents.

But for a series which is so beloved, I have also been surprised at how many Harry Haters there are everywhere. The set that I’m particularly exposed to, are the hipsters in their 20’s and 30’s who seem to pride themselves on being clever and discerning enough to hate such “populist trash” (one of the many terms I’ve heard uttered against the books). Here are some other statements that I hear frequently about Harry.

“Ugh, I hate Harry Potter, its/he’s so stupid.”

“I don’t read books for children.”

“Nothing that is that popular could ever be that good.”

“Harry Potter is gay.”

What surprises me most about the people who say these sorts of things is the fact that more often then not, I discover that they have read none of the books. Not a single one. Yet somehow the Harry Haters are determined that their hatred is right and true because it is based on a foundation of instinct and presumptive righteousness. I have seen people put on their friendster profiles that they wish to meet someone who reads books, as long as they are not Harry Potter books. I’ve seen profiles on dating websites where people use the fact that they don’t read Harry Potter to describe themselves.

Now first of all, I don’t have much of a penchant for people who define themselves by things that they hate rather than things that they love. What is it about hating something popular that makes people feel cool or intellectual. It’s G.D. lunacy. You know who I'm talking about, those people who refuse to see Titanic, just because the masses flocked to it. I’m not saying that Titanic is a masterpiece, or wasn’t overrated, but for cryin’ out loud, you’re not special because you’re one of the only people around who’s holding out.

Also it irks me to no end, that people are making judgements without any sort of support or evidence. It would be one thing if the Harry Hater had read one or two of the books and come to the conclusion that it was simply not their cup of tea. That’s fine. It’s those who have not read the book, but assume all sorts of things about them based off hearsay and sound bites. If you’re going to hate something, make sure you have actual reasons to do so. That’s why I read Ann Coulter’s stuff – so I can be intimately familiar with every idea she has that I despise.

Also, I disagree with the anti- Children’s Literature stance. Roald Dahl, Judy Blume, John Bellairs, Dan Elish, Jean Merrill: these are all authors who created wonderful worlds that included elements of fantasy and reality. Their books were filled with adventures and excitement. Why is it that imagination is often viewed as childish? Critics are often quick to put down wildly imaginative stories that involved fantastical elements as nonsense. When people refer to books and stories as being strictly for children, they are implying that only someone of an under developed mind, and lack of life experience could appreciate something so detached from reality. But people often have a romanticized idealization of childhood; they categorize it as a period of life that is problem free and founded on dependence, ignorance and innocence. But the reality of childhood, is that kids often have to deal with “adult” like social and emotional challenges all the time. Abuse, illness, adoption, death, moving, divorce, poverty, failure: these are all things that children from all walks of life may be forced to deal with.

The Harry Potter books deal with these sorts of “real” issues. Just because they involve witches and goblins instead of guns and sex, does not mean that they are devoid of meaningful and powerful subject matter rooted in reality.

In closing, to all you Harry Haters out there,'re not as cool as you think you are.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Elijah on Ellen

Anyone see Elijah Wood on the Ellen Degeneres show this Wednesday? Mr. Wood was there to promote the release of the upcoming Sin City. Since stalking former hobbits is one of my past times, I TiVoed it, and boy, was it one of the most awkward interviews I've ever seen in my life.

First of all I'd like to know who had the bright idea of booking Elijah Wood on Ellen? Ever see Ellen? Next time you get a chance, take a look when the camera pans around to the studio audience. You might not be surprised to discover that the audience is filled with middle aged mommies, not desperately geeky fan boys. What's more is I doubt that the female heavy audience is pumped to go see Sin City, nor is it likely that that many of them are familiar with Frank Millers work. (Isn't it awful, I'm stereotyping my own gender, oh well)

Maybe it was the marketing department at Dimension Films, maybe it was Elijah's publicist. But regardless of who's decision it was, the results were fairly disastrous.

Here's a rundown on what happened.

Ellen announces to her screaming audience to "welcome young actor Elijah Wood who appeared in the Lord of the Rings films and is in the upcoming film Sin City!!!" The mommies clap and scream, though surely some of them are wondering if Sin City is a retelling of the story, Sodom and Gomorrah. He runs out onto the stage looking jovial enough, and greets Ellen like a long lost friend. They complain about LA traffic in the rain, and Elijah tells her it took him two hours and fifteen minutes to get to the studio from his home in Venice. He alludes to the fact that he had a driver, who gave him a choice of DVD's to watch in the car on his way there. One of the DVD's the driver had was Lord of the Rings, but Frodo being the modest man he is declines to watch that one! Wood reveals that he chose a DVD which, set classical music to soothing images, and he ended up falling into a slumber, much like most of the studio audience has probably done by this point.

Then, in an apparent effort to change the subject of the interview to more exciting topics than say, napping, Ellen asks Elijah if he has kept to his New Year's Resolution to stop biting his nails. He says no. Here, word for word, is a portion of the acutal transcript:

Ellen: The last time you were here you made a new year's resolution to stop biting your nails....have you stopped?


Ellen: You didn't?

Elijah: No, I think its almost worse than it was last time.

{Ellen gingerly takes Elijah's hand in her own and examines his nail beds.}

Ellen: Oh my Lord!

Elijah: Isn't that terrible?

Ellen: Horrible!

Elijah: I know.

Ellen: That's not right.

Elijah: No, it isn't.

Ellen: Put gloves on or something, so you can't get to them.

Elijah: But you used to right?

Ellen: I did. But I stopped. Now I get manicures, but they just you know...

Elijah: That seems to be the way to go. To get manicures, which makes you sort of..

{Elijah clenches his fist and shakes it with meaning}

Elijah cont'd: you know, take better care of your nails, cause your mind is into taking care of them.

Ellen: Yeah.

{There is a strange chirping sound coming from the audience. Crickets perhaps?}

Ellen: You can't keep doin' that.

Elijah: No, I know.

Ellen: No!

Elijah: It's bad. And the skin around it...its really awful.

Ellen: No, you're gonna hurt yourself.

{No Ellen, the audience is wanting to hurt themselves}

Ellen: No. Well, make a resolution now, its not New Year's, but make it right now.

Elijah: It doesn't have to be New Years. I'll make it now.

Ellen: Start today. Take care of yourself.

I could go on, but in the best interest of everyone's keyboards I'll stop so you don't short something out with the drool of catatonia.

Finally after more inanity, they finally get to the supposed point of the interview: Sin City. Ellen refers to it as..."very interesting looking," and its clear that she's a bit flumoxed by it.

Ellen pulls out a story board of green screen shots where Elijah is doing some wire fighting moves with Mickey Rourke's double. I can only imagine the sort of blank stares the Mommies were giving Ellen and Elijah. I mean we all love our mommies, but when was the last time your mother used the term "green screen" in any other context than window dressings. As for the term "wire fighting" the film that would probably come to most of these womens' mind is Mommie Dearest.

Ellen pulls out a publicity shot of Mickey Rourke as Marv, who she says looks "kinda scary" and Elijah tries to explain to her that the entire film is based on a comic book (come on Elijah, graphic novel, we call them graphic novels...)

Elijah tries to awkwardly explain how wire fighting works. People are fleeing for the emergency exits.

And then finally, in the most unconvincing tone I have ever heard Ellen use, she ends the interview by saying:

"So, uh, Sin City, comes out April 1st,...can't wait to see it."

Yeah, Ellen, I'm sure you can't.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

The New Yorker says: M. Night, you crazy!

Ladies and Gentleman, this just in, front page on both of the trades this morning.....(drumroll please)

M. Night Shyamalan's next project has been announced!

According to Variety:

"M. Night Shyamalan has moved to Warner Bros. Pictures for his next pic, "Lady in the Water." Story concerns a building super who finds a sea nymph in his apartment building's pool. Shyamalan wrote the script and will produce the film....blah, blah, blah"

A sea nymph living in the pool of an apartment building aye? Sounds like Splash meets Poltergeist 3.

Poor M. Night. I have to say I feel kind of bad for the guy. When your first well known piece is something like The Sixth Sense (his first script was actually Stuart Little) there's so much pressure, no? All the film nerds are just waiting for you to take a fall. People have jumped on all his films after Sixth Sense like blood thirsty hounds. I actually thought Unbreakable was great, and Signs was really strong, except for the very end. If I could just recut those last five minutes, I swear....

As a friend of mine said a few weeks ago "its trendy to hate The Village" - and to a certain extent I think that's true. I mean at this point everyone's become so familiar with M. Night's clever twists at the end of his movies, that people just sit there trying to dissect the film scene by scene, instead of just sitting back and enjoying the piece as a whole. Now I definitely have issues with The Village, but I also think it got unusually harsh criticisms because people expected the movie to be something that it was never going to be. Disney marketed that thing like it was an out and out horror film (which money wise makes sense I suppose) when really it was a historical drama/socio-political commentary. The Village had the plot of an indie film, not a big Hollywood blockbuster. There was no way that people were going to walk out of that movie and not be disappointed after the way that the trailers for it were cut. I do think there were some pacing problems in the story, and structural issues that could have been resolved in the script. But, I honestly believe that if The Village had been released as an independent film by some no name director people would have been running down the streets talking about how brilliant it was.

At any rate, I'm not really sure where he could possibly be going with this whole sea nymph thing. Is it going to be a romance between her and the building's super? I don't think I have the strength in me to endure that. Maybe he actually will make a horror film this time, and the nymph will start stalking him, and kill his girlfriend and stuff. That doesn't sound too promising either though. I think M. Night has just officially made the turn in his career that I was recently attributing to Tim Burton. He's undergone the metamorphasis from creative film maker to crazy person!

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Batman Begins: an evidentiary analysis

When I first heard that the powers that be (aka Warner Brothers studios) ordained that another chapter should be added to the Batman film franchise, I went through the emotional stages typically associated with film franchise sequals. First there was denial, then grief, followed by anger, amusement, and finally acceptance.

Remember Batman & Robin? Man, that was a stinker. One of the wost movies EVER. I mean Batman forever wasn't great, and certainly didn't hold up to the first two, but at least it was watchable, and Jim Carrey was pretty funny as the Riddler.


At any rate, there was a while when it looked like the Batman franchise had been laid to rest for good. But never fear! You can always count on a Hollywood studio to recycle and resurrect an idea for as long as they can milk money out of it. So eight years after Arnold uttered those immortal words "In this universe, there's only one absolute... everything freezes!" Batman and legacy is back. Batman Begins is a prequal, which is an interesting idea, because its always neat to learn about the genesis of a character that we've known forever. But there are things that worry me.


Hey Bruce Wayne, what a lovely building that is behind you. The architecture is fabulous, and looks so classical. You look like you're in London, wait a are in London!

What's up with the film being set in London, UK. What happened to good old dark gothic Gotham? I guess the backstory to this is that after Bruce Wayne's parents were murdered in Gotham he left the country for a while and studied abroad, not returning to Gotham until his Batman alter ego was already fleshed out. Still if Christian Bale walks outs on camera and has a British accent, I am going to throw myself down in the aisle and lay prostrate for the rest of the movie. Batman cannot have a British accent, he is our all American gritty crime fighter. I will miss the Gotham sets as well. *sigh*


Here's the man of the hour, the star himself - Christian Bale. Yes he is hot, and yes his physique is astounding, but can he pull off the tricky one, two punch of the Bruce Wayne/Batman combo? A few of my friends and I have discussed that Val Kilmer was a solid Batman, but a terrible Bruce Wayne, and George Clooney was a great Bruce Wayne, but an awful Batman. Not since Michael Keaton have we seen an actor fully embody both Bruce Wayne and Batman. Though Keaton is not considered to be the most traditionally handsome of the three, he was by far the sexiest. He somehow managed to completely convey the whole dark, brooding, tormented, mysterious caped crusader thing that really encapsulates both Bruce Wayne and Batman. That moment in the first Batman when he goes to get the film from Vicki Vale, and all you see is him throwing the cape over both of them.... that was pretty hot. I do love a man in a cape.

I am actually fairly optimistic about this casting choice, because I think over all Bale does good work.


Katie Holmes, you're very beautiful, but are you a movie star? Let's be honest First Daughter was box office poison, and Abandon was no great shakes either. In fact the last thing I think she was noticeably good in was Go, and that was six years ago. Sure she charmed us as the coy tom boy in Dawson's, but she can come off flat in a lot of stuff too. I think a lot will be dependent on her chemistry with Christian Bale. Here's to hoping.


Liam, I'm not exactly sure what role you will play in the film, but it seems to be a bit of the old Qui-Gon Jinn action. A mentor who teaches his young paduan how to fight, in this case it is Batman instead of young Jedi. This is another heartening casting choice in my opinion. Mr. Neeson has proven himself to be quite talented and versatile over the years. Hooray.


Freeman and Wilkinson and Caine, Oh My!
This is quite the supporting cast that Chris Nolan and the studio has lined up. It's looking like the screen is gonna be burning up with screen presence come June!


Holy spark plugs Batmobile! Who did this to you? Was it Extreme Makeover: Automobile edition? Let's be honest the batmobile is the most brutal of the evidence. What the hell happened to my sleek, aerodynamic, futuristic batmobile with art deco undertones? I mean this thing looks like a tonka trunk crossed with a G.I. Joe tank. Will Batman be forced to beat the Scarecrow in an all out monster truck bash match? I sure hope not.

All in all, based on the evidence above, I'd say this film is probably going to be pretty good. I have faith in Chris Nolan to do good work with the actors and the visual style. The screenplay was co-written by Nolan and David S. Goyer, who wrote Dark City back in the day, but recently has been converted to hackery with the Blade franchise. The best case scenario for the script is a pretty good one though, when looking at the optimum talents of each writer.

Fight on Dark Knight! Fight on.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005


Tomorrow it will have been a month since I first started this blog. As I was looking over some of my posts I came to the realization that although the name of this site is "A New Yorker in Hollywood" I haven't really written alot about New York City itself. As I was thinking about the differences that people always talk about when they compare New York and Los Angeles, there was one particular difference which really hit home.

On a personal level, New York is all about not being known, and LA is about becoming known.

One of the things that I love about New York City, is that I can walk out among the tall sky scrapers, sit and have lunch at a coffee shop, browse at a bookstore, and not run into a single person that I know. On the other hand, when I go out in LA I feel like I am bound to run into someone I know. I am always dreading that I will run into someone I used to work with, or an accquaintance who's name I can barely remember. Inevitably when I have these run-ins, we either pretend like we don't see each other, or we engage in incredibly awkward small talk. Tourists and residents of LA alike go out in the hopes of running into someone famous, or seeing someone fabulous. In essence they are seeking to find someone that they know as they step out from their private lives and into the public ones. I won't pretend that it can't be fun and amusing to see someone who you saw up on the big screen the night before, having eggs and coffee the next morning. But I do find that LA's culture of "a place to see and be seen" can get incredibly tiresome. New York City is not without its own "scene" and fair share of Hollywood sightings. But there is something about NYC that allows for inconspicuousness; an element that makes incognito possible.

I have friends who grew up in small towns where every time they went to a local store on Main street, everyone would know their names, and ask them how their parents were doing, etc. I can appreciate the fact that these towns had a strong sense of community and were a close knit group. But I also think that personally, I would be driven crazy by everyone knowing my business. I don't want to step out of my house to pick up some milk at the grocery store and run into all these people who know details about my personal life. I don't want the history traveling with me. I prefer to be the unknown stranger riding into town, rather than the familiar neighbor.

NYC has the tall, sweeping, at times graceful, at times harsh, lines of the indomitable sky scrapers. It has the subways, the gothic churches, the gloriously vast central park, and an infinite amount of nooks and cranies courtesy of alleyways and sub-street level brownstone entrances. I remember when I used to play manhunt on the grounds of The Cathedral St. John the Divine when I went to school there, and how it seemed like there were an unending amount of places to hide. Somehow that made me feel safe. I feel that way about NYC on the whole: you never know what little cave-like bar, or underground restauarant (underground in the literal sense) you may find.

