Hi, everyone. "Moriarty" here with some Rumblings From The Lab...
May 26, 1970. A geek was born in Syracuse, New York. Now, 34 years later, I count my blessings each and every day, and I thought a great way to celebrate would be to share some of those blessings with you, the audience of Ain’t It Cool News.
After all, you guys are definitely right up there near the top of my list of favorite things, and the past seven years working on this site, I’ve had incredible opportunities and met incredible people and been lucky enough to get one of the craziest educations in this industry I love that anyone could imagine.
These aren’t in any particular order, and I don’t mean to say that these are the only 34 things that excite me about the entertainment world today. Far from it. Every single day, I’m lucky enough to experience new things, and more often than not, I am enriched by the creativity and the passion and the inspiration I encounter. If I ever stop feeling this way, I’ll start considering a career change. It seems to me that it’s been a long journey from a darkened theater in 1977 to my office in the wee small hours of this particular night, the new album by the Thrills turned up loud enough to annoy the neighbors as I work, but in many ways, it’s been a mere hiccup in time. I am still that wide-eyed kid standing in his theater seat, yelling and clapping as a chemical transformation took hold of me and turned me from a casual viewer of the movies into a rabid lunatic, drunk on the potential of the medium, a lifelong true believer.
Which brings us to reason number one...
1. STAR WARS: EPISODE III
Yep. Despite the fact that I think George Lucas occasionally comes off as crazier than a shithouse rat (did you see the naked robots in the locker room in the THX-1138 trailer? DID YOU!?!), retarded by success and determined to burn down every single bit of goodwill still felt by his first generation of fans, I will readily admit that there are very few films I am more eager to see than the final chapter of the STAR WARS saga when it arrives next summer.
Go ahead. Call me a fool. Tell me it’s over already. Nitpick the prequels all you want. George Lucas, for better and for worse, is one of the primary reasons I am who I am today.
Besides... every indication so far is that EPISODE III is the film we’ve wanted to see all along anyway. The more I’m hearing, the more I’m seeing, the more I like. And I’m not alone. Overwhelmingly, the mail I get about the movie is optimistic. After all, the centerpiece of this film is the event we’ve been waiting to see since 1980, when the true nature of the relationship between Obi-Wan and Anakin became clear. The Duel. We’ve dreamed it a million different ways, and next summer, we’ll finally see it brought to life.
Can you honestly say you aren’t interested in seeing that?
I’ll wrap up by offering up the latest rumor making the rounds. Skip ahead to the next item if you’re trying to stay spoiler-free.
During the attempt to save the badly-burned Anakin, he actually dies. Palpatine, frustrated after all the time and effort he’s put into recruiting and training Anakin so far, uses a dangerous Sith ritual to resurrect the fallen Jedi, and in the process, his own body is so ravaged by the Dark Side that it transforms him into the twisted, shriveled Emperor that we all remember from the Original Trilogy.
I can’t confirm that the rumor is 100% accurate, but we have heard it now from several different sources, and it certainly fits with what we already know. And even if it’s not true... isn’t that part of the fun of an upcoming STAR WARS film? All the rumors? All the speculation? All the time spent debating what we will or won’t see when the film finally arrives? Once Lucas has finished with these films, I’m going to miss the game. I may be Banned From The Ranch for life, but it’s been incredibly fun earning that dubious distinction.
2. BATMAN BEGINS
Cross your fingers, ‘cause so far it looks like Warner Bros. is finally giving us a superhero film worth being excited about.
And let’s be clear about something... it’s easy to take shots at the faceless corporate monolith. It’s easy to grumble about Warner Bros. like there’s just one person making every single creative decision on every single picture they release. But of course, that’s not the case. It’s all about combinations of producers and the right script and the right actors, and the way people’s schedules time out and the particular wants and needs of the company at any given time. It’s alchemy, and turning lead into gold is tricky business for any studio, not just this one.
The reason I’m excited about BATMAN BEGINS boils down to two names in particular: Christopher Nolan and David Goyer. I’ve read the same document that’s been so widely distributed at this point, allegedly the first studio draft by Goyer, and while I didn’t think it was the single greatest thing ever written, it did suggest an approach to my favorite DC character that is exciting and sets up a franchise I’d actually want to see. I’ve heard that the script has gotten better and tighter since that early draft, and I’m sure at least part of it is due to the involvement of Nolan as director. He’s an exciting choice with a keen visual eye, and if he brings the same enthusiasm to the film that he’s conveyed in all his interviews about it so far, then I have a feeling we’re in for something special next year.
3. Terrence Malick
I have no idea what finally motivated this reclusive genius to return to filmmaking, but American cinema can only benefit from him being active. I love all three of his feature films dearly, and now that he’s announced that he’s moving forward on New Line’s THE NEW WORLD, I don’t really want to know anything or read anything until the film is done. I remember reading Malick’s screenplay for THE THIN RED LINE, and even though it was a wonderful, faithful adaptation of the novel, it bore no resemblance to the final film.
And I’m not saying he made a few changes, either, or did a little trimming. He reinvented the movie completely, taking all his footage and turning it into something deeper and richer than that screenplay could have suggested. He’s an amazing artist, and it’s a privilege to be able to see this new stage of his career as it develops.
4. Korean Cinema
I remember the giddy sense of discovery that came with the Hong Kong invasion of the early ‘90s. As theaters and festivals and video stores began to import new titles and new directors and new movie stars to Western audiences, it was exhilarating. But even the best of those movies never approached the blistering, furious greatness of the work coming out of Korea right now.
I think what made the Hong Kong action films so frantic and furious was the impending switchover from British to Chinese rule. There was a sense that time was running out that informed their movies. The reason Korean cinema has such remarkable soul is because of that country’s divided heart. I can’t imagine what it feels like to live and work in a country so deeply schizophrenic, but thanks to writers and directors like Chan Wook-Park and Kim Ki-Duk and dozens of others, some of whom are just revving up, I have been offered a glimpse, a window in, and so far, it’s intoxicating.
5. Pixar and Brad Bird
I love Pixar’s films so far. I think IRON GIANT is a work of animated art. The idea that there’s a film coming out this year that combines all of these remarkable talents at once makes me crazy. I may need to be sedated for my first viewing. I don’t understand why anyone would be underwhelmed by the two trailers so far, but I also don’t really care if anyone else gets it or feels the same way I do. I love seeing superheroes that aren’t bound by the difficulties of green-screen shooting and real-world physics, and I think the entire genre is overripe for the kind of knowing satire this creative team is capable of delivering.
Now I just pray my wife doesn’t kill me the 10,000th time I bellow, “WHERE’SMYSUPERSUIT,WOMAN?!?”
6. Terry Gilliam
Somebody kicked and screamed in the talkback under the BROTHERS GRIMM reviews I ran yesterday, asking why I hate Terry Gilliam and why I’d take shots at him and wish him ill will. First, I’d like to suggest reading comprehension courses for that particular talkbacker. Second, allow me to clarify what I was saying. I adore the work of Terry Gilliam. My two favorite films of all time are BRAZIL and LAWRENCE OF ARABIA, and I honestly don’t think I can pick one over the other. I’m delighted that Gilliam has remained a maverick over the course of his career, but I’m saddened by how hard it has been for him to indulge his particular muse.
When I grumbled about him having to make a commercial movie in order to earn some well-deserved freedom, that’s not a slam on Gilliam or his abilities. It’s the exact opposite, actually. I’m just sorry he’s not always given carte blanche. I wish he had a guardian angel, a deep-pocketed patron who would give him the same artistic support that we see Harvey Weinstein give to Quentin Tarantino or Robert Rodriguez. I’m pleased he’s already got a start date on TIDELAND, his next film, and I hope he’s finally turned a corner and put the heartbreak of projects like THE MAN WHO KILLED DON QUIXOTE and THE DEFECTIVE DETECTIVE behind him.
7. Joss Whedon
Almost one entire shelf on one of my bookcases in the living room is taken up by box sets of the various Joss Whedon TV shows on DVD. Six seasons of BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER so far. Three seasons of ANGEL. The (sadly) complete run of FIREFLY. There are both highs and lows to every one of those shows, but overall, I am blown away by the ambition of his vision of what television can be. He believes in long-form serialized storytelling and its particular merits at a time when most of TV is giving up, rolling over, surrendering to a rising tide of reality bullshit. It’s exciting that he’s making his first feature (and the idea of Jack N. Green as his cinematographer make me think it’s gonna be real pretty) with SERENITY this summer, but I have to hope there are more epic experiments in television in his future. HBO... you listening?
8. The Coen Brothers and TARZAN
I also took plenty of heat for my recent open letter to the Coens, but I’m not about to apologize for what I wrote. The main point of that article, missed by many, is that Joel and Ethan always seem to be at their best when they are the originators of a project, and not just hired guns.
That’s why I am so intrigued by the news that they are currently prepping an adaptation of Tarzan that is reportedly quite personal for them, close to their hearts. So far, in the long history of filmed versions of the Tarzan story, there’s never been one that fully captured the pulp power of the original Edgar Rice Burroughs novels. The Coens are absolute masters of tone, whatever the project, and I will be first in line to see what fresh elements they bring to play and how they try to bring the Lord of the Apes to life.
9. Revolution Studios
Even if I’d never worked for them, I would put them on this list because of their backing of PJ Hogan’s PETER PAN and Guillermo Del Toro’s HELLBOY, two of my favorite recent fantasies.
But I have worked for them. For two straight years now without interruption, on various drafts of two different films. And in that time, I’ve learned to appreciate how differently this company is run from any other in town. When you deal with Revolution, you don’t have to struggle with a huge bureaucracy. You answer to only a few key people... in my case, Todd Garner and Derek Dauchy... and you deal with them personally, directly. You get straight answers. You get them quickly. And you feel involved, valued, part of a team.
In short, this is how I always thought the film industry was supposed to work. This is the way I hoped it would work. And if you end up sitting in a theater in the next few years watching POSTHUMAN or my other giant-budget SF project, then rest assured... you’ll be seeing the end result of a ton of exhausting work, and the product of a wonderful, supportive environment that I hope to be part of for a long time to come.
10. Clive Barker
When I haven’t been working with Revolution in the last fifteen months, I’ve been working with Clive Barker’s company, Seraphim Films, and again... I’ve been supported in a way that has not only improved me as a writer, but which has also clarified what I want to do with my career.
I remember stumbling across the Books Of Blood not long after they were first published in the US, and I was blown away by the elegance of Clive’s transgressive prose. He was the literary equivalent of David Cronenberg, not afraid to shock, but smart enough to know why. Working for him, taking one of his short stories and expanding it to feature length while also working to maintain everything that made it great in the first place, I’ve learned new respect for the art of adaptation, and I’ve also grown more confident about my own voice as a horror filmmaker. I hold very strong views on the importance of this particular genre, and the cultural impact a great horror film can have, and I am very demanding of others when I’m an audience member. Thanks to the incredible demands of trying to please one of horror’s true masters for the last year, I believe that I am now equally demanding of myself.
11. All The Lovely Ladies
Enough of this inspirational hooey. Let’s talk about one of the more obvious, base reasons that we go to the movies, over and over. Every year, Hollywood offers up a new group of potential starlets, fanboy fantasy fuel, and every year, at least one or two of those spectacular faces distinguish themselves from the crowd. I’m not so elitist and above-it-all that I would pretend that I only think with my mind or feel with my heart. There’s another region of the anatomy that occasionally mandates my ticket purchases, and as long as I’ve got a pulse, I reserve the right to harbor harmless crushes on Eva Mendes or Zhang Ziyi or Cerina Vincent or Elena Anaya. Part of being in love with the movies is always keeping yourself open to feeling that first flush of infatuation, if only by proxy.
12. Broken Lizard
They make me laugh, and in a way that is increasingly uncommon these days. They mix smart and silly with an emphasis on character, and they never seem to need to resort to the grotesque just to get a reaction. When I watch their films, I’m not embarrassed to laugh, and that alone is reason to keep an eye on them. They haven’t even started making their great films yet, but mark my words... they will.
13. Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg
Sometimes, you see an actor and a director who are so perfectly matched that you want them to work together, one project after another, exploring whatever ideas appeal to them, but together. Fans of SPACED and the wonderful SHAUN OF THE DEAD know what I’m talking about. There is an infectious quality to their work that’s almost impossible to describe. The most exciting thing about the work they’re doing is that they’re still young, and the extraordinary confidence they’ve already got seems to indicate that it’s only going to get better from here. Right now, I’m willing to follow them into any new venture.
14. KING KONG
Peter Jackson. Adrien Brody. Naomi Watts. Jack Black. WETA. A giant fucking monkey. Duh.
15. BATTLE ANGEL ALITA
James Cameron. Sci-fi. A budget larger than most country’s annual expenditures. 3D IMAX. Mega-duh.
16. Adult Swim
Somehow, by trusting a bunch of divinely-inspired loonies in Atlanta, the Cartoon Network went from being just another cable outlet for recycled programming to being one of the premier showcases of modern surrealism. I am amazed that there is a home for something as gloriously fucked up as AQUA TEEN HUNGER FORCE on TV, and for however long it lasts, we should cherish the notion that the crazies are running that particular asylum.
17. Marvel Films
You can complain about this film or that, but right now, there is no company in town with a more potent library of titles than Marvel, and they’ve been successful because they have matched their material with people who are truly passionate about the opportunities they’ve been given. As long as they stay on that course and stick to this business model, there’s no reason why the current golden age of superheroes on film should end anytime soon.
18. Steven Spielberg
One by one, the lions of the ‘70s have given up the ghost, sold out their promise, or mismanaged their talent. One of the few truly great exceptions has always been Steven Spielberg, perhaps the single most reflexively gifted mainstream filmmaker of all time. He has managed to constantly reinvent himself and stay interesting, and he seems to always find new things to excite himself, new reasons to stay engaged in the process. I pray that I am able to maintain even 1/10th of the passion for film that Spielberg has. He’s a best-case example of what happens when ambition and talent are unleashed, and I’ve got a feeling he’s got plenty more to share with us in the years ahead.
19. Quentin Tarantino
”The magpie is a noble creature,” indeed.
If Spielberg is the big-hearted geek-as-everyman, then QT is like his dope-smoking motormouthed slightly crazy younger brother, equally gifted but so inwardly focused that he doesn’t realize that not everyone is obsessed with kung-fu films and crazy grindhouse horror movies and obscure tough guy crime flicks. He’s working for an audience of one, and if you happen to enjoy it as well, then good for you. I don’t care if QT works every year or once every five years as long as he continues to remain true to his particular vision of cool, because so far, he’s made movies that not only influence others, but that wear their own influences proudly in a way that truly proves there can be honor among thieves.
20. The FanTasia Film Festival
I am hopelessly smitten with Montreal in the summertime and with the line-ups that Pierre Corbeil and his intrepid band of programmers put together every year. Every time I’ve gone, at least one of the films I’ve seen there has ended up on my Top Ten of the year list, like NEKOJIRU-SO or last year’s magnificent IN MY SKIN.
I find myself clicking on their website every single day right now, waiting for them to announce their line-up for this year’s festival. If you still aren’t familiar with what sort of material they show, then either type “Fantasia” into our search engine (make sure you include the quotation marks) or click here for a cool promo that explains it all.
I’m praying I end up back in Montreal this summer. I love the people I meet at the screenings. I love being tha far ahead of the curve. I love seeing these movies with crowds that really seem to appreciate and understand them. And mainly, I love any event that reaffirms the pure joy of the fantastic on film without being beholden to big names and big budgets. Imagination is all it takes to enjoy this festival, and you’ll almost get more than you can handle if you attend the whole thing. It’s the most wonderful overdose you’ll ever experience.
21. Will Ferrell
He’s the busiest man in comedy right now, and no one deserves it more. As much as I enjoyed his work on SNL the entire time he was on, he seems to have suddenly been set free with his recent success. The new ANCHORMAN trailer makes me ache, and I’m fascinated by the post-modern spin he and Adam McKay seem to have put on BEWITCHED. If he really does end up playing Ignatius O’Reilly (the original talkbacker) in a film adaptation of A CONFEDERACY OF DUNCES, expect critics to have to create new adjectives to describe just how amazing it is.
22. GODZILLA: FINAL WARS
You saw the picture Harry ran the other day, right? Well, check out this summary that appeared on the official Godzilla site, and which was translated by the fine folks over at Monster Zero News.
A translation of the story summary from the official Godzilla website.
Monster Zero wishes a special thank you to Piro from Japan for translating the material from Toho's website, and to Gojo. Thanks guys! :-)
Repeated wars and nuclear tests... too advanced science broke the earth's environment and woke up the sleeping giant kaijus. The era that humans fight each other has ended, and the new era that humans fight against the menace of Kaijus has began---the "Earth Defence Force" was born. From a few years ago, the existance of "mutants" ,super humans who have special powers, were confirmed all over the world. The earth defence force organized an anti-Kaiju squad with the mutants. They called the squad "M kikan (M-Force)"
In 20xx, a mummy of a giant kaiju is salvaged in the north sea of Hokkaido. Shinichi Ozaki, a mutant soldier of the M-Force, investigates the mummy with Miyuki Otonashi who is a biologist sent from the UN.
At that time, Kaijus appear in cities all over the world simultaneously! New York, Paris , Shanghai, Sydney -- Kaijus appear one after another!
The earth defence force invests the full war potential, but they can only fight defensively because of too many kaijus.
Among the world-wide confusion, an airplane of Naotarou Daigo, who is a Secretary General of the UN disappears.
The earth defence force fights desperately, but cannot defeat the kaijus. Ozaki, who arrives on the sight of a kaiju arrival, strives to fight against the kaiju with another mutant soldier Kazama by using their super physical powers.
Among the intensive battles all over the world, UFOs suddenly appear in the sky, and eliminate the kaijus. UFOs are concentrated above the base camp of the earth defence force in Japan, and Daigo, the missing Secretary General of the UN appear from the UFOs. He suggests a friendly term with the aliens who introduce themselves as "X-seijin(X-Aliens)". The heads of the world decide to form an alliance with the X-Aliens.
However, Ozaki and Miyuki have a doubt about X-Aliens and researched their nature with Miyuki's elder sister Anna. While researching, they ask assitance from the captain of "Kaitei Gunkan Gouten-gou (Atragon)". Now the final wars of Ozaki and his companions on the Atragon start!
Godzilla keeps sleeping in the ice of south pole at that time ......
The idea that it’s this director, a budget that’s about 20 times what Toho normally spends, and that insane summary... well, shit, sign me up right now. This is what kaiju fandom is all about.
23. Those Amazing Mexicans
They couldn’t be more dissimilar as filmmakers, but there must be something in the water because the last few years have seen some remarkable Mexican directors really step up and establish themselves as powerful voices to be reckoned with in the international scene, both critically and financially. Alfonso Cuaron, Guillermo Del Toro, Alejandro GonzÃ¡lez IÃ±Ã¡rritu, Robert Rodriguez… these are some of the most exciting guys working right now, and the range of the types of pictures they’re making proves that you can’t stereotype any of them.
I’m hoping that as each of them continues in their careers, they inspire not only more Mexican filmmakers, but also Central and South American directors who right now feel like their work won’t travel. It will, and this is a region of the world that could provide us with compelling human stories and powerful perspectives that have been sadly lacking in world cinema until recently. For now, this group of guys is doing their best to pave the way, and it’s invigorating to see them do it.
24. Richard Linklater
In my recent review of BEFORE SUNSET, I called Linklater a “quiet giant,” and I want to underline that point. He may not be the most prolific filmmaker working, and he may not have had the biggest successes or the most hyped movies, but pound for pound, I’m not sure there’s a better American filmmaker working right now. DAZED & CONFUSED is the best teen film of the last 15 years, and his SUNRISE/SUNSET films are beautiful, moving, an accomplishment that transcends easy categorization. The fact that he’s willing to experiment with something like WAKING LIFE thrills me, and when he steps up to make a simple studio commercial movie, it turns into a heartfelt little gem like SCHOOL OF ROCK. All of this gives me hope that we’re on the verge of seeing the first great PK Dick adaptation since BLADE RUNNER, and since A SCANNER DARKLY is one of my favorite books by the author, I hardly know how high to set my expectations. Whatever I decide, I trust that Linklater will more than deliver the goods.
25. THE HITCHHIKER’S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY
I hope. It’s that simple. I want this to be a towering, triumphant homage to just how wonderful Douglas Adams was, and based on the things I’ve heard (both on and off the record), I think it’s going to work. We’re going to ride on the Heart of Gold. We’re going to suffer through Vogon poetry. We’re going to take a trip to the Restaurant at the end of the Universe, and we’re going to learn the answer from Deep Thought. The cast is outstanding (Sam Rockwell as Zaphod Beeblebrox is the most inspired thing I’ve seen happen in a long, long time), the directors are promising (Hammer and Tongs has always been a cut above the typical music video directorial herd), and Adams himself had a heavy hand in the script.
So... like I said... I hope. My towel’s already packed.
26. CURSE OF THE WERERABBIT
A Wallace and Gromit movie with the full force of the Dreamworks marketing team behind it.
This is as close to a no-brainer as you get.
27. The Weird World Of Charlie Kaufman
Spike Jonze. Michel Gondry. George Clooney. All of them have been inspired to hit some brilliant highs by the work of Charlie Kaufman, sitcom-writer-turned-prickly-genius. I cherish the films that have been made from his work, and right now, I think ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND is still my favorite film of the year. What I’m really dying to see, though, is what happens when Kaufman steps up to the plate and directs one of his own screenplays. He’s either going to learn a whole new respect for the amazing collaborators he’s worked with, or he’s going to prove once and for all that there’s nothing his big sick brain can’t do. Either way, I won’t be able to look away.
28. Bill Murray’s Second Wind
THE LIFE AQUATIC at the end of this year. The untitled Jim Jarmusch film that shoots soon. These are just further proof that there is no elder statesman of comedy who has managed his career better than Bill Murray.
And, yes, I’ll even forgive him the apparent abomination of GARFIELD. I can only imagine how much money they gave him, and if it allows him to follow his whims and make an appearance in an oddball little charmer like COFFEE & CIGARETTES or if it frees him up to follow Sophia Coppola around in support of LOST IN TRANSLATION, turning what could have been a forgotten footnote arthouse tone poem into one of last year’s big cultural events, then I’m all for it. The only thing that matters is that Bill Murray will not suffer the same fate he once so hilariously predicted for Tito Puente in STRIPES. “When he dies, you’re going to be able to say, ‘Oh, I’ve been listening to him for years.’” Right now, everyone’s listening to Bill, and he’s never been better.
29. The Continued Output Of Miyazaki
He says he’s quitting every time he finishes a movie. And every time, he changes his mind and gets lured back in. Right now, animation fans around the world are holding their breath in anticipation of HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE. I have no doubt it will be a masterpiece, and whatever I have to do to see it, I will. If I have to fly to Japan when it opens, I will. We aren’t going to get many more movies out of this astonishing genius, and I suggest we treasure each one for what it is. I still can’t believe I actually interviewed him for this site, or that I have a hand-drawn Totoro that he gave me. One day, I’ll tell the story of sitting and talking to him, and it’ll seem impossible, even to me. He’s a giant, a legend, and his increasingly frail frame hardly seems able to contain the enormous human spirit within. Thank god the animation frame gives him room enough for every bit of it.
30. Dream Projects Getting Made
This is an obvious one, but it has to be said. Nothing gives me more hope than when someone like Darren Aronofsky finally gets THE FOUNTAIN up and running, or when PJ Hogan finally manages to finish PETER PAN, or when LORD OF THE RINGS works on such a complete and spectacular level. It should inspire every filmmaker everywhere to dig in their heels and stick to their guns and say, “I believe in this story. I believe in these characters. I believe there is an audience for what I have to say.”
At some point, every filmmaker who has managed to make one of these dream projects has been told that they are crazy, that they’ll never get their film made, and that they should just give up. But that’s not true. It’s a matter of perseverance and timing and dumb luck sometimes, but that’s what it takes. You have to have enormous support, and you have to stay focused, and you have to be willing to take every bit of abuse the system heaps on you. Remember... most studios and production companies and executives are going to work overtime to find a reason to say “no” to you. And even then, the stars have to align just right and sometimes you have no control over the eventual fate of your picture, and that’s just the way things work. The reason I cheer every time one of these films get made... even the ones I don’t end up liking... is because it proves... it can be done.
And that’s enough to keep me going.
31. My Agent
I’d be remiss if I didn’t take this opportunity to say that I would be still be writing my scripts and putting them on a shelf in my closet for my own personal entertainment if not for the enormous effort made on my behalf every day by my incredible team of representatives. Brant Rose is the first agent in a long line of agents that I truly feel has my best interests at heart. He’s laid up right now after a nasty hockey injury, but he still works his ass off for me, and I couldn’t possibly appreciate it more.
32. My Managers
I consider there to be two halves to my career as a writer. There’s the era from ’94-’97 that was marked by some successes, some setbacks, and a whole lot of frustration as people didn’t understand what I was trying to accomplish, and then there’s the part where I finally got everything right. That part started when I met a junior UTA agent named Aaron Kaplan. He believed in a script of mine, met me and my writing partner, and then when he left to start his own management company, invited us to be in that first wave of clients. Since then, we’ve actually been working, doing the jobs we’ve wanted to do, and every year’s been better than the one before. He and his partner, Sean Perrone, are tireless, and they’re the ones who call every morning to yell at me about not spending my time and energy on AICN when I should be working at my “real” job. They’re also the same ones who indulge this crazy hobby of mine and who never stop working to get us where we want to go. It’s rare that you’re represented by someone you can call a friend, but Scott and I lucked out.
33. My Writing Partner
I met Scott in high school. Both of us had moved there from out of state, our parents drawn to a particular magnet school that had a TV production program. Scott and I were paired up by a teacher, and at first, we were suspicious of one another, but three years of constant collaboration pretty much guaranteed that by the time we graduated, we had figured out how we wanted to spend our creative lives. It’s been 18 years since then, and watching our work get published, produced, and gradually win us a chance to ply our craft in the way we’ve always wanted has been enormously satisfying. What’s been even more satisfying is that we’ve beaten the odds, and in a town where most people can’t make a creative relationship last for the duration of one film, we seem to actually enjoy it more with each passing year. Hopefully, soon, we’ll be able to finally share that with you guys on a national level as well.
34. The Great Unknown
More than anything else, this is what keeps me going back to the theater. Yes, this site has always traded in spoilers and early peeks and trying to stay a step ahead of the manufactured buzz, and the reason for that is because I love to be surprised. I love to be blindsided. I love it when a film or a script or a book or whatever just shows up on the doorstep unannounced and proceeds to rock my world. That constant sense of discovery is what makes this all so interesting and worthwhile. The day I feel like I’ve seen it all, I’ll quit having to do anything with movies and just walk away.
For now, I’m going to wrap this up. I’ve got a lot of great reviews coming in the weeks ahead, and even though it feels like time is in short supply these days, I’ll always squeeze that extra hour in wherever I can. I plan to hang around AICN for a long time to come, and this year’s been all about guaranteeing that I’m not going anywhere. I joined Weight Watchers, and thanks to the support of my beautiful wife, I’ve managed to dump over 60 pounds so far. I feel better than I’ve felt in a long time, energized, and the personal and professional successes I’ve enjoyed only reinforce to me that focusing on the things you love is what keeps you young, no matter how big a fire hazard that birthday cake becomes. Thanks for reading, and I promise... I’ll keep writing.