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MORIARTY'S RUMBLINGS FROM THE LAB: SPECIAL BIRTHDAY EDITION!!

Hey, all. "Moriarty" here. Well, here we are. I'm wrapping up this very special personal weekend with my favorite people in the world… all of you, the readers of AICN. Before I say anything or spout off on this or that or climb up on my weekly soapbox, I want to thank you for being so kind and so interesting over the last few years. When I opened the doors of The Moriarty Labs, I had no idea how much fun it was going to be. Sure, I always thought being an Evil Genius sounded cool, but this has all been beyond my expectation. I thank everyone I have ever talked to about a story, everyone who's ever written me mail (even the bad ones), and every filmmaker who we have ever discussed (even the ones whose work we didn't like). I never made the decision that I was going to get this tangled up with Knowles and his entire circus of spies. It just happened, and I'm grateful it did. As this site grows and changes over the next few years, and as The Moriarty Labs and Harry Lime orchestrate a joint crime wave of our own, I hope I am lucky enough to continue this amazing dialogue with all of you in this forum and others.

Scared of the SHADOW

When Knowles got back from Cannes last week, the first thing he did was call me. He loves to gloat. It's probably the thing that most defines him. He knew that many years ago, Harry Lime and I had envisioned a film about Murnau and his relationship with Max Shreck, star of the classic NOSFERATU. In our idea, Shreck was a mystery, possibly a dream, maybe a vampire. When I first heard of BURNED TO LIGHT (the original title of Lion's Gate's upcoming release SHADOW OF THE VAMPIRE), I was heartbroken, and so was Harry Lime. This sort of thing happens from time to time. You simply accept it as a writer. What inspired you could well inspire someone else. Ideas are cheap. Execution is everything. I know that many people accused me of being so harsh in my SIMON BIRCH review (a Hallenbeck-style abuse of my outlet here) because I wanted to adapt John Irving's A PRAYER FOR OWEN MEANY myself, and maybe there's truth in that. I try to go to movies open to the experience, though. I always wanted to make a film about Jim Morrison, but after seeing Val Kilmer's uncanny collaboration with Oliver Stone, I felt like someone else had done it so well, there was no need. I loved that, and it saved me the five years of work and the grueling shoot and the massive production. All I had to do was go to the Dome and pay $6. Beauty.

When I saw the trailer for SHADOW, I was underwhelmed. I thought it was strange, hinting at a broad comic tone that totally undercut any potential creep factor from what looked like elaborate makeup on Willem Dafoe. A few people mentioned to me that they had seen the film as time wore on and the finished film sat at Lion's Gate. Reactions were mixed at best. I genuinely had no idea what to expect from the experience. And then Harry had to go and see the damn thing. He even took the trip to do it, really rubbing in that part. "It's only playing that one show at Cannes," he said on the phone that night. "You won't see it 'till the fall." Well, Knowles, never underestimate me or the powerful motivator that fear can be with my henchmen. I told Mongo that I wanted into Lion's Gate, and I set him to work cracking the offices for the company in the Variety building on Wilshire. It's a tricky area to tunnel in, being within spitting distance of the tar pits. Mongo managed it, though, so that late Thursday night, sometime after 2 am, I entered the Lion's Gate offices with John Robie and Gregor Samsa, determined to find a copy of the film. We did so quickly, found a conference room down the hall (which may not have even been theirs), and watched the film.

I think the thing that's most impressive about E. Elias Merhige's film is the way it never really becomes anything you expect it to be. For one thing, it's not about the real making of NOSFERATU in any way. This is a fantasy that takes that real event as a jumping off point. Anyone who complains about the factual inaccuracies of this film doesn't get the point. It's not meant to be real. It's a dream about movies, captured and shared. It's not a full fledged horror film. It's not a black comedy. It's not an homage to silent horror. Yet, at the same time, it's all those things together. The screenplay by Steven Katz is deceptively simple, a mood piece, a fever dream. It's fitting, since it's demonstrated early on that F.W. Murnau is not just a filmmaker, but is in fact drunk on the process, passionate to the point of mania. NOSFERATU, a film that starts life as an adaptation of Bram Stoker's DRACULA, only to be changed due to lack of cooperation from Stoker's estate, is his latest obsession as the film opens. He manipulates all those around him to get what he wants, with no real regard for them. In particular, we see him using all his strange charisma to cajole his lead actress, Greta, to leave Berlin and the busy theater season to go shoot location sequences for NOSFERATU. I enjoyed the stylized quality of the process of filmmaking as presented here. I think Merhige is deeply fond of the iconography of the era, and he does some beautiful work at setting up the fervor with which Murnau works to capture his images on film.

The thing that really makes this film special, though, is the same thing that makes the original NOSFERATU such a potent piece of fright cinema now, nearly a century away from when it was made: the spectral presence of Max Shreck. In the case of this new film, it is Willem Dafoe who seems to channel this haunting figure. From very early on, the film makes the case that Shreck is not an actor, as Murnau keeps reassuring his cast and crew, but is in fact a real vampire. We see that Murnau and Shreck have some sort of devil's deal, an agreement that will allow Shreck to feed at some point on the other side of the production schedule. Murnau has rescued Max from obscurity. He is an ancient creature, nothing compared to what he was in his glory days. He manages to be a creation of great pathos and humor and revulsion in the same moment. It's a remarkable performance by Dafoe, one of the highlights of his career. I haven't liked him this much on film since LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST, and he vanishes further into this role, becoming invisible as the actor we know. He's so at home in the body and the face of Shreck that after a while, it's impossible to imagine him looking any other way.

There are levels of wit at work here. Some of it is broad, and that's the strangest material in the film, overt humor against this horrific, claustrophobic setting. In particular, cast members Eddie Izzard and Cary Elwes manage to give wry comic performances that never once violate the reality that's been set up. They're funny, but it's in context. Catherine McCormack adds a level of heat to the film with her portrayal of the morphine-addicted lead actress Greta Schroeder. Udo Kier is used to maximum effect as the film's harried producer, Albin Grau. All of these performers bring different styles to the film, but somehow Merhige manages to create something uniform and ethereal from that amazing collision. There is something about the image of Murnau behind the camera, cranking the film himself, one eye closed, his whole world narrowed down to what he sees through that lens, that strikes me deeply as a filmmaker. That moment… the act of capturing some essential splinter of time and preserving it forever… that's what filmmaking is about. At its heart, that's the art of it all. Figuring out what moment you're trying to record, and knowing what you have to do to get it. Murnau's quest drives him to unspeakable lengths, and there are other filmmakers who have done and said less than admirable things, who have been less than perfect in their fervor to capture something on film. I don't think this film knows quite where it stands on Murnau's more monstrous behavior, whether it condones it or not, and in some ways, I don't think it matters. Once Murnau reaches the final scenes of this film, he acts the only way he can act. He does the only thing he can do. The feeling of inevitability that grips the final 20 minutes of this film might frustrate those looking for suspense. For me, though, there is horror here… real and potent. There is the surrender of something human in the pursuit of something great, and that's a brutal, sad thing to see happen to any character. The fact that Murnau doesn't even seem to realize what price he's paid is what gives SHADOW OF THE VAMPIRE its real and lasting weight, to my mind. I hope you get the chance to see this film, which I'm sure will present Lion's Gate with a unique marketing challenge. A film this special is worth the effort.

MORIARTY DID IT

I was recently engaged in an e-mail exchange with a reader from the site, someone who was outraged by something negative I wrote about a project. He dared me to justify my criticisms. "What have you ever done?" he asked. Normally, that question bothers me, but a recent experience made me examine the question seriously. I wrote back to him after thinking on it for a few days. "You ask me to define myself and my credentials. To you, I say that I am a lifelong film fan. I say that I am someone who takes the art form very seriously, who's been lucky enough to study the subject with some of the best teachers in the world in both practical and academic settings. I'm an award-winning dramatist. I'm a card-carrying member of the WGA. I'm the west coast editor of Ain't It Cool News. I'm Batman and Bruce Wayne, and I'm working my ass off." There's a credential I left off that list, though, and I'll admit… it was because I was wrestling with complex feelings about something I just saw.

Yes, that's right… it's time for a little session of "Full Disclosure With Moriarty." I figure it's only fair, especially as I ruminate on passing a birthday milestone, one of those big ages where you're supposed to reflect on who you are and what you've done. I frequently write about the process that films go through on this page, and it's always interesting to me to watch the arc of expectation with a film. It's one thing to watch a film come together from the outside though, and quite a different experience watching one come together that you're responsible for in some way. That's the process I'm just come to the end of in regards to a film called WALTER DID IT.

The process started almost five years ago, in New York City, in a Mexican restaurant where Harry Lime, myself, and a producer we were working with were all sharing a huge meal and a healthy drink tab. As we talked into the small hours of the morning, the producer entertained us with the most amazing stories about a former roommate of his, a total lunatic who had melted down in a series of ways. Harry Lime and I collect bad roommate stories, and one part of the story involving a rubber mask named "Henry" intrigued me. After that dinner ended, Harry Lime and I couldn't shake the story of "Henry." Combining some of those details with some of the other bad roommate stories we had collected led to a quick script called WALTER DID IT. It was written to be shot for no money -- two or three locations, a small cast, minimal action, a creepy film that would depend on vibe and upon the viewer really liking the main cast. The cast had to be three guys you wouldn't mind being stuck in this house with in this claustrophobic little story. We did five or six roundtable readings of the script with a group of actors we were working with, and everything seemed to be working. At the time, Harry Lime and I were planning to shoot the film ourselves, but plans changed, and we ended up with this great little script that everyone seemed to like, but which we weren't going to use. We built a webpage in which we talked about the aborted process, and as a result, we met Tom Makedon.

I've shared all the comments that are published here today with the guys who made this film. Some of them just came back at me with constructive responses, and some of them were genuinely hurt. That certainly is not the point of this column today. I have utmost respect for everyone who put any sort of effort forward in making WALTER DID IT something that exists on film, not just on the page. I may not agree with any of the choices you guys made, and it may kill me to watch the movie, but the fact is… you did it. You put your money and your time behind something you believed in, and you made a film. I know that when I first started talking with Tom Makedon, the film's producer and star, his enthusiasm for the idea of making WALTER was infectious and boundless. He's based in Chicago, and he explained to me about how he was going to be able to call in favors from all sorts of technical people in Chicago, and how he had managed to put together enough capital to make the film, and how he was planning to release it after he finished it. He was ambitious, and he was ready to start shooting immediately. When presented with Tom's energy, there was only one answer Harry Lime and I could give. We told him that we would happily let him use our script, and we ended up with a piece of the film on the back end in lieu of payment. Our investment into Tom's dream was the script, and we felt like it was an easy choice to make.

And then Tom began the process in Chicago of actually making his film, and we lost touch with him. For the next few years, all we would ever hear would be occasional phone messages about some vague progress, quick assurances from Makedon. And that was fine. To be honest, I told Harry Lime that I gave the film about a 30% chance of never getting finished. That's no slight to director/photographer John Terendy or Tom and his co-producer/co-star Luke Bennet. It's just a fact that when you're making a film in the under-$100,000 category, things can get tight, and expenses can sneak up on you, and things can go wrong that derail you. It happens. When enough time went by without hearing anything further about the film, I assumed that was the case with this film. Of course, what happens when you assume something?

I got a package in the mail about three weeks ago. The return address read "T. Makedon." I saw the name and a shock ran through me. I never expected to actually get the envelope in the mail, to be holding this thing, tangible, finished, watchable. I was momentarily nervous, almost panicked. I called Harry Lime, managed to get him to come out of hiding long enough to drop by the Labs for a viewing of the film. I also invited along John Robie and Gregor Samsa, wanting the opinions of people who weren't part of the film in any way. I even let Henchman Mongo sit in, figuring if it was good enough to keep him entertained and focused for longer than ten consecutive minutes, it was really working. By the time I got all of them gathered and we had our dinner ready and we were all settled in, I'd been in a state of anticipation for hours, feeling like there was some monstrous itch I couldn't quite scratch. I needed to see the movie. Finally we pressed play and sat back.

First, a brief synopsis of the film as originally envisioned: Three guys end up in a situation where they decide to rent a house together. All of them are survivors of fairly hideous roommate situations, and they're looking for something simple. The house they find comes fully furnished because the prior renters bailed without their stuff and without paying several months in back rent. On the mailbox is a single name… "Walter." One of the items they find in the house is a rubber mask, a disturbing face that they decide is the "Walter" that was referred to. Walter becomes the house joke. People play gags on each other while wearing the mask, or they hide the mask around the house to scare each other. He comes up in conversation like he's a real roommate. Eventually, Walter asserts a presence that seems to spiral out of control, and the roommates must figure out exactly how they can live with Walter and all he is capable of. The film was designed to be a psychological thriller with a smartass attitude, but never a slasher film or a horror movie. Mood over scares was our motto.

It's been three weeks since I've seen the film, and I still can't articulate fully why I dislike it so much. There's one obvious level, which is as a writer. I don't recognize my script. I don't think that just because I wrote something, it's the only way something can be done, but I know when I prefer something, and every time they made a choice in regards to our material, I disagree with the choice that was made. That's an experience that only I would have, though. No one else is going to be comparing it to the material with the same level of scrutiny. As a film viewer, though, I found myself to be distanced from the people onscreen. It's just a matter of chemistry. There's never any sense that Makedon, Bennet, and Mike Stratta engage. There's no life to their exchanges. That volatile chemistry between roommates… the theme the whole film hinges on… simply doesn't exist in the movie. In many ways, it's like we failed to communicate the idea of the film to them before they began shooting. They don't seem to have had any real plan for what the movie was about. They fall into the trap that so many first-time filmmakers do: the whole film is plot, and all the text is on the surface. There's nothing else to the movie. They stand in place and do their lines and cut to the next scene. There's no connective tissue to the movie, nothing that makes it a film. How do I explain? WALTER DID IT certainly looks like a film. It's professionally mounted. We're not talking about something that is unreleasable. Far from it. I think it's visually more polished than many more expensive films. But there's the difference between professional and passionate. So much of what works best for me in a film is the way information is presented, the relationship we have with particular actors in particular moments, the sense of space and color. For example, one part of the appeal of the opening of RESERVOIR DOGS is the performance work by everyone at the table. Another part of the appeal is the sheer silly cascade of words that Tarantino has given his actors. Yet another part of the appeal is that camera, roaming like a hungry shark over everything, trying to capture every little detail, drunk on the opportunity. There's a love of filmmaking to that moment that is infectious, and it doesn't matter what's being said. It's the joy that Tarantino brought to it that sucks you in, that makes it so instantly iconic when the men stride out of the diner. There's no sense in the filmmaking of WALTER DID IT that there's any room for that sort of thing. In the rush to get the story on film, understandable on a budget this size, they failed to make a complete picture. Despite the high level of the production quality, there's not a single sequence in the film that ultimately works as a whole. We are kept at arm's length from every event in the film, and the muddled cutting of the picture makes some major moments completely incomprehensible. Even having written the film, I was confused by several scenes. Not an encouraging sign.

If I had this bad a reaction to it, why mention it at all? Well, for a few reasons. First of all, I don't want anyone to think they can use this as a weapon against me. There's nothing wrong with making a film of any kind, good or bad. I'm glad I gave the script to Makedon and Bennet and Terendy. There was a TALK BACKER who kept asking questions about WALTER DID IT over the last year or so, acting as if he were Bob Woodward, sniffing around evidence of some multi-national conspiracy. I never answered his questions here because there was nothing to report. I've never planned to hide my association with any of my work. I may have enormous issues with the final cut of this film, but consider the source of these comments. Am I a trustworthy reporter in this circumstance? When my name appears as screenwriter on the film… and it's right there in the credits… then I have no real objectivity. That's what someone might say, anyway. I'd like to think I am able to view the film as an experience totally removed from my own ego, but I am still part of it, involved with it, and I still want to see Makedon and Bennet and Terendy and the others get their day in court.

Maybe I'm totally full of shit. Maybe someone else will see it and all the flaws that jump out at me and seem so obvious and so painful and so blinding wouldn't matter. Maybe someone else would see this and have a good time. According to Makedon, several distributors already have enjoyed what they've seen. I am fully willing to concede that this might be a case of me not being able to see past my personal baggage to find the gold that might be in there. Maybe someone will give him money to tweak the film, reshoot things that didn't work, expand on what they like. Maybe someone will look at it and just know how to sell it. Whatever the case, it would be criminal of me to discuss the picture and not give you a way to contact the other players in the story. If you're a distributor and you want to give WALTER DID IT a look, give Makedon a shout at his e-mail address and ask him to arrange it for you.

Yes, I think things are seriously wrong with WALTER DID IT, but when I think of the film, I don't see it as a wasted opportunity. I've learned something about the kinds of control I'm going to need over my work in order to be happy. I've learned about what happens when you let someone else rewrite your work and you don't see the rewrites. I've learned that enthusiasm and good intentions do not equal talent and craftsmanship. And when I think of the entire experience, I picture Johnny Depp as Ed Wood in one of my favorite moments from that classic movie. He's standing at a phone on a studio lot, talking to an executive. That amazing little smile of Depp's, the Ed Wood special, is plastered in place, and he is practically bobbing up and down. "What's that?" he says. "Worst film you ever saw? Well, my next one will be better. Hello? Hello?"

The first time I saw this moment, it got a bark of laughter from me, an explosion. Great delivery, great line. But each time since, that laugh has caught in my throat. There's something so naked, so beautiful about that spirit. "My next one will be better." That's ultimately what it's about, right? Doing the work. Having the experience. And hoping to God that you get something special out of it. Tom Makedon, Luke Bennet, and John Terendy made a film. They did it. And here's hoping their next one will be better. Harry Lime and I have a credit on this film. And here's hoping our next one will be better. And to all the people who gave of their time to be in the movie, who are looking forward to seeing themselves in it, here's to your next one being better. One day, WALTER DID IT could well just be an answer to a trivia question about one of the people involved with it, or maybe even all of them. Only time will tell. Whatever the case, I have had my say about the movie, and I look forward to seeing the response from the eventual court of public opinion.

SHOULD WE DECIDE TO ACCEPT IT?

I got an e-mail from someone associated with MISSION:IMPOSSIBLE 2 this past week asking me for a quote about the movie and my reaction to it. If I hadn't read WINDTALKERS this week, I'd be too depressed to answer. Let me explain. WINDTALKERS is John Woo's next film. It's an MGM picture, written by John Rice and Joe Batteer. The latest draft is dated January 28, 2000, but this is a project that's been kicking around for a while. Right now, Nicolas Cage and Adam Beach are set to star in the film, casting that delights me to no end. Beach, for those of you who didn't see SMOKE SIGNALS, is a wonderful young Native American actor. For those who did see the film, he's the guy who wasn't Thomas. He has an intense screen presence that is perfect for the part of Carl Wahzee. Nic Cage, who had such wonderful chemistry with Woo on the deliriously deranged FACE/OFF, has a role of real depth and warmth in the form of Joe Enders. The canvass that Woo is painting on with this story is WWII, and if there's any earlier Woo film that this script reminds me of, it's the masterful BULLET IN THE HEAD.

As I sat in the theater on opening night and watched the empty ballet of M:I2, my thoughts kept drifting to the script I knew I had waiting at home. I'm of mixed opinion on Woo's work here in America. I've had a chance to meet and speak with Woo on many occasions and have always found him to be charming, intelligent, sharp, surprisingly shy in some ways. For someone who is so canonized by the American film press, though, Woo really hasn't delivered on his promise. HARD TARGET is hard to hold against him, since it was recut without his input. BROKEN ARROW does nothing for me. FACE/OFF is glorious, magnificent trash as a script, and thanks to Woo, it's trash played out as opera, brilliantly staged and balletic in its absurdity. I thought that in many ways, it deflated several of the Woo "trademarks," and I thought it might signify the place where Woo finally connected, where he got started making great American films. With M:I2, he is crippled by a terrible screenplay, and his hands are tied by the film's restrictive PG-13 rating. This is not a John Woo film. It is something that approximates the experience. It is the BEATLEMANIA of John Woo films. It's a bloodless copy of a brilliant original, and that is its greatest disappointment. I come not to harp on Woo, though, but to praise him. He's found a winner with WINDTALKERS. To be honest, I think he could kick SAVING PRIVATE RYAN's ass and make one of the great war adventure films if he's not careful. It's that cool a script. The action in it is that intense and motivated and brutal and powerful. There's things that are written here that would push the envelope for onscreen intensity, but that's okay. This film earns the right to show us these images. This is a story that deals with racial tension in a smart and realistic light. This is a film that pays due respect to the sacrifices of all those who served in WWII. This is a script that wants to be a visceral ride, an experience that we've never had in a theater before, but it also wants to tell a small and realistic human story in front of this particular massive backdrop. I hope Woo is given the full support of MGM here. This is the single best project I've seen them greenlight at that studio in the entire time I've been working with AICN. Take that, MGM. You're making something potentially great. Congratulations. Now don't fuck it up.

And to those of you who wrote me about M:I2, telling me that I need to go easy on the movie, telling me "it's just a summer movie, they're all the same anyway" it makes my skin crawl to read this kind of comment. I guess I should be happy that the comment implies that there's still room for you to believe that there are films that are truly special. This attitude, though -- it's depressing. I wonder, do you think all music sounds the same? Do you think all paintings are alike? Are all books roughly equivalent? It's all just there to occupy your time. Nothing matters. It all just goes in one of the holes. Either it tastes good or it scans pretty on the rods and cones or it keeps your brain busy so you're not faced with the numbing horror of your own thoughts. Just occupy that time. Don't use it. Don't enjoy it. For god's sake, don't savor it. Just occupy it. Don't differentiate between experiences. No good art, no bad art. It's just buzzes and clicks and flashes of light. The sad part is that this is the kind of thinking that keeps movies like BATTLEFIELD EARTH and THREE TO TANGO and I DREAMED OF AFRICA or, yes, MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE 2 in production. The studios count on this blind acceptance of mediocrity to create some sort of return on this bland nothing they pump out, this product. On the one hand, it's depressing because every safe and mindless choice the studio makes keeps them from taking one chance, trying something different that time. All those single bad choices add up. I read a lot of great scripts every year that don't make it to the camera, that get stalled out in production because someone somewhere gets nervous, afraid a real idea or an innovative concept might somehow slip through. As long as sheeple keep sucking up drivel and saying, "Oh, it's okay... it's just movies," then the medium will continue to be thought of and treated like disposable crap, and these summer months will continue to be mixed blessings at best.

So there's other stuff I'd like to talk about this week, but I've already weighed in with 5,700 words, and that's more than enough column for a Tuesday morning. I'll try to get back with more comments later in the week, a sort of mini-RUMBLINGS. Harry's back out here in LA today for all sorts of great secret stuff, and I'm hoping we'll have some very interesting things to talk about when we next report in. Until then…

"Moriarty" out.

Readers Talkback
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  • May 30, 2000, 7:09 a.m. CST

    Walter wasn't bad

    by reni

    I read Walter did it about Easter last year. I wasn't sure, wasn't it posted by you Moriarty as a link or Harry? But I thought it wasn't too bad. It was a catchy idea. And the ending was definitely odd. And I liked that.

  • May 30, 2000, 7:32 a.m. CST

    Timemachine

    by Fairlane

    Hey Moriarty- it seems to me that you must be running out of news-stories to tell. Not that I don't find your little personal story facinating, but i have come to expect differently. Therefore my suggestion to you is to warm up that old timemachine and go to christmas 2001 - then come back to tell about it in the column. Se thats a story I would like to hear (and probably all the Fan-boys to)

  • May 30, 2000, 7:44 a.m. CST

    Dr Strangelove Harry! cool...

    by Jon L. Ander

    I've been desperate for news on Windtalkers ever since i read about it in Empire magazine about a year ago, and now i'm even more optimistic than I was before. P.S Moriarty, I don't think it would be that difficult to kick saving private ryan's ass, as it's one of the most overrated films EVER.

  • May 30, 2000, 7:45 a.m. CST

    Politely Disagree

    by Smilin'Jack Ruby

    AICN didn't post my review of "Shadow of the Vampire" like Chud and DarkHorizons did. It was indeed slightly negative on the project and I would advise all of you kids out there in movie-land to approach "Shadow of the Vampire" with a sense of limited hype. Yes, it is one of the coolest sounding stories around to be told and has some interesting, historically inaccurate alterings "JFK"-style that make it damn weird, but frankly I thought it didn't live up to the hype. Should you still see it? Hell, yeah - why not? Just don't go in expecting it to be the greatest film of 2000. I know a few people who have seen it now that embraced the hype monster and thought it was going to just be the absolute greatest thing of the year, found it to not live up to their expectations and now are telling me it's a pile of dreck. It isn't a pile of dreck, but that's what happens when you go in looking for the second coming and get something else instead.

  • May 30, 2000, 7:52 a.m. CST

    John Woo

    by Brian DePalma

    When I think about him doing WWII all I can imagine is THE IRON CROSS. Which isn't a bad thing.

  • May 30, 2000, 8:06 a.m. CST

    anyone hear catch the lock stock T.V series last night?

    by Jon L. Ander

    hmmmmmm....

  • May 30, 2000, 8:16 a.m. CST

    I liked the LOCK, STOCK TV series

    by Brian DePalma

    The four leads were likable, the great Ralph Brown(Danny the Dealer in WITHNAIL & I) was excellent. It aped the style of the film very well. Besides anything on British TV that features farmyard porn, perma-stoned dutchmen, people being turned into chops, a watch on which the hands are cock and balls and LISA ROGERS from Under The Moon, Exclusive & Slave(Brit TV shows BTW) doing a stiptease has got to be worth a watch.

  • May 30, 2000, 8:32 a.m. CST

    surely the best thing was the crime boss called Miami Vice

    by Jon L. Ander

    although Lisa Rogers was a close second

  • May 30, 2000, 8:54 a.m. CST

    Lock Stock aint The Sweeney man...

    by reni

    I was pretty wreceked last night and that might've helped my enjoyment of the two hour long bacardi advert I watched... Lock Stock was alright really I suppose.

  • May 30, 2000, 8:59 a.m. CST

    Bash Moriarty - and DIE. That simple.

    by Nordling

    Moriarty, by far, leads the most intelligent discourse on film on this site. I would rather talk with him than most of the people here. When he talks about Coen Bros. movies, or his loathing of Battlefield Earth, or great movies he's seen, or music, or comics, or books - he's always dead on with criticism or praise. Personally, I think most of his bashers are those incredibly frustrated 14-year old boys who haven't quite figured out masturbation (it's the shaft, not the balls, boys) and think Michael Bay is the greatest director EVER. Moriarty had enough guts to say that a movie he wrote stunk. That's pretty big of the guy. You can call me a henchman if you want - I'd be proud of it. And if you're looking for me, I'm the guy in front of the Labs with a baseball bat. With a nail in it. Rusty. For your fucking heads.

  • May 30, 2000, 9:04 a.m. CST

    Lock, Stock...

    by StuEdwards

    ...and the same convoluted plot as the film! If we have God knows how many episodes of 'Hard East London gangster's vids/drugs/whatever goes missing, four lads are offered it/lose it/get it back/lose it again, and it all ends with minor characters getting killed in a pseudo-comical fashion' then I'll stick with re-runs of Minder and The Sweeney, thanks

  • May 30, 2000, 9:09 a.m. CST

    Well said Nordling,

    by Brian DePalma

    I've no time for the petty people on these talkbacks.

  • May 30, 2000, 9:10 a.m. CST

    Well said Nordling,

    by Brian DePalma

  • May 30, 2000, 9:20 a.m. CST

    Bahahahah--I mean, Yeah!

    by Drath

    I agree, mediocrity is what we're getting out of Hollywood in the Summer. It just burns me though, because I really though Lucas would take everyone to school with Episode One. Ahem. Well, he taught us what NOT to do in a movie. Anyway, as for John Woo, I'm glad somebody agrees with me about his American movies. So far they just don't seem to work. Until MI-2 I was willing to blame it on John Travolta's bad acting efforts at playing bad guys. And although Battlefield Earth confirmed my belief that Travolta cannot play bad guys without behaving like a Jeuvenile bully and just sucking tremendously, Woo still hasn't escaped dull action camp. Of course, anything Brannon Braga touches turns to shit on toast, but it could have been a good movie. I liked the first one. For one thing it was set in Europe which has that espionage atmosphere, unlike Australia. Second, it had Venessa Redgrave in it, and she played a great villain(and she LIVED, how could they NOT bring her back those idiots). Third, it had a bit more ensemble to it, even though most of the team(s) die. And finally, I CARED! DePalma does a lot of bad things, but he made a decent movie with the first Mission: Impossible. At least they got Anothony Hopkins to play Cruise's boss for five seconds(should have had a scene or two with Redgrave!), even if they did just rip-off M. Speaking of whom, thank god the rumors of a new M are false! Hopefully, Dame Judi Dench will return.

  • May 30, 2000, 9:40 a.m. CST

    Can we stop using the word "balletic" when describing Woo's film

    by Monster Rain

    It's become a hackneyed and cliched term that has ceased to carry any weight or resonace. Yes, the action scenes in Woo's films are constructed like a dance. But jeez, there are lots of other synonyms for "dance" in the English language. I know it's a silly thing to get steamed about, it's just that by using this musty, dated and boring term, we're taking some of the edge out of Woo's work and simply whittling it down to a buzzword.

  • May 30, 2000, 9:42 a.m. CST

    My Lord, There Are Some Hateful People On This Talkback

    by mrbeaks

    While so many of you like to portray Moriarty as some kind of pathetic hanger-on, he is the one with the column. And what do you have again? Good rumblings, m'boy. I'm looking forward to reading WINDTALKERS soon. Still, how long will it be before MGM realizes their wonderful bounty and hires Walter Hill to destroy it?

  • May 30, 2000, 10:02 a.m. CST

    No one at Paramount is regretting the PG-13...

    by Wesley Snipes

    Yeah, artistically, the PG13 hampered the movie (only slightly though). However, don't expect to see the next one rated R, Oliver Stone or no Oliver Stone. When I went to see this film, there were MANY 10-13 year-olds in the theater. Not just with their parents, but in big groups by themselves (We only have PG, not PG-13 here). Also, if you look at cinemascore, every demographic gave the movie a "B" rating, