Moriarty's RUMBLINGS FROM THE LAB #28 RE: William Goldman's Latest Book, THE HOLLOW MAN, PITCH BLACK,
Hey folks, Harry here. I have a lot of running around to do today, so I'll just turn this right on over to the dear venerable Professor... and in the meanwhile... I gots to get me a copy of this Goldman book... sounds fantastic...
Moriarty’s RUMBLINGS FROM THE LAB #28
Hey, Head Geek…
First, let me just say how glad I am you survived your little South American jaunt. Someday I’ll have to tell you the story of the years I spent down there hiding from Holmes and other accursed members of the “law-enforcement” community. Hell, between the rabid pro-FORREST GUMP freaks who have been mail bombing me for the last week and the people who are calling for your blood over the nominations story, maybe the two of us should plan a trip down there sooner rather than later. Some of the pro-GUMP stuff I got is really scary. For a film that so many of you claim is about “peace and love,” it sure does inspire some creative death threats.
Anyway, there’s some interesting stuff to get to this week. I’ve been doing a lot of reading as we’ve been updating the equipment here in the Labs. Once again, I’d like to thank Henchman Smeagol for all his help in getting us up and running. The new system we’ve got here now kicks some pretty serious ass. All the secrets that were imbedding in the old hard drive have been recovered and restored, and I am finally free to just focus on getting my Evil Plans underway once more.
WHAT LIE DID I TELL?
I had the genuine pleasure last week of reading an early copy of William Goldman’s new book, WHICH LIE DID I TELL? This is a sequel of sorts to his earlier classic collection, ADVENTURES IN THE SCREEN TRADE, and it’s a worthwhile follow-up in every way. In some ways, Goldman has laid himself and his process open to even greater scrutiny in this book than in the first one, and there are passages that are genuinely brave considering how well-established he is. This is a man who could easily rest on his laurels, considering what impressive laurels they are. THE PRINCESS BRIDE, ALL THE PRESIDENT’S MEN, MARATHON MAN, BUTCH CASSIDY & THE SUNDANCE KID, MISERY --these screenplays forgive any number of lesser programmers he might ever write.
The thing that excuses his weaker moments even more is his remarkable self-awareness about them. This is not a man who is afraid to tell the truth about who did what and why decisions were made. There’s no reason for him to be afraid, since he paints himself with equal blame for some things. One of my favorite chapters in Part I of the book – “More Adventures” – is the one regarding the little seen, mostly-forgotten failed romantic farce, THE YEAR OF THE COMET. He is very clear on why he thought the story was worth-telling, and Goldman communicates his process with such grace and charm that you can’t help but agree: it sure does sound like a great idea. He traces the way the film came together and then bombed completely with unwavering honesty, complete with a description of a disastrous test screening. It’s funny, it’s a little terrifying, and it proves that when he talks about what works in other chapters, it’s not boasting. He’s just sharing experience, and all of it is worthwhile.
If this book just consisted of him describing the development of each of his films, that would be plenty entertaining, and more than worthwhile as a purchase. Instead, this book is a little more ambitious, wanting to explore different aspects of the art of storytelling for film. Goldman uses Part II to discuss classic scenes from scripts he admires. One of the things that surprised me a bit about Goldman is just how highly he regards Peter and Bobby Farrelly. It’s not that I think they’re undeserving of the praise; far from it, in fact. I like the Farrelly brothers a lot, and I think they know how to build a gag as well as anyone out there. I had the opportunity to read ME, MYSELF & IRENE, and they know exactly how to paint a moment on the page so you know how it’s going to play onscreen. It’s not often that comedy scripts are laugh-out loud funny on their own. Goldman uses the zipper scene from THERE’S SOMETHING ABOUT MARY to show just how artful the Farrellys can be in going after laughs. He also examines WHEN HARRY MET SALLY, NORTH BY NORTHWEST, THE SEVENTH SEAL, CHINATOWN, FARGO, and his own BUTCH CASSIDY, making interesting, fresh points about the work as he examines it. I’m familiar with most of what he brings up in this chapter, but he does a great job of setting up context, tracing the specific origin of some of the most classic moments in cinema’s short history.
Section III is made up of three ideas of Goldman’s, each of which are perfectly valid film ideas. He discusses the pros and cons of each, debating the merits of pushing ahead with each project. He makes a great point about how writers only have a finite amount of creative time they’ll be able to spend working, and he discusses each of his ideas in the most important terms of all: are the stories worth him telling them? It’s a question that more screenwriters should ask themselves.