Here in LA things seem more out in the open, more spread out. I remember the first time I drove north on La Brea from the ten, I felt so unbelievably vulnerable. Where were the tall buildings? Why was everything so squat and spread out from each other? And what the hell were a bunch of hills doing in the middle of my new city? Where could I run to for solace? Instead of subway stations on every corner, there were parking lots. But you can't hide and be anonymous in a parking lot the way you can in a subway station. In a subway station you can sit on one of those crusty wooden benches at the end of the train track, and listen to the street muscian bang away on their instrument as you observe the array of people waiting for the train to come. There's the wallstreet guy who went uptown for lunch, the mom on her way to pick up her kids from school, the guy who works for a courier service, the kids that are playing hookey, the nurse on her way to her shift. Ah Subway, thou art the great equalizer.

Let me make a clear distinction here for a second. When I use the word hide, I don't mean that I don't like to be around people. I do. In fact I wish that the streets of LA weren't so generally empty. I wish there was more foot traffic. There is something that I find exhilirating about beeing in th bustling throng of Times Square or Grand Central, as you feel all those people and lives swarm and surge all around you. You can totally blend in and just ride the tide of the crowd. I find something very poetic about a crowd of people, everyone is different yet everyone is the same. Each face is like a tile in a moving mosaic.

Most places that you go in LA, there's not usually a lot of people with you on the sidewalk. A lot of times in fact, you may be the only person on the sidewalk. This sort of thing also makes me feel vulnerable, though there are plenty of people in this town who love it, and take this opportunity to strut their stuff and make heads turn as they walk past the cars on the road. Could it be that I'm afraid of being judged? I would never presume to make a generalization as sweeping as "New Yorkers aren't judgemental, Angelenos are" because that's not true. I think it has to do more with the way that people interact. Everyone out here wants to be noticed. So when two people interact out here, its often differnt I find, then when two people interact in NYC. I'm partial to sort of interactions that I find more common in NYC. Two people from two totally different walks of life commenting on the state of common existence that affects them both. "The train is running late." "The weather is really something today isn't it?" "The cabbies are getting more and more out of control aren't they?" These are conversations with no strings attached, and no expectations. Generally speaking I find that conversations between two strangers here can skew to "Where can I send you my script?" "Let me give you one of my business cards." "Who did you say your agent was?" If you're of a certain age bracket in LA (anywhere from 18 to 60) its somewhat assumed that you are somehow connected to the entertainment industry. So where's the anonymity in that?

I want to feel the push of the crowd again. I want to feel dwarfed by the massiveness of architectural granduer. I want to walk into a diner with fifty people I don't know, and sit and think and watch. These things don't make me feel lonely and small. They remind me who I am. They make me feel at one with the world.

We're not the only ones!

While trolling on I came across this posting about Ricky Gervais. Apparently we Americans aren't the only cultural illiterates around, British people get lazy too!

Ricky says: “I am not a big reader,” he said... He has read only one novel in his life, “The Catcher in the Rye.” He was 28 at the time. “It was great,” he said, “but there’s only so much time in the day.”

Wowee. By this logic the number of novels that one has read seems to be inversely related to one's propensity for good fortune in this town. The less novels the more success. Crap. I'm gonna go revoke my membership to the public library now...

Monday, March 21, 2005

Trying to Keep the Faith

All this talk about the new Star Wars movie has gotten me to thinking. Thinking about film directors who I once idolized, but have become recently disenchanted with, due to their latest works. After George Lucas, I'd say the next on my list might have to be Tim Burton.

What the hell happened to Tim Burton?

I don't mean what the hell happened as in, where is he, why hasn't he made a movie recently? I'm using the colloquilism to connote the despair that I feel as I look at Burton's track record and wonder HOW THE HELL he went from doing films like Beetle Juice, and Ed Wood, to Planet of the Apes, and Big Fish? Are all incredibly talented artists just bound to go insane sooner or later?

There was point in time when Tim Burton seemed to be one of the most creative and original minds in Hollywood. His unique visual style and the stories that he chose to tell, stood out among all the other films of the time. Pee Wee's Big Adventure, Beetle Juice, Batman, Edward Scissorhands, Batman Returns, and Ed Wood are all so wonderfully dark yet whimsical at the same time. These films posess a visionary artistic quality lacking in so much of the bland movies that are churned out by the Hollywood movie making machine.

Mars Attacks! which was a genius concept, was the first sign I had that something might be awry in the mind of the master. Of course without hindsight, and in the context of his other films at the time, I didn't pay alot of attention to some of the sloppiness that seeped through the narrative seems of the movie. Up until then the only real complaint I had ever had with his artistic choices was the fact that he made Winona Ryder go blonde for Scissorhands.

Then came Sleepy Hollow. When I first heard he was making this film, I became really excited. The story of Ichabod Crane had always been one of my favorites growing up. It was deliciously spooky source material with an intriguing mythic element to it that I thought Burton's telling would be a smash hit. Unfortunately with Sleepy Hollow, a lead brunette actress with a bad blonde dye job was the least of his problems. While the film was still quite striking visually, the story lacked cohesiveness, and the characters felt flat. It was the first time that his work felt shallow and superficial. Previous to that he had always chosen a tale that had layers to it, that could be appreciated on different levels. But Sleepy Hollow was just eye candy.

What was next? Ah, yes The Planet of the Apes. I could maintain an entirely seperate blog that was just devoted to my thoughts on the POTA remake. First of all, I've heard it wasn't necessarily Burton's idea to remake the film, but whoever's idea it was should be shot. I have mixed feelings on remakes as it is. But to remake the original Planet of the Apes, a sci-fi classic and an amazing film, which also has one of the best twist endings in the history of cinema is absolutely, positively ludicrous. That being said, Burton's remake as an entity in and of itself, does not hold up at all. First off, this was actually his first film in which the visuals were really not that impressive. Ok, well the apes looked pretty great, but that was about it. Since he decided to shoot the second half of the film desert for that God awful battle sequence, there wasn't really much set to speak of. Not to mention the fact that they screwed up the story. Between having the humans on the Ape Planet be able to speak and that cockamamie ending with the Abraham Lincon Ape it was all I could do not to toss my Beetle Juice DVD out of the window in an impulsive rage.

Big Fish was just an expensive Hallmark card. Sort of sweet in its intentions but ultimately forgettable and disposable.

So now here comes his next film. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I was a huge Roald Dahl fan as a child, as well as a fan of the orginal film. I am intimately familar with this marvelous story filled with fantastical events and colorful characters. So there was admittedly, a part of me that was instantly curious to see what Burton could do with it. But at the same time, there was the part of me that thought to myself, "Really Tim, another remake?" I mean what was one of the most creative directors to emerge in the last twenty years, doing, filming remakes of movies that were already incredibly well known and loved?

The teaser trailer came out a couple months ago. I wasn't really sure what to make of it. I like the fact that its wierd, and the bizarro song playing in the background. All the sets and costumes look great except Wonka's factory looks a little more like it did in the original film than I would have liked. Its Wonka himself that I'm not so sold on. I think Johnny Depp is a very strong actor, but I'm so used to seeing Gene Wilder's mercurial smile peek out from the brim of that purple hat. Johnny Depp's Wonka sort of looks like the more demure younger sister of Marilyn Manson. Still, being the idealistic fool that I am, I'm hopeful that this will be Burton's return to his roots. A fantastical fairy tale that doubles as a social allegory with alluring visuals.

Just when I thought I was out....They bring me back in. Why am I such a sucker?

The End Times: Part II

Ok, so remember last weekend when I went off about how bizarre it was that E! was airing a fully staged recreation each night of the daily court preceedings of the Michael Jackson Trial? (See post titled The End Times) I talked about how surreal it was and then decided that it made me sick to my stomach, and swore to never watch it again.

Well, I have a confession to make....

I watched it again.

It was accident. Really, I have no idea how it got on my TiVo. Honest.

So somehow I ended up watching the weekend wrap-up that they do every week, where they recap all the trial highlights from that week. Apparently at some point this week, Fritz Coleman, one of the prosecutor's witnesses, testified this week.

Now the name Fritz Coleman may not mean a lot to many of you. Allow me to elaborate on his identity. He is the weather man on the Los Angeles NBC 4 local affiliate station.

See, there's his headshot. So what the hell does my weather man have to do with the Michael Jackson Trial you might ask? This was fact which was quickly elucidated by his testimony, -sort of. It seems Coleman knew the victim and his family years before the recent accusations against Jackson surfaced. His testimony aimed to provide some background information on the family, including a sense of the hardships that they and the victim, who was battling cancer at the time, had faced.
The defense, however, made no bones about asking Coleman directly whether or not the victim's parents had ever solicited him for money, to which Coleman plainly asnwered, "No, never." Among Coleman's anecdotes, was a story about how he saved Christmas for the family, by surprising them on Christmas Eve with several hundred dollars worth of merchandise from Best Buy. Though the gesture of the gifts was obviously incredibly generous and kind on Fritz's behalf, somehow the producers at E! managed to make his story come off as arrogant and boastful. Blech.

I wish that I could fully articulate what a strange sensation it is to watch your local weatherman being portrayed by an actor, in a mock trial re-creation, of a court case that involves the pop icon Michael Jackson. Trippy does not even begin to sum it up.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Run for the Hills, not The Island
OR When Good Scripts Happen to Bad People

Remember when Michael Bay was being interviewed about his upcoming film The Island, and he said:

"It's wierd to say it's a movie about clones. I don't even like the word clones. It makes it sound really geeky. But the movie's not geeky in any way."

Could it be, someone's still a little sensitive about being hung on the goal posts for still bringing their Star Wars lunch box to school as a senior in high school?

On Thursday night, I saw the brank spankin' new trailer for the island which ran before The Ring 2. Talk about one disappointment followed by another.

It's everything you would expect from a Michael Bay movie, lots of helicopters, big explosions, lots of people running, and overly blown dramatic music in the background. One big giant cheese fest.


{To read more of my ranting on this once promising science fiction film please refer to my previous post entitled Hollywood Screwups aka The Island}

Marty & Elaine @ the Dresden:
Post-modern life in Los Angeles

Last night I went to the Dresden, much to my surprise and delight, I found that Marty and Elaine were playing. Some of you already know whom I'm speaking of, but for those of you who don't I will elaborate. Remember the movie Swingers?(It came out nine years ago! Can you believe it?) Remember the scene where Vince Vaugn and John Favreau are at this retro looking bar, and this unbelievably eccentric looking older man and woman are doing the most bizarre cover of Stayin' Alive? Well those people, and that bar really exist.

The Dresden, which is about two miles from my apartment, is a restaurant and bar that has been around for over fifty years. Marty and Elaine have been their lounge act for about twenty five years. Marty plays the drums and sings, and Elaine plays the keyboard and flute. They usually have someone playing the upright bass, but sometimes Marty plays that too. The first time however, that I ever saw and heard Marty and Elaine play was not at the Dresden, it was in the movie Swingers, a film which I saw multiple times before I actually moved to Los Angeles. I remember talking to a friend when I was fresh off the boat and how I started gushing when he told me he had been to the Dresden and seen them perform.

But three years later, after seeing them on a number of occasions, I only clapped distractedly at the end of their set, and glanced at them with a muted smile of appreciation; now they were simply providing the background music. What I found more intriguing, was to watch the people who looked like they were at the Dresden for the first time. They were enthralled to be in a locale that Vince Vaughn had once graced with his presence, and giggled with excitement when Marty & Elaine began to play the song featured in Swingers: Stayin' Alive.

I was like that once too I'm sure, but not anymore. Like anything else, when you're around something all the time you get used to it and/or take it for granted. I found myself thinking last night, as the room erupted into applause following Marty & Elaine's BeeGee cover, how funny it was that I was experiencing a reality that I had seen before on film. At that moment it was almost as though I was "in a movie."

They call that post-modern right?

There's that old saying about life imitating art and art imitating life that's quite apropos for describing life in Los Angeles. I sometimes get the feeling when I'm driving down the street in LA that I'm on a huge back lot and that when I'm at a stop light a stage hand might just pick up the shrubbery on the sidewalk in front of me and walk off with it. Famous people are everywhere, most accquaintaces and friends work in "the business", and your local coffee shop will be randomly closed for a movie shoot. There was a time when I would go to Katz's in NYC and talk with my friends entusiastically about how cool it was that When Harry met Sally shot a scene there. Or point out excitedly, the building on Central Park West, where Sigourney Weaver's character lived in Ghostbusters. But I don't do that sort of thing anymore. I've certainly become more jaded since living in Hollywood. I now know that a pop culture icon who appears to be the epitome of cool, may very well treat the people that work for them like crap. That the person who's name appears in the credits when the movie starts may have actually done no real work on that film. That movie stars usually don't stay for more then five minutes at their own movie premieres. If I wanted to I could go to a different part of my neighborhood every day and stand in the exact spot where a film or TV show was shot.

In my time in Los Angeles, I have woken up and laid in bed pondering how my life has come to be what it is today. On those mornings I worry that my entire existence might be an incredibly banal made for TV movie, and that one day a director is going to jump out from behind a dumpster and yet "Cut, let's do another take!"

Living in pop culture land is not easy. It can mess with your head. You may find yourself looking up at the sky trying to make out the rabbit hole you fell through when your plane landed in LAX for the first time.

Still, I don't think I'm ready to go back through the looking glass just yet.

Friday, March 18, 2005

The Ring 2 does NOT ring my bell

The only thing that can keep me from my usual bedtime on a school night are the good old Arclight Cinemas Thursday night midnight screenings of big films that are coming out that weekend. It's perfectly tailored for those film enthusiasts(read as nerds), who just can't wait the extra 18 hours and need to get their fix immediately, even at the cost of sleep deprivation. Someone just like myself.

If only I hadn't given up a good night's sleep for a film as ho hum as The Ring 2.

Now I was a big fan of The Ring. The first time I saw it was at a preview screening hosted by Dreamworks and Aintitcool in Pasadena. The special FX had not been completed and some of the music track, etc. were still being fine tuned. None the less, I was quite impressed. I thought it was effectively terrifying, well directed with a snazzy visual style, and had an interesting story that engaged the audience. I consider myself to be fairly tolerant when it comes to horror films, but I couldn't sleep for a week after I saw The Ring.

Generally people seem to be divided into two camps on the first film. Either they cried for their blue blanket when they turned the lights out at night, or they thought it was a load of hooey, not a lot of middle ground. Admittedly when I first heard of the plot - a videotape that kills people a week after they see it, I thought it was a bit of hokey myself. I was glad to discover upon seeing the film that it had a fairly layered plot which included a mystery, and a freaky little girl (not just a freaky little video tape) Sadly, The Ring 2 will only create one camp of viewers; those who were largely underwhelmed.

Everything about this movie pissed me off. First of all, the marketing gurus over at Dreamworks have been wisely creating a hullabaloo about the Collector's Edition of the The Ring, which was released a week ago. On this supposed "collector's DVD set" was a short film entitled RINGS, which covered important information and events that took place inbetween the first and the second films. Me, being the easily suckered geek that I am, ran out to get this "collector's edition" immediately. Allow me to impart a word of advice. Don't bother. The "set" is merely a cheap shrink wrapped bundled, that includes the originally released DVD of the Ring in its orginal packaging, and then a second seperately packaged DVD that has the short film RINGS on it. The secondary DVD also has some trailers on it and one of those really uninformative filler documentaries called "The origin of Horror." The film RINGS was somewhat interesting. It showed a group of high school kids who had gotten a hold of the infamous tape and were passing it around amongst their peers. They had learned quickly that even if you watched the tape, as long as you made a copy and made someone else watch it, you would not die in seven days. The short focuses on the story of one particular teen who has watched the tape, but cannot find anyone else to watch his copy.

What was clever, was that The Ring 2 started off exactly where RINGS ended. It had the same teen from RINGS, who had finally convinced a fellow classmate to watch the tape. He has done so with only a few minutes before his seven days are up. We then watch how this situation plays out. Unfortunately the cleverness ends there; other than the first five minutes of the film, there are no other real connections between the short film and the sequel. So not worth the $20 bucks at Virgin...

As the film gets rolling we see our two heros from the first film, Rachel played by Naomi Watts, and Aidan, played by a good but creepy child actor. One of the most disturbing facets of the film has to be that Naomi Watts looks about five years younger, and ten pounds thinner in the sequel than she did in the first film. Ah, Hollywood.

I'll try not to get include any spoilers here, but to the detriment of the film, the plot does not manifest itself as anything more than the trailer . The entire film can be summed up pretty simply. Samara has returned to enact her revenge upon Rachel and Aidan. This time her tactic is to try and posses Aidan; "She wants to be him" is what Naomi Watts quavers in the trailer. Rachel then tries to save her son by doing some rushed investigative reporting, but the "secrets" she unearths about Samara and her background aren't nearly as compelling the second time around. Blah, generic dialogue neatly matched the unoriginal plot.

Besides the straightforward lackluster plot, the director Hideo Nakata, who directed the original Japanese films, Ringu and Ringu 2, left a lot to be desired. The actors were a bit wooden, and their characterizations were less than solid. His visual style, or lack there of, did not hold a candle to the atmospheric mise en cine that Gore Verbinksi created in the first film. One of the strong points of the first film was how well it was shot, Verbkinski made very specific visual choices to tell that story. The Ring 2 was fairly bland in its composition, and Nakata and his DP seemed to find it amusing to see how many shots they could include with a quarter moon that looked just like the one from the Dreamworks logo. There were some moments with cool visual FX, but not enough to counteract the film's lack of sufficient scares and general eeriness. Certainly not enough to bouy the sinking feeling in your stomach that you had just shelled out your good hard earned money to watch this dud.


See, even Naomi's pissed.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

When Hollywood makes me Depressed...Again

Yet another website that has recently popped up on my radar is Query Letters I Love . A blog which has been up and running for about six months now, it is run by a Hollywood insider who posts query letters that he/she receives and find so ridiculous or horrible that they've been compelled to share them with everyone over the internet. For those of you eager to learn another dreadful Hollywood fact of life, allow me to introduce you to the Query Letter. Query Letters are sent in by poor bastards (aspiring screenwriters) who have no representation (aka agent or manager) but are trying to circumvent the system by selling their script to a production company. This is one of the old catch-22 situations. You need an agent in order to shop your work around in Hollywood, but it is quite difficult to get an agent unless you've gotten some sort of recognition for your work. The Query Letter is a brief summary or "pitch" of the screenplay that the poor bastard has written. It is his attempt to pique the interest of the jaded movie executive in the hopes that the exec might call the poor bastard up and ask to see the script. This is of course a highly unlikely scenario because almost every single production company and studio has a strict policy against unsolicited materials, meaning they won't even touch something unless its been submitted through some sort of representation, be it agent, manager, or lawyer. The caveat being that this is "for the protection of everyone an their ideas" but the bottom line is that it exists so the poor bastard/aspiring screenwriter can't sue the company later on for stealing their idea.

There is a nonsensical legal document called the "submissions release form" which most companies also have, though God knows exactly why. This document ostensibly allows the poor bastards/aspiring writers who have no represention to submit their work any way, as long as they sign this legal document, which basically dissolves any power they might have over their creative property. The reason that I call this document nonsensical is because never in the six years that I have been around entertainment offices, have I ever seen an unsolicited submission that has gone anywhere, release form or no release form. What usually happens is this:

Poor Bastard/aspiring writer calls company.
PB: Hi, I'm following up on a query letter I sent?
Assistant at Company: Hold on, let me transfer you to someone who can help you.
(Assistant transfers PB to intern)
Intern: Hi, I hear you sent in some materials? What agent was it from?
PB: Oh, I don't have an agent...
Intern: Have you filled out one of our submission release forms?
PB: No, I-
Intern: Let me mail one out to you.
PB: Ok great.

The sad reality is that one of two things will ultimately occur. Either the query letter and release form will disappear into some vortex under the assistant or interns desk. Or without so much as a cursory glance, the assistant or intern will send the poor bastard a standard rejection letter from the company stating that the PB's idea does not really fit into what the company is looking for right now project wise.

I don't purport to be a seasoned industry veteran, but in my short time, I have seen enough disposed Query Letters to fill a town garbage dump. On a good day I can read these letters and laugh at how ludicrous they are. But on a bad one, I think about how some poor bastards hopes and dreams are being tossed into a trash heap. For whatever reason my mood seems to be matching the grey hazy skies of Los Angeles this morning. I find myself depressed by all the efforts of poor bastards everywhere being laughed at by thousands on the internet. I am aware that I offer my own film critiques on this blog, but generally speaking my analysis target well established and successful members of the Hollywood movie making machine. Regardless of my rambling tirades, they're doing just fine. There's something that seems excessively cynical about mocking those who have not found any measure of success, and might just remain thwarted hopefuls forever. The poor bastards are being kicked when they're down.

Perhaps the most ironic thing of all is how many of the letters could actually be Hollywood blockbusters.

For instance:

"A Navy SEAL, elite member of the world's fiercest and most highly trained force, thought he was prepared to take on any duty no matter how perilous or impossible...until he tried baby-sitting. Assigned to protect the five out-of-control children of an assassinated scientist working on vital government secrets, the Navy Seal is suddenly faced with juggling two outrageously incompatible jobs: fighting the bad guys while keeping house. Replacing his usual arsenal of wetsuits and weapons with diapers and juice boxes, he not only must battle a deceptive enemy but wrangle a teen rebel, a sullen 14-year-old, an 8-year-old Ninja-wanna-be Lulu, as well as 3 year-old and an infant. Not to mention their off-beat Romanian Nanny."

Wait a minute, this sounds awfully familiar....

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Film Blogs: the good, the bad, and the ugly

In my e-travels, I have come across two different websites for two films that are both eagerly anticipated in the film nerd set. The first is the site that they've put up for the film, Superman Returns, which Bryan Singer is directing: . After X-Men 1 and 2, Bryan Singer has fallen into the geeky directorial niche of comic book movies. Good for him, that is very impressive. However, the site for his film...not so much.

First off, Blue Tights Network? That doesn't sound so much like the name for a Superman website, more like a site that caters to dragqueens in Vegas. Also couldn't Warner Brothers spring a little bit more cash for a graphic designer who was maybe, say, older than twelve? I know I'm not really one to talk, but the site is pretty low budget (and it shows) for a big Hollywood blockbuster movie.

The introductory "Welcome to Sydney" video where Bryan Singer attempts to introduce the website is awkward, and too short. Perhaps in an attempt to be funny, Bryan whines to his assistant as to where the camera should be pointing, and what shot he wants, but this only makes him look like a primadonna. The problem is we get more of Mr. Singer futzing then we do of actual Superman Returns tidbits. Also there's this kid screaming bloody murder in the background (the video was shot on the streets of Sydney, Australia) who they couldn't get to shut up. The audio of Bryan Singer that you hear over the images of the set and the art sketches, which actually look pretty cool, still has the high pitched yelling in the background. The effect is... grating. Don't they believe in ADR on that side of the world?

Of course Singer and his ilk might be going for something more geeky like KongisKing the website/blog for Peter Jackson's King Kong, but even so ugly does not equal nerdy. Surprise, surprise, Jackson's site is superior.

At KongisKing you can get your daily dose of the huge monkey's biopic. Jackson posts a video diary every single day of shooting, where he speaks directly into the camera, without coming off like a tool. We get a sneak peek of the scenes they're shooting that day, and get glances from the familiar friendly faces of the crew, many of whom you'll recognize if you watched the special features of the extended editions of Lord of the Rings. The site is obviously handled by a competent team that also updates daily info about the cast, crew, and King Kong as cinematic legacy.

There you have it, two sites to sift through while bored at your desk. Enjoy.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

War of the Worlds

Click here to see an incredibly bizarre set of video interviews posted on Yahoo! Movies, where Tom Cruise and Steven Speilberg sit in a room decorated with day glo sporting goods and answer questions about the upcoming remake of War of the Worlds.

Watch the two Hollywood icons reminisce about lunch together at the Ivy, hero worship one another, and become evasive when answering any questions that directly relate to the film. Steven you know I adore you, but a grey fleece with matching grey cords? Really?

This just in: Hollywood screenwriters use confusion to mask cluelessness!

Do you remember in high school or college, when you'd have to write a paper? Two A.M. would roll around and you'd keep reviewing your notes and the source material, desperately trying to synthesis some sort of cohesive statement about the subject matter you were studying. Sometimes in the midst of your sleep deprived, caffeine jolted state, you fingers would just start typing. You'd whip out some SAT vocab and throw in some quotes hither and thither, somehow managing to bang out four or five pages, whatever the assignment called for. Then you'd read the darn thing, and wouldn't you know it, none of it made a lick of sense. What was most astounding was the grade you recieved, much higher than expected, with comments written in the margins like "unique analysis" and "interesting points." Hah ha! You had fooled your own teacher into thinking you were smart by confusing them! Your teacher had been thrown off by your meandering babble, peppered with impressive word choices. Your teacher thought you had hit upon something even they didn't fully understand, and so in turn they decided to reward your B.S., instead of tearing it down as the dreck that it was.

The reason for this scholarly trip down memory lane was brought on because I went to see the film "The Jacket" on Sunday evening. (To view my thoughts & opinions on the film before I saw it, please refer to the posting, Take me away! I don't mind...) "The Jacket" is a prime example of Hollywood trying to confuse their audience into thinking they are watching a meaningful and clever film, when in fact they are watching foolishness.

Following in the footsteps of David Lynch, the founder of the cinematic club "If you don't understand it, that just means its too intellectual for you" The Jacket bandies about with the ideas of mental illness and time travel, weaving together a plot that makes little to no sense. Adrien Brody plays Jack Starks, a Gulf War vet who suffered a head wound and had a near death experience. The next time we see him he is hitchhiking along the cold and lonely roads of Vermont. Jack stops and helps a mother and her daughter fix their car. Jack is quite taken with the little girl, Jackie and gives her his dog tags. The mother who is a drunk, gets belligerant, and thinking that Jack is being inappropriate with her daughter leaves him on the side of the road. Jack gets picked up further down the road by a local, and when they are pulled over by a cop, Jack goes to exit the vehicle, blacks out, and the next thing we know he is being remanded to a mental institution for killing the cop who had pulled the local over.

It is in the mental institution where the bulk of the plot starts to unfold. Dr. Becker, a senior administrater at the hopsital, uses unorthodox methods on his patients, namely injecting them with anti-psychotics and shoving them in a morgue drawer for hours at a time. Jack becomes Becker's latest target for his treatment. Once in the drawer, bound in a full body straight jacket, Jack begins to travel through time. He shoots forward fourteen years from 1993 to 2007. There he runs into the little girl, Jackie who he had helped on the side of the road. Only she's not a little girl anymore, she's hyper hottie Keira Knightly, with smoky eyes and an out of control oral fixation. Jackie takes pity on Jack (interesting name choices no? Jack and Jackie?maybe it means something... or maybe the writer was just lazy) when she sees him standing on the side of the road, and invites him to her home to crash on Christmas Eve. It is in her apartment where Jack sees his dog tags hanging on a bulletin board, and a photo of her and her mother from years before, that he puts together that this Jackie, is that Jackie, the little girl on the side of the road. When Jack tries to tell her who he is, Jackie freaks and accuses him of going through her things. When Jack tries to prove his identity to her, by describing that day on the side of the road, she insists it can't be him because Jack Starks died January 1 1994. Jack realizes that is only about a week a way from the timeline he was just in.

After this first exchange in the future, Jack is whisked back to the past, or the present as it were. The film has now set up what could be an interesting murder mystery, where the protagonist Jack is the sleuth trying to solve his own murder. Unfortunately it deteriorates into complete and utter chaos. The next time Jack jumps into the future he decides to do a little investigative work. He convinces Jackie to go with him to the mental hospital, and there he pretends to be the nephew of himself, questioning different administrators and doctors about his death, which apparently occured on hospital grounds. A key character in this exchange is Dr. Lorenson played by a bedraggled Jennifer Jason Leigh. In the past/present she is a concerned caring presence in the hosptial who is suspicious of Becker and the way he treats his patients. In the future she is a somewhat snarky suit, who alludes to the fact that Jack helped her in the past with an autistic child patient of hers. You lost yet?

Here's where things start to get really hairy. Apparently Jack gave Dr. Lorenson some specific information that led to a breakthrough with this child, Babek. Jackie(Keira Knightly) does some research and finds an article online where Dr. Lorenson is quoted as saying that her breakthrough with Babek, came when she realized he was epileptic, not autistic, and needed low level electro-shock therapy to improve. Jackie/Keira tells this to Jack, and the next time Jack is in the past/present, he tells this to Jennifer Jason Leigh's character, Dr. Loreson. We then see that she employs this technique on the child Babek, and it does in fact work. But wait a minute - this makes no sense. There is absolutely no point of origin for this pertinent piece of information. Jack finds out this information from an article written in the future which quotes Dr. Lorenson. Then he goes back in time and relays it to her, so this is how she found out about it in the first place. Huh? The information about Babek doesn't come from recent medical discoveries that Jack encounters in the future, or some secret about the little boy that's revealed to him, he just hears about himself telling her in the past. Woah man, that's so trippy, its so existential, its so....dumb.

The movie continues on in this fashion, where Jack returns to the past/present with information that he learns from people in the future about what he supposedly said to him in the past, which is still the future to Jack because it apparently all takes place in those seven days between when he first gets in the jacket and when he dies. My head is spinning.

The film makers want to impart a sense of confusion on the viewer, with the loopy time travel logic, and the fast cut montages of Jack's memories and dreams. They succeed in their endeavor, but to what end? So twenty-something hipsters can sit around their local coffee shops exchanging brain farts on the paradoxes of time travel?

One of the only parts of the film that makes some sort of logical sense is when Jack tries to alter her Jackie's destiny for the better. Jack has seen what becomes of Jackie in the future, realizing she is well on her way to following her mother's footsteps as an alchoholic. He also learns that Jackie's mother burned to death when he fell asleep with a cigarette. So the next time Jack is in the past/present/1993, Jack bums a ride from the disheveled Lorenson, and goes to their house where he tries to have an intervention with Jackie's mom about the direction her and her daughter's life will take. He delivers an onimous letter, and we then see Jackie's mother reading it and taking it to heart, so we are led to believe the future for Jackie will be changed. Finally a plot thread that actually makes a little sense, Jack passing on information that he actually learned first hand in the future.

At the very end of the film, the truth about Jack's death is revealed. He slips and cracks his head open on some icy pavement. In his death throes Jack begs Lorenson to put him back in the "jacket" and the drawer so that he can return to his beloved Keira/Jackie. Lorenson shoves him the morgue drawer and he returns to the future - 2007 where he immediately runs into Keira/Jackie again. She drives a swanky new beetle instead of her old GMC, and her lack of smoky eye makeup intimates an innocence she was lacking previously. It would appear for all intents and purposes that she does not recognize Jack, her previous existence altered by her mother getting it together. But as they drive off into the sunset we hear her say "How much time do we have?" which once again derails the plot into uncertain oblivion. Does Jackie remember him? Has she forgotten him? Why did she say that? Because she thinks Jack has to go back to the past again?

The last line, like the rest of the film, intends to disorient the audience, and even suggest various layers of meaning. But once again I ask what the ultimate point is. As I mentioned before, David Lynch films represent the epitome of this technique. I have friends who believe Lost Highway to be masterpiece. I myself, can not make heads or tails of the damn thing. I commend filmmakers who challenge us to think. But I do believe that behind all that thought, there should lie a thesis or point to be discovered. This is not to say I need a film to spell everything out for me, or that I do not tolerate open endings, because neither of those things are true. I simply ask that a film follows its own rules and that it creates characters who are consistent even when they are erratic. Even if a film can be interpreted in different ways, I'd like to think that at least the film maker knows what he's talking about. That when the writer and/or producer is putting together a movie, that he has some idea about what is going on in the story he is shaping. Sadly I don't think this is always the case. There are film makers who think that by making no sense, we will give them an A for effort, just as our teachers did to us in days gone by. Maybe screenwriters are more like procrastinating students then we might think. Typing away trying to create a story that hopefully will make some sense, but if not will at least wow people with its twists and turns, aimless as they might be.
The other side of the coin is that people/audience members are afraid to look like simpletons who can't appreciate a complex film. Sometimes, when a deeper meaning actually exists, people's digging is merited. But on other occasions, the deeper meaning being sought simply isn't there. Its like the emporer's new clothes syndrome, - no one wants to be the one who comes out and says the guy is naked, because they don't want to be seen as the village idiot.

There in lies the viscious cycle. Film makers trying to fudge their way through plot and story, audience members too afraid to call something out for what it is. Its like high school and college all over again.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

The End Times

I often joke with friends about how we are all constantly surrounded by indicators that they apocalypse is near. Arnold Schwarzenegger is the governor of California, terrorists contemplate abducting film stars to destabalize a nation, and for $32,000 you can have your pet cloned. (See here for more information about the company Savings & Clone, you won't even believe it)

Among the latest clues that society is crumpling upon itself is the latest moral transgression by E! Entertainment Television. Every day at 7:30 PM, around the time most news networks run the nightly news, E! airs "The Michael Jackson Trial" an E! News presentation. This program is a re-enactment of the proceedings that have occured earlier that day at the Santa Barbara County courthouse where the Michael Jackson Trial is currently taking place. E! has somehow legally finagled complete access to the court transcript, and uses actors to portray all parties in the courtroom including the judge, lawyers, witness, and Jack-O himself. The one hour program intercuts the dramatized scenes in the courtroom with a roundtable of four "experts" who pick apart the testimony of each witness on the stand, and then discuss their implications upon the case. The experts are comprised of an attourney who works at Johnnie Cochrane's law firm, a former trial attourney and Court TV personality, another trail lawyer and is hosted by James Curtis, another Court TV hooligan.

Words cannot really describe the experience of watching the show. First of all the actor portraying Jackson has on a prosthetic nose and quite a bit of makeup, the resemblance is pretty uncanny. Secondly, they actors playing the part of the abuse victim and the victim's brother are very young looking, and you actually hear them give some of the explicit testimony. It is unbelievably disturbing. But like most things that are harrowing, it is also completely engrossing. It's that old adage of the car crash from which you can not look away. When I first heard about this mock trail on the Daily Show, I think I was expecting something a lot goofier - the clip they had showed was of the defense attorney in that ridiculous white shaggy wig. I thought they might be going for laughs (which would be twisted in a completely different way) but was surprised to find that its all taken very seriuosly, both in the dramatized scenes and the panel discussions.

I approached the veiwings of this show expecting to find good comedic material, expecting to laugh at the absurdity of it all. But after watching two episodes, it finally hit me what's so wrong about this show. It is the way in which the lurid sexual abuse details are bandied about without a shred of tact or consideration for the victim. I don't feel bad for Michael Jackson, and I'm sure the attourneys are thrilled for the press, but its those kids that I really pity. The entire world can just tune into the nationwide broadcast of their suffering. People say the media crosses the line time and time again. Everyone from religious groups to the U.S. government were infuriated by the fact that Janet Jackson's breast was briefly exposed last year at the Superbowl, when Bono used an expletive during prime time another controversy ensued. But in my opnion it is shows like E!'s MJ Trail coverage which is far, far worse. It is exploitative and icky material like this that lacks decency in the true sense of the word.

Show me that smile again...

For all of you pop culture aficionados out there, I have found the website for you; This website is a joy. The Theme Songs section has a particularly impressive listing of many of my old favorite TV shows. It lets you download the theme song and in many instances watch the intros of the show as well. The quality is a little fuzzy, but you still get the retrorific enjoyment you crave. It includes, among others Care Bears, David the Knome, Duck Tales, Heathcliff, Inspector Gadget, MacGyver, Perfect Strangers, and many, many more.

On a related tangent, as I was reminiscing with a friend this evening about TV days gone by, I realized just how much gosh darn Television I watched as a child. There were periods of my young life where I would go to my grandparents house in the Bronx, and watched TV all day long. Literally all day; my grandparents God bless them spoiled me rotten and let me do whatever I want. So I would wake up at like nine or ten, and spend the entire day in front of the TV until about eleven PM which was generally considered bedtime unless something REALLY good was on. That's about thirteen hours of televion a day.

Here's a sampling of some of the shows I watched on a semi-regular basis either in syndication or what have you (by semi-regular I mean I've watched at the very least ten or more episodes of these shows...)
All in the Family, The Jeffersons, Mama's House, Nell, Amen, The Cosby Show, 227, Night Court, Growing Pains, Who's the Boss, MASH, Cheers, P.S. I love You, Magnum P.I., The A-Team, MacGyver, Star Trek Original Series, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, G.I. Joe, Heman, The Real Ghostbusters, Ghostbusters, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Inspector Gadget, The Jetsons, Chip and Dale: Rescue Rangers, Care Bears, Tiny Toons, The Smurfs, Muppet Babies, The Muppet Show, Fraggle Rock, The Flinstones, Animaniacs, Shera, Transformers, Thundercats, Gummi Bears, Dobey Gillis, Gilligan's Island, One Day at a Time, Laverne and Shirley, The Honeymooners, I Love Lucy, Perfect Strangers, Mission Impossible, Dragnet, The Monkees, Saved by the Bell, Mr. Ed, The Munsters, The Addams Family, Cagney and Lacey, The Odd Couple, Three's Company, The Brady Bunch, The Partridge Family, Taxi, Sanford and Son, The Love Boat, Benson, Mr. Belvedere, Little House on the Prarie, Charles in Charge, Three's a Crowd, Too Close for Comfort, Welcome Back Kotter, I Dream of Jeannie, Bewitched, Hawaii 5-0, T.J. Hooker, Highway to Heaven, CHiPs, Dukes of Hazzard, Kolchak:Night Stalker, Falcon Crest, Good Times, What's Happin', Charlie's Angels, The Bionic Woman, Knightrider, Family Ties, Full House, Different Strokes, Webster, The Facts of Life, Spenser: For Hire, Jake and the Fatman, Simon and Simon, The Golden Girls, Silver Spoons, A Different World, The Fall Guy, The Hogan Family...

I mean its a miracle I didn't end up being the unibomber or something. I wonder if its a bad thing that I can still remember all the lyrics to the Animaniacs and Growing Pains theme songs. Is it possible that there are better and more useful pieces of knowledge that could be stored in those brain cells? I guess I'll never know.

Another good site to check out is

Friday, March 11, 2005

Star Wars....nothing but Star Wars

I arrived at a friend's place last night startled to hear them say "Do you know what I TiVo'd? The OC!" Far be it from me to get snobby with people's television choices, I was nonplussed at their announcement to say the least. My friend didn't seem to get the point, they continued on "Do you know why I Tivo'd the OC?" To which I responded that I had no idea as I myself, had never found the show interesting.

"Because you idiot, The new Star Wars trailer premiered tonight during the OC!!"

Ooooh. As I listened to my friend go off on how amazing it looked, and how it was everything I could possibly want to see in a Star Wars trailer and more, I felt my heart harden and my spirit dwindle. Was it possible that I could ever get that excited for a Star Wars movie again, even now, after George had broken my heart so many times. First with his Special Editions nonsense, then with Episode I & II, and the latest injury, his refusal to include the original films on the Trilogy DVD release this past fall. I have railed so much on Lucas' creative choices over the past year I am simply exhausted. Like a jaded wife, who can barely remember why she married her husband in the first place, my Star Wars loyalties have come into questions time and time again. My love and admiration of the three original films is such that at one time I viewed them as pop culture's holy scripture, cinematic achievements of the highest caliber. But certain decisions by Lucasfilm Ltd in the recent decade, among them changing the music during the celebration at the end of Jedi in Ewok village and Jar Jar Binks, have in my opinion, tarnished the Star Wars legacy.

So how do I approach watching the new trailer last night? Outwardly nochalant and aloof, "Yeah, let's watch it, whatever." But dare I say, somewhere within me,there was a Pavlovian response of hope. The optimistic geek within me wanted to fan the spark of excitement that hearing about a new Star Wars trailer could still ellicit.

Ok, so I watched the trailer . It looks incredible. The battles in space look amazing, the new contraptions astounding, the emporer terrifying. It is the culminating moment of this entire prequel trilogy, there's really no way for Lucas to back out of a dark ending with this one - Anakin has to become a baddie.

(I do have a friend who has joked that at the end of Episode III, Anakin lives happily ever after with Amidala, and then Lucas would appear at the end credits, shrugging his shoulders, saying "eh, whaddaya gonna do")

But seriously, if there was going to be a pick of the litter within the new Star Wars films, this one would be it. So here, once again, I find all my sci-fi saga hopes and dreams riding on the Episode III trailer. I don't even know how I can muster up the excitement anymore, because we all thought the Episode I trailer looked incredible, and we all thought the Episode II trailer was "much more promising" - and in reality, though Episode II was stronger than the first, we were sorely disappointed. But like any fool who's been in love, I have faith that a man can change, I am giving George the benefit of the doubt. I hereby endorse the new Star Wars movie, Episode III will be awesome.

Here we go again....

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Has everyone checked out the new trailer ? Titled "trailer 3" I caught it on the Apple Trailer website. It's the best of the trailers yet, and even though I had a friend who saw a preview screening and wasn't that impressed, this trailer reignites my excitement to see the film.

Just for the Record, I am not LOST

Since last night's posting I have gotten some angry hate e-mail about where my loyalties should lie. See America's Next Top Model is in the Wednesday 8 PM time slot, the same time slot as ABC's Lost. Yes, I am well aware of this, and under normal circumstances I TiVo Lost on Wednesday. Luckily since UPN is so hard up, they re-air their new episodes of top model on Fridays at 9 PM. Hence allowing me to follow along with both shows. Yes of course I realize that Lost is a better show than Top Model. Though the sad truth be told, a little bird has told me the show's plot points are not exactly as well planned out as we would all like to think. Still, any show that has polar bears on a tropical island gets major points in my book. Touche JJ.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

The Pop Culture Vault Vol. 2 Pt 3
Thank God for the Little Things OR
America's Next Top Model

America's Next Top Model is UPN's highest rated show, and it is now on it's fourth season. Hard to beleive isn't it? For those of you who haven't already seen an episode, I must implore you to watch this train wreck. This show is without a doubt my favorite guilty pleasure. Some people think I should be embarassed about the Star Trek and the X-Files that find their way into my TiVo, but its only Top Model that I'm somewhat ashamed of. The show is unabashedly girlie, which isn't something I usually go in for. I confess, before I became addicted, that when I first heard tell of this show in its first season, I mocked my co-workers for watching it, decrying it as superficial trash.

Yet there is something incredibly compelling about watching all these young women vie for a title so viciously - that of America's Next Top Model. There's nothing inherently unique about vying for an accolade in reality TV land, many reality shows are just game shows with contestants competing for a prize. In Amazing Race teams race to win a million dollars, in The Apprentice, the winner works for a Trump company in a very influential position, and one of the oldies but badies, Survivor, also boasts large monetary prize.

The thing that's so interesting about top model is that the title that these girls are trying to win, means very little in the grand scheme of things. These young women don't actually become America's Next Top Model, gracing every magazine cover and billboard from here to South Dakota. They are only America's Next Top Model according to Tyra Banks and her three cronies. Does anyone know the names of the previous models who have won the last three years? Have they suddenly popped up in Hollywood films and on International fashion runways everywhere? No, not really. A Neutrogena print ad here, a small Jane fashion spread there - these are the sorts of things that a top model can look forward to, at least at first when she's fresh off the show. As we have seen, time is never kind to the top model, and Adrienne, the winner of the first season was last seen on The Surreal Life, a C-List reality show where one hit wonders live communal style a la Real World. Yikes.

Besides the relative obscurity of the prize, another irresitable element of the show is the way that Tyra Banks holds court, and she does so with the earnestness and severity of a callow politician. Ms. Banks truly believes that she has the ultimate power to render girls "top models", and her enthusiasm for her power to change lives is endearing in its own strange way.

The show can actually also be mildy intriguing if one has a remote interest in fashion and I have to say being a actually more than just sitting there and looking pretty. If the show succeeds at anything, it is at showing how much women acutally have to work at being le top model.

Now if only the prize meant something...

Tagline of the Week - Courtesy of Crash

I was doing my ritual scanning of the Apple Trailers web site, when I came upon the trailer for Crash .

Just what we need, another Debbie Downer movie listing the woes of living in Los Angeles, because, you know Paul Thomas Anderson doesn't have that market covered. Oh we're all so disconnected, we all live in our little seperate bubbles, traveling around in our metal sheaths known as automobiles. Oh the existentialness of it, the sheer dehumanization.

Sorry folks, but you can't really pin that on LA, what you are describing is modern industrailized life as we know it. My friends in New York City, Washington D.C. and Boston get depressed sometimes too. Honest.

The tagline on this soporific tragi-drama is "Live your life at the point of impact."

My answer to that is no thank you, I don't mind if i don't. Living life at point of impact sounds horribly fatalistic and painful. I prefer to think of my "raison d'etre" in slightly more optimistic turns than as moments of sudden damage or destruction at the collision of two entities.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

The Warner Hollywood Lot is haunted!

Yes, you read that right. The women's bathrooms on the second floor of the Writer's Building at the old Warner Hollywood Lot are haunted! How do I know this you might ask? Well let's just say I know a guy who knows a guy.

No but seriously, I was in there quite recently on more than one occasion when spooky happenings occured. In one instance, I was in the stall with the door shut, I swear to you I heard rustling coming from the stall next to me. Rustling followed by the sound of the water running in the tank as if the toilet had just been flushed. When I exited my stall, the noises stopped, and to my surprise I saw there was no one else in the bathroom! I have corroborating evidence from other female employees, who have entered this very bathroom when it was empty save for themselves, and when they walked out of their stall, someone, or should I say something, had turned on the faucets at the sinks so they were all running.

If it makes anyone feel better, the ghosts have not been known to commit any malicious acts, and appear to be fairly harmless poltergeists.

P.S. I'm not crazy.

They call me...Reader.

So I was just perusing my favorite entertainment blog , and was tickled pink by the entry "Producing 101: Reading Not Required" (scroll down a bit to view) As much as I laughed at this post, which details the profiling of producer Avi Lerner by the Los Angeles Times, it is also fairly harrowing. I just looked up Avi Lerner's IMDB bio . It is not unimpressive, listing over 160 films in his credits. In the Los Angeles Times article, Mr. Lerner apparently cops to the fact that Hebrew is his native language, and he is not completely comfortable reading scripts in English, so really, he doesn't bother reading them at all.

"...and if you read a script in English you have to understand a lot of subtleties and different meanings. So I just don’t trust myself to know if a script is really good or not.”

Well that's....depressing; but what's even more depressing is that it doesn't even surprise me as much as it should. Sadly, it is not the first time I have heard about one of the big guns not picking up a script in decades. But how's that possible, you might ask? Well, as with everything else in Hollywood, there is a heirchy. Somebody sends over a script which is supposed to be "hot." Producer passes it on to his executive, executive passes it on to their assistant, and the assistant, inevitably passes it off to get "covered." What's that you ask? What the hell does covered mean? Well covered is the past tense of the verb "cover" or "to cover" also "to get coverage." It is at its most potent in its noun form, "coverage." And who provides the coverage? Well readers of course! That's right, in Hollywood, people, (people usually being bitter frustrated writers themselves) get paid decent money to cram a script or 500 page novel (whatever your fancy) in one night, and then write a report on it, known as - coverage. Coverage includes, a plot synopsis, analysis of the materials, i.e. is it good or not, and finally the lofty recommendation. The possibilities for recommendation are, Recommend, Consider, and Pass. Generally speaking, most things put in for coverage get a pass, sometimes a consider, and every once and awhile something will get a recommend. Such are the wheels of fate which determine what scripts and books make it on the polished desks of the best in the business....and what ends up in the trash.

What's fascinating to me about this whole process, is the fact that for a town full of people who pride themselves on being the authority in film making - the real authorities are typing away on well worn labtops in their crappy apartments somewhere in the valley. Its like an underworld of would be graduate students whose words and opinions are taken with the wieght of a supreme being. It is the bulwark behind which many executives, agents, and producers stand. "Well the COVERAGE said....." or "The Reader thought...." Its really pretty crazy when you think about it. And to make the slice of irony cake even sweeter; the sardonic frosting on top is that these readers, whose words are taken as gold, are struggling themselves to make it in the business, as legitimate writers, producers what have you. If they end up finding the script that becomes the next Sixth Sense, they don't get any credit or praise. They get absolutely nothing, except the knowledge that they helped some writer along, while their own careers are still wallowing in uneventfulness.

Such is the life of the reader. To be frank, I don't think I've ever envied a group that had so much unspoken power, less than I envy them.

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