The last part of the book is called “The Big A,” and it’s actually the first thing I read. Last year, a strange manuscript fell into my hands. It was called THE BIG A, and it was written by William Goldman. When I started it, I thought I was reading his new screenplay. It read like any other script. It was thin, though, and I couldn’t help but wonder how he planned wrap up the story in such a brief number of pages. Once I got about halfway in, the answer became obvious…
He didn’t. You see, it wasn’t actually the entire finished script. Instead, it was sort of a test run at the thing, an elaborate treatment that breaks down into a series of questions, a list of possible ways to go, a sort of free-form record of ideas on how THE BIG A could move from partial screenplay to finished film. That manuscript, that unfinished piece, was distributed to several of Goldman’s friends for their notes on it, notes which Goldman intended to run in his final book. He got the previously mentioned Farrellys, Tony Gilroy, Callie Khouri, Scott Frank, and John Patrick Shanley to all open up on the treatment with both barrels, writing with unflinching honesty about what they would do if they were hired to turn that partial piece into something presentable. The comments are fascinating, and they certainly didn’t seem to be tiptoeing around Goldman’s feelings when they wrote to him. It’s great because these are all writers who are on the active A-list, people who get notes on scripts all the time. If any wannabe screenwriters read the comments in this book and think, “Oh, that’s so mean, they shouldn’t be allowed to say that,” then I would say screenwriting’s probably not the profession to choose. Writers must be ready for every criticism, and they must be able to defend their choices from a position of passion and also because they know they are right. Any decision that can’t be supported with that much vigor probably wasn’t the correct one in the first place.
This is a book that automatically becomes a must-have for anyone who wants to seriously work in Hollywood, right alongside such previous classics as HELLO, HE LIED by Debra Obst and MONSTER by John Gregory Dunne. Whether Goldman’s telling disarmingly sweet stories about Andre the Giant or explaining what got under his skin that led to GHOST AND THE DARKNESS or trying to convey why he loves Ingmar Bergman, he’s got one of the most relaxed, natural writing styles of anyone writing about film, either current or past. It’s not just important for any serious film fan to read this book, it’s also insanely fun. Is Goldman becoming more of a grump as he gets older, immune to the charms of modern filmmakers? Sure. He dismisses today’s directors out of hand, saying that Kubrick was the last living filmmaker who could truly be called “great.” He’s not much for sequels, and he uses some truly hostile language to describe the makers of those “hooker films,” reserving particular poison for Spielberg and Lucas. Then again, they’re Spielberg and Lucas, so I’m guessing they won’t mind in the end.
I’m going to be talking to Mr. Goldman in a couple of weeks, and I’ll be bringing you that interview here in this column. I’m looking forward to using his book as a jumping off place to discuss some of the trends that are developing in Hollywood, and to also discuss some of the particular moments that make his own work so enduring. Keep your eyes peeled.
LOOK! IN MY CD PLAYER! IT’S A BIRD! IT’S A PLANE!
What are you doing sitting in front of your computer? Don’t you realize that Rhino’s incredible new SUPERMAN THE MOVIE soundtrack is in stores? Don’t you understand that this is the first time all of this music has been available? As part of the Warner Archives series, Rhino has put out a 2-CD set of absolutely heroic proportions, and you could be playing it at top volume right now, just as I am. But no. No, you’re sitting here reading. If you want to just run out and grab it, I’ll understand. I’ll wait.
In the meantime, I’ll just rant and rave about how truly incredible this soundtrack is. I mean, I’ve always admired the score, one of Williams’ classics. It’s one of the most recognizable themes of my childhood, one of the most instantly evocative. In some ways, I consider it a more impressive piece of work than STAR WARS, since that film was a blank slate, something Williams could set the tone for. With SUPERMAN, he was dealing with an already iconic image, trying to find just the right piece of music to sum up all the feelings we have about such a beloved character.
Wading through the 140-plus minutes of music that make up the new Rhino version, one is struck by just how much music he actually composed for the film. The range of themes is pretty outrageous, with the newly restored “Prelude and Main Title March” setting the tone for all that comes after. This piece is now exactly as it appeared in the original theatrical cut of the film, the one that opens with the curtains drawn closed across the entire screen. It’s a grand, sweeping piece of music, and when I heard the beautiful restoration job done on it, my expectations spiked for the rest of the album. Those expectations were met in every way. “The Planet Krypton” opens with a passage that always reminds me of 2001, and it drops into a somber, ominous section of the score that lasts all the way through “The Trip To Earth.” Williams is able to indulge his taste for Americana (along the lines of his classic THE REIVERS score) with the Smallville sections of the score, culminating in the powerful “Death of Jonathan Kent.” The comic, playful intro to “Lex Luthor’s Lair,” a piece that most people think of as the theme to Otis, Lex’s henchman, never fails to bring a smile to my face. I love that there’s so many various versions of “The Flying Sequence,” aka “Can You Read My Mind?” on the CD. It offers a fascinating look at how decisions are made regarding what is and isn’t on a soundtrack.
Track after track, the score delivers with inventiveness and a new clarity that would make you swear it was brand-new. I can’t recommend the purchase highly enough for anyone who loves the SUPERMAN films or who just loves the art of film music. It’s an exceptional piece of work, and a credit to the Warner Archives program.
WRONG? YES. HAPPY? INCREDIBLY.
I was sent a fair amount of mail asking me to comment on the whole nominations/early list thing here on AICN this week, but it’s really not my place. Harry did a good job of explaining his process with that story, and I think he’s more than willing to explain himself further to anyone who asks. I’m much more interested in getting in a few comments on the nominations themselves. Like any year, there were surprises both good and bad. I’m pleased as punch to see Spike Jonze among the director nominees, as I have been a vocal fan of the innovative work he did in BEING JOHN MALKOVICH, and I think it’s the beginning of one of the more interesting careers of the next few decades. I suspect one of the most potent backlashes we’re going to see is from people who feel that Miramax bought the noms for CIDER HOUSE RULES. Now that it got that many actual nominations, it wouldn’t surprise me a bit to see it get shut out of any actual awards. AMERICAN BEAUTY seems poised to snag many of the major awards, including Director and Picture, and Hilary Swank is a virtual lock to win Actress. I think we’ll see Cruise finally take home the gold with his work in MAGNOLIA, with M. Night Shyamalan getting his major recognition for the script to THE SIXTH SENSE. The two categories that I genuinely wouldn’t even want to try to handicap right now are Best Supporting Actress and Best Adapted Screenplay. I personally adore the work that Samantha Morton did in the underrated gem SWEET AND LOWDOWN, and I’d love to see her rewarded. Then again, both Catherine Keener and Chloe Sevigny did standout work in their films as well. It’s not like any of the nominees in the category have the edge, since they’re all first-timers. With the Adapted Screenplay category, it’s anyone’s guess. ELECTION, THE GREEN MILE, and THE TALENTED MR. RIPLEY are all exceptional pieces of film writing that manage to boil difficult pieces of material down to sleek final form. Any of them would be worthy of recognition.
For me, the story that really bears noting is how the Academy had the chance to finally get the Best Documentary Feature category right this year, and they blew it again. This has historically been one of the most unjust categories, and this year looks to be no exception. For them to even begin to hand this award out without including AMERICAN MOVIE, BEYOND THE MAT, and MR. DEATH in the final running is ludicrous. As it stands now, BUENA VISTA SOCIAL CLUB has an unopposed run at the statue, something I can’t say I’m excited about. As wonderful as the music in that film was, it’s not anywhere near as vital and alive as the films I listed above. It doesn’t draw us into these great lives and offer us a peek at something real, something greater than fiction. The sad part is, I can’t even say I’m surprised. It just seems to be business as usual.
NOT QUITE AS HOLLOW AS I WAS AFRAID
It’s no secret among my friends that I have found the films of Andrew Marlowe to be staggeringly funny for all the wrong reasons so far. AIR FORCE ONE is a painfully wheezy riff on the DIE HARD formula in which Harrison Ford’s finger manages to battle terrorists for several hours, while END OF DAYS is… well, it’s END OF DAYS. In both cases, I was critical of the scripts well before the final films came out. As a result, I actually avoided the script for THE HOLLOW MAN, sure it would be just as bad. This week, though, it just sort of fell into my lap, and I had no choice but to read it. To my amazement, it works. In fact, it’s pretty damn good.
Part of the reason the script really worked on me is because I’ve stood on those sets. I’ve walked the corridors of the underground lab where much of the film takes place. I’ve stared down the seemingly endless elevator shaft that the film’s climax is centered around. I’ve talked to Kevin Bacon while dressed from head to toe in blue, ready to be digitally removed from his shot. I’ve listened to crazy Paul Verhoeven yell and scream and work his crew into a lather. I’ve seen the FX tests of a man’s body disappearing layer by layer, and I’ve seen actual finished footage of the remarkable process that takes Bacon’s body from him. It’s all evocative stuff, and reading the script filled in the blanks for me. I think this could be a return to form for the Raving Dutchman, and that delights me. The script gives him plenty of room to play nasty, but without undercutting the message of the picture. This could be one of the summer’s most toxic little kicks, and it just leapt onto my must-see list. If they manage to capture the doomed horror of the script and if Bacon’s performance avoids the easy traps of excess, then this could be something worth getting excited about.
ARE YOU AFRAID OF THE DARK?
I know you’re hearing it from every direction this week on this site, but I’m going to say it again, too. See PITCH BLACK this weekend. It’s a great ride, a film I’m deeply fond of, and it’s the exact kind of thing that I come here to write about. It’s a little film that was flying under everyone’s radar until just recently, and I’m glad we’ve been able to give it a push. My original review sums my feelings up nicely, but I’d like to add that I often find myself rooting for the little guy, and this movie’s got “little guy” written all over it. It’s got a talented cast that most of America’s never heard of. It’s got a second-time director who isn’t a draw of any particular potency. It’s being released during what’s traditionally a dump time, a bad sign to some people. Ignore all that. Just gather up your friends, head down to the theater, and get ready to meet Riddick, Fry, and the others. Get ready to jump and cheer and laugh and scream. Get ready to have fun. What better recommendation is there than that?
KORN TOUR GETS SPIKED
This coming Friday also sees the kickoff of the new Korn tour. Why would I mention a tour by a hard-rock band in this column? Maybe it’s got something to do with the fact that Korn will be featuring animation provided by none other than Spike of “Spike & Mike’s” fame, sick and twisted shorts that will be playing on giant screens right there on the main stage. I recently had the opportunity to meet Spike and spend the afternoon with him in and around his offices, a veritable archive of the best animated shorts of the past few decades. I’m still downloading all the tapes from that encounter into my transcriber, so keep your eyes peeled for that in the next few. Also keep your eyes open for when Korn hits your town. Just seeing Spike blow away all those Teletubbies in his special videotaped opening segment is worth going. All the great shorts you’ll see are just the icing on the cake.
Well, that’s about it for this week. I know this has been an uncharacteristically brief edition of the RUMBLINGS, but that’s because there’s still the last few ‘90s lists on the way, and I’m working hard to finish those up. I’ve also got a special look coming at the impending release of Krystof Kieslowski’s epic THE DECALOGUE on video, and I’m working on a big Script Reading Round-Up column for sometime in the next month. Add to that the super-secret upcoming special promotion that Harry and I are working on to announce in the next few days, and there’s plenty to keep me busy for the next week until we speak again. Until then…
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Feb. 16, 2000, 5:37 p.m. CST
....How come you didn't show up to your scheduled on line chat the other night? Just wondering. It would've been cool to talk to you.
Feb. 16, 2000, 5:40 p.m. CST
by EL Duderino
If E.T. was enough to ruin Drew Barrymore's childhood, just imagine what this Oscar will do. Just a thought.
Feb. 16, 2000, 5:43 p.m. CST
by All Thumbs
The William Goldman book sounds like an interesting read and a must-have not only for those going into the "business" but for those of us who are really interesting in anything film. Now, should I read the first book first or can I read this new one without being confused? Does it reference the first book a lot?
Feb. 16, 2000, 5:48 p.m. CST
by All Thumbs
Osmet's performance may have seemed like an easy one to many of you and it may seem to those who really want to see Cruise get his Oscar unfair that an 11-year-old could take it away from him. First of all, I would love to see Cruise get this. I haven't seen Magnolia yet, but I feel he's long overdue for some recognition. The thing is, I hear how much work that kid did going into a role that was more mature than his young years (was he maybe 7 or 8 when he did it?). It's an amazing performance and until I see Cruise's I can't say who's is better, I just hope it goes to the one that is deserving. But if this kid gets the statue and I start hearing how he didn't deserve it at all, well, it's just going to make me upset and you guys don't want that, do you?
Feb. 16, 2000, 5:51 p.m. CST
by Dark Magus
If the Academy had any balls, this is what it should have been: Best Actor Edward Norton Best Actress Annette Bening Best Picture Fight Club Best Supporting Actor Brad Pitt Best Supporting Actress Nicole Kidman Best Original Screenplay Being John Malkovich Best Adapted Screenplay Fight Club Best Director Stanley Kubrick. I dare you to argue with me.
Feb. 16, 2000, 5:55 p.m. CST
Music for the original Superman is great, but what I really want is the General Zod music from Superman II.
Feb. 16, 2000, 5:55 p.m. CST
Debra Obst? Maybe I'm on crack, but isn't "Hello, He Lied" by whacked out and rather self-important producer Lynda Obst, producer of the oh-so-important film, "The Siege?" Sorry, Moriarity, didn't mean to get on my high horse. She's just not my favorite person out here.
Feb. 16, 2000, 6:02 p.m. CST
Guess it's time for me to crack open that HOLLOW MAN script that's been collecting dust in my apartment. Is this a new draft? I've had my copy for a couple of months. On the subject of Williams' best scores, I tend to think that THE FURY is one of his high water marks. If there's a more menacing piece of music out there, I haven't heard it.
Feb. 16, 2000, 6:06 p.m. CST
For a better woman's perspective on working in Hollywood, I think it's hard to beat Jane Hamsher's KILLER INSTINCT. Oh, and I'd just like to reiterate that had Nigel Hawthorne received a Best Supporting Actor nomination for THE WINSLOW BOY (which should've at least been nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay, too,) it wouldn't have been a contest.
Feb. 16, 2000, 6:06 p.m. CST
...But Forrest Hump, now that was a classic!
Feb. 16, 2000, 6:09 p.m. CST
Is it just me or has Kieslowski been screwed!!! Why the hell are they only releasing the Decalogue on video? What about DVD? Plus, RED, WHITE, and BLUE should all be on dvd...why not? In fact you can't even get RED and WHITE on video anymore. Why are these films not being perserved and shared? It's a tragedy!
Feb. 16, 2000, 6:12 p.m. CST
by user id indeed!
But in the perverted mind of Idiot Hack-oop!I mean Paul Verhoeven-it's just an excuse to work rape scenes into the Invisible Man idea.I can't believe this Dutch moron is still allowed to direct after "Basic Instinct"and"Starship Troopers".Oh well.BTW,I'm making a point not to stoop to his level and mention "Showgirls",so please acknowledge.
Feb. 16, 2000, 6:17 p.m. CST
WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU PEOPLE THINKING? Where is Kubrick for Best Director. This is hands down!!!!! No respect people. Let's ban the Oscars and play reruns from the Beverly Hillbillies instead. GODDDDD!
Feb. 16, 2000, 6:17 p.m. CST
by Tulse Luper
Debra Obst kicks ass! That damn Linda Obst stole her title, stole her second husband, and stole the deed to her lake house outside Austin!!! Right now, poor Debra Obst is sitting in a crapppy studio apartment in Culver City, working on her next female film biz rant (working title is "Um, Hello, She Stole My Title..." - but don't tell Linda) and cursing that faker Linda. What kind of name is Linda anyway? Debra. Now that's a real name!
Feb. 16, 2000, 6:29 p.m. CST
by Stephen Dedalus
The Best Supporting Actress award will, alas, go to Angelina Jolie for yet another Yelling Screaming Woman performance. Never mind the fact the Samantha Morton was able to express far more emotion without any dialogue. Never mind the fact that Catherine Keener played one of the most quietly manipulative females on the screen in years. Never mind the fact that Toni Colette's quietly distressed mother was part of what held THE SIXTH SENSE together. And never mind the fact that Chloe Sevingy gave a performance that matched the power of Hilary Swank's (and won almost as many critic's awards), in a role that most other actresses would treat as a background part. When it comes down to the wire, Jolie yelled and screamed a lot. Plus she's Jon Voight's daughter. And a big Hollywood favorite. So she'll win. I hope that someday, the Oscars learn that an imploding performance can be every bit as powerful as an exploding performance. Often better.
Feb. 16, 2000, 6:35 p.m. CST
He has the poise and maturity that many adults don't have. When asked about the Oscar competition he replied "I don't think of it as a competition." Straight up made the interviewer look pretty petty. This kid is pretty impressive, if only he could have been Anakin...and in related news, I see Jake Lloyd's career taking a nose dive.
Feb. 16, 2000, 6:37 p.m. CST
If that's not the quintessential fanboy stereotype, I don't know what is. Seriously, Fight Club was arguably decent, but neither Brad Pitt nor Edward Norton seriously stretched their acting chops. It wasn't anything that any other young actor could have done.
Feb. 16, 2000, 6:38 p.m. CST
by tommy five-tone
goldman: his books and scripts are pretty cool and i'm looking forward to this new one, but his articles in 'premiere' betray him as a fella with an utter disdain for 'modern cinema' (jeez, that sounds so wanky). re. jolie: her 'girl, interrupted' performance was absolute crap - tiresome bad girl antics that aimed to be oh-so-cool and were just oh-so-predictable. go back and watch jolie in HBO's 'gia' and you'll see why angelina deserves the hype (or try to find 'cyborg 2: glass shadow' in which a 17 y.o. jolie gets 'em out for the lads. fine actress, fine titties, but she don't deserve no damn oscar for that whiny winonarama piece of crap.
Feb. 16, 2000, 6:42 p.m. CST
by tommy five-tone
killer instinct: god, i hate that book! hamsher reveals herself as a whiny no-talent bitch (you seen her name on any movies since 'apt pupil'? no you haven't!) and don murphy comes across as a fat passenger whose only talent is for scamming free shit outta the multinationals. that said, i find myself re-reading it on occasion, strictly when i feel like torturing myself with tales of how some fuck-knuckles can make it semi-big in the showbiz. read robert rodriguez's 'rebel without a crew' instead - now that's inspirational, funny and enlightening.
Feb. 16, 2000, 6:50 p.m. CST
John Williams should have been nominated for the Phantom Menace score, but we covered that yesterday. Let's talk about Superman for a moment, shall we? Williams' music made that movie work. Yes, the script was good, acting fine, and special effects cutting edge for the time, but the music really tied it all together and elevated the whole thing. One of my favorite Williams pieces is called "Leaving Home." It is the scene where Clark decides that the time has come for him to go out and find his purpose in the world. Ma Kent joins him in the field to say goodbye. I don't think they exchange but about three or four lines of dialogue, but when that music swells, and we crane up to reveal all those amber waves of grain...My god, you just get chills. I don't believe this piece was included on the orginal disc, so I plan to get the new one. It sounds like this is a comprehensive selection of all the music in the film, like the special edition discs of the Original Trilogy that came out in 97. You guys should all pick up a copy. Disc one on ANH includes disgarded takes of the Star Wars theme, each of which is slightly different from the one we are used to from the film. I hope there is some similar "easter eggs" on the Superman disc set. You know, the fact that John Williams can write so much good music is simply amazing. They should give HIM a lifetime achievement award at the Oscars some year soon.
Feb. 16, 2000, 7:02 p.m. CST
just saw it. Very Matrixy
Feb. 16, 2000, 7:32 p.m. CST
I can't believe these guys are pushing that damn movie so much. I saw it last night at a preview and damn if I wasn't disappointed after the intense hype from this site. Some of the film doesn't make any sense. When Dave Twohy can't figure out how to get the characters through a patch of aliens, he just waves the camera around incomprehensibly and we're left shaking our heads. The first half was entertaining and kept my interest, but then it fell apart. Wait for video, folks.
Feb. 16, 2000, 8:23 p.m. CST
hey guys. Cheer up. And by the way I think Gump is a pretty good movie, but not worthy of all the oscars it got. Those people who have shown up on this site in the last couple of days to give Harry, and now it sounds like some are giving Moriarty a hard time too, are just weirdos with no life. I mean what's the point?? I hope you guys knows who the REAL fans of your work are. We will never let you down!
Feb. 16, 2000, 9:49 p.m. CST
by tommy five-tone
for a while there, angelina was letting those puppies out for a run in every damn film she made! i think the reason i disliked 'girl, incompetent' so much was that she (and winona!) kept them under wraps! oh wait a minute, i hated that movie because it was insipid and cliched and self-enchanted. hope 'gone in 60 seconds' and 'dancing in the dark' kickstart jolie's career again, but there's no hope for winona unless she starts indulging in a little NC-17 action (tastefully handled, of course).
Feb. 16, 2000, 9:53 p.m. CST
I'm a big fan of Adventures in the Screen Trade. I read it about three times and sometimes pick it up and re-read sections when I'm bored. He also recently published a collection of essays called "The Big Picture: Who Killed Hollywood?" It's interesting because Goldman examines what makes movies successful and how big time buzz virtually ruins some movies' chances at the box office. It also features a touchingly fond article on the death of Andre the Giant that is It's interesting and I can't wait for his new one.
Feb. 16, 2000, 10:10 p.m. CST
by tommy five-tone
dude, am i hallucinating or is that big smiling harry face in the corner occasionally shedding a tear? answer me quickly, because then i'll be able to ascertain whether or not the couch is actually telling me not to sit on it anymore.
Feb. 17, 2000, 12:12 a.m. CST
I want to know why Kieslowski's THREE COLORS trilogy has not been released on DVD! Somebody needs to pull their heads out of their asses and at least get throw us a bone by putting BLUE on DVD. I confess that I'm in love with Juliette Binoche, but these films deserve to be presented in the best possible format for home viewing.
Feb. 17, 2000, 12:57 a.m. CST
Credibility at last! Some of the ads for Pitch Black use a quote from one of the AICN reviews. I forget whose review, but just being mentioned, recognized as a legitimate place for movie reviews... that's got to kick ass. And no, the good AICN quote wasn't the only good press this movie's gotten. New York Times called it one of thescariest sci-fi films in years. And that's really the entire goal. Not an genre-redefining cinema event, but a good scary alien flick. Peace.
Feb. 17, 2000, 12:59 a.m. CST
I'm not sure where I saw the interview (I really hope it wasn't Entertainment Tonight or I'll be eating my own shoe leather right now - it was some time ago!) Wherever it was, he appears genuine and very mature. And yeah, unlike Osment, Lloyd... well... comes off like a flake, a ham, and pretty self absorbed. These are two little boys that are handling their newfound stardom quite differently.
Feb. 17, 2000, 2:42 a.m. CST
by Lazarus Long
I like how Moriarty was referring to the several great adapted screenplays, and how they whittled down long material, then used Green Mile as an example. I believe that screenplay could have been whittled down even more. The Cider House Rules was a decent film, but funny how Irving wound up with the things he complained about earlier adaptions of his work. Not a "great" film by any stretch of the imagination. As for Goldman's comments, how he can put Kubrick on a pedestal and dis every other great modern filmmaker kind of pisses me off. GOldman doesn't have a perfect track record himself, and how Martin Scorsese isn't up there w/ Kubrick baffles me. The guy is every bit as uncompromising and revolutionary, and about 50 times more prolific (not that I'm criticising Kubrick for his smaller output). Just because a kid turns in a performance better than any other child actor doesn't mean they should get an award. They shouldn't get a "handicap" because of their age, rather they should be judged against their elders equally. I can't remember when a young actor's performance was truly the best of the year. Maybe Tatum O' Neal deserved it for Paper Moon, and Jodie Foster SHOULD have won for Taxi Driver. But I think it would be pretty unfair to give it to Osment. Chirstopher Plummer should have been nominated anyway for The Insider. Or Philip Seymour Hoffman for anything. As for the guy who thought Ed Norton's performance could have been done by any actor in Hollywood, think again, pal. Most reviews of Fight Club, even the negative ones, pointed out how amazing Norton was. It was a ballsy, daring performance, a mixture of sarcasm, desperation, and intensity that I really don't think many, if any, others are capable of. He was robbed, as was the film for numerous other technical awards.
Feb. 17, 2000, 3:50 a.m. CST
by Palmer Eldritch
Lets just pray Pitch Black doesn't turn out to be another "Burn, Hollywood Burn" then.
Feb. 17, 2000, 8:02 a.m. CST
I have also seen that tear once in a while.
Feb. 17, 2000, 8:11 a.m. CST
I personally don't see Cruise winning the Oscar. And he's a good actor yes and in 99' he showed us all alot by being in Eyes Wide Shut and Magnolia. But he's also starred in alot of "formula" films and I can't say Cruise "finally" will get it. I know the kids only 11, but they've given it to young kids before and Anna Paquin winning the oscar was a HUGE shock and osment is seen as having a good chance.
Feb. 17, 2000, 9:27 a.m. CST
Don't you hate it when Thursday feels like Wednesday...? Thanks for the report though, late as it may be. Bwa-hahahaha.
Feb. 17, 2000, 10:22 a.m. CST
by Obscure Homage
This has nothing to do with Moriarty's rumblings, although I do find them informative and witty. Harry, are you planning on reviewing American Psycho in the near future? I need to get a solid perspective on this film, wh ich I have been eagerly anticipating for quite some time now. Thanks for your attention!
Feb. 17, 2000, 10:36 a.m. CST
Oh, the Oscars. Yawn. Gee, they screwed up the nominations again, what a shock. News flash, folks- we won't get a better system until we start just flat out ignoring the Academy. Don't bitch about the noms, don't watch the telecast, just ignore them and eventually they'll go away, or at least have their thunder stolen by someone who (hopefully) has a clue.
Feb. 17, 2000, 10:46 a.m. CST
Angelina will probably win, because the shmucks at the Academy have a history of giving people SBG's for previous work (Butterfield 8, anyone?) but Toni deserves it. She was essentially working in a vacuum, with only two tiny scenes that I can recall where she interacted with anyone other than The Kid, yet she was note perfect for the whole damn movie. And that scene in the car was way too sappy and melodramatic, yet I was still all misty when it hit. Why? Toni. Goddess but that woman is talented.
Feb. 17, 2000, 12:16 p.m. CST
by Citizen Pain
If anyone deserves a lifetime achievement Oscar, it's Roger Corman. Sure, some of his films were often loooooow-budget. Ok, ALL of his films were low budget. But, his influence cannot be ignored. He is the Father of Alternitive/Independant cinema. He is the mentor to Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese, Ron Howard, Jonathan Demme and Jack Nicholson. If not the Oscar, then the Irving Thalberg Award, I mean Warren Beatty has made some stinkers too. What do you guys think?
Feb. 17, 2000, 12:20 p.m. CST
I just wanted to remind Moriarty that John Williams was already honoured quite admirably. "The Happy Wanderers" aka Stan and Yosh Shmenge saluted him once on SCTV. If I remember, Stan wore an imitation R2D2 hat, and Yosh was dressed like Darth Vader. Snakes hung down from the ceiling a la "Indiana Jones"
Feb. 17, 2000, 2:02 p.m. CST
When you look at the best music of John Williams, it's truly staggering. Being the huge fan I am of the Superman movie, I'm tempted, however, to say that it's his "most perfect" score. It's hard, 'cause Raiders of the Lost Ark is so damn "on," and Star Wars is no slouch, but Williams' themes so quintessentially define Superman, so hit the nail on the head, that I have to give it the slight nod. Agentcooper, great example by the way. The fanfare is what everyone knows (crank it up loud during the credits, especially when the Superman "S" explodes onto the screen!), but there're so many great little moments too. One of my personal favorite non-fanfare moments comes when Superman finds Lois' body - there's a reprise of the love theme, and then, as he kisses her and lowers her body, the music pauses, with only this odd, lilting instrument (harp?)chiming a few notes. An amazing musical depiction of the realization of death, and one's powerlessness in the face of it. Or how about the quiet reprise of the fanfare when lil' baby Supes raises that truck over his Pa? Or the dark musical sting when General Zod raises his eyes to confront Jor-El and the verdict of the council? Hell, what a score. Yep, Agentcooper, no doubt in my mind that William's contribution to the film is staggeringly huge. He should really be considered one of THE principal creators behind the film, right up there with Richard Donner, Mario Puzo, and Christopher Reeves. I'm buyin' this new CD today.
Feb. 17, 2000, 3:38 p.m. CST
OH yeah? how about those korn kids in a dying fetus pit, or hell, even good ole fashion slayer still has among the most brutal pits on earth, or how about seeing them churned to little pieces by canadas cryptopsy, or see them skewered to the now defunct brutal truth? yeah korn, die you hip hop ny hardcore rip off little fags DIE AAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! biohazard had it going when you were little tit sucking brats!!!!.....Hey, how about a mosh pit at the oscars?
Feb. 17, 2000, 6:28 p.m. CST
by Stud Boy
The scary thing is that every sci-fi film until the next millenium is gonna be touted by Harry and his fellow geeks as being the one that finally does it. The one that finally does what . . . is as good as Alien?? or some other movie from 15-20 years ago. I really thought AICN was a cool concept of how the Hollywood hype machine perverts the system and how AICN intervenes and puts a big food in there asses but in this case it's become their agent of mass penetration. Avoid the darkness and get into the light wait for video on Pitch Black if you MUST see it.
Feb. 17, 2000, 8:48 p.m. CST
I just read this off the web. Are you guys in any trouble? Here's the link: http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/nm/20000217/re/oscars_web_1.html
Feb. 17, 2000, 8:56 p.m. CST
... a cool fu&%$#@ flick. I saw it last night the audience I was with had a blast. Does it really have to be better than Alien(s) to be a good film why can't we just pass the popcorn and watch our girlfriends screem and rip a hole into our arms. Who cares Darth about the Fuc&*%g camera movment are you that critical. It's deffinitly worth my $ I'm bringing my boys to check it out peace.
Feb. 21, 2000, 6:21 p.m. CST
Jeezus Christ!! Are you guys too cool or something to acknowledge Bobby Darin or the coming Darin biopic in any way, shape or form?? "American Beauty" (ever hear of that film??) contains FOUR Darin tunes! Kevin Spacey (do you know who he is??) ended his "60 Minutes" interview on network TV last night, my mentioning that he will most likely be signed to do the Darin biopic as his next venture... WHY are YOU so "behind the curve" on this one?? OK..go ahead and laugh..I'm a Bobby Darin Fan, and I should get a life, but seriously, it starts to look like reverse snobism when AICN acts as if Darin and/or his Biopic (there are actually TWO rumored Darin-Bio productions, somewhat currently at odds) do not exist. Re-adjust your cool-meter, for Chrissakes, or just WAKE UP!! I won't even BOTHER to address the issue of Darin's coolness, which has undoubtedly contributed to the interest of such a pic in the real world. This ISN'T Pat Boone..or Vic Damone...or James Darren..or Bobby Rydell..this is BOBBY DARIN, who at 21 years of age,in 1959, out-Sinatra'd Sinatra with the coolest anthem to this very day, the everlastingly hip "Mack The Knife"!!!..As Dr. Evil would say,.."..you just don't get it, do you.."
March 1, 2000, 6:26 a.m. CST
OK, I see so much cynicism & self-righteousness on this website that I often wonder were you people come from. Didn't you have mothers? Have you ever had children? Every film doesn't have to be cutting-edge, innovative, dark, sexy or about totally screwed-up characters to be worthwhile. If that were the case, we'd never have or at least appreciate such gems of the past as THE WIZARD OF OZ, IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE, AMERICAN GRAFFITI, BREAKING AWAY, HOOSIERS or LOCAL HERO. Many of these were reviled at first by film elitists & are now considered cinema treasures! I happen to think that lovely, life-affirming flicks like FORREST GUMP & THE CIDER HOUSE RULES are sorely needed in this desperate, chaotic world. If I had an Academy vote, mine would have gone to QUIZ SHOW & THE INSIDER in those respective yrs, but I still love & appreciate the other 2. As a matter of fact, I think BEING JOHN MALKOVICH is the most amazing movie of 1999, but CIDER HOUSE is the one I will want to share with my family & friends over the yrs. You have to appreciate each film for the goals it has set for itself & how well it has achieved them. You can't possibly take a sweet, uplifting picture like CIDER HOUSE & compare it to something like EYES WIDE SHUT or THE MATRIX. All I'm saying is look for the positive in a film & you will almost always enjoy the ride - in varying degrees, of course, but you'll still like the journey. One final thought about Kevin Spacey as Bobby Darin - that SO FREAKIN' ROCKS it isn't even funny!!! Oh, and William Goldman is my screenwriting god!!!
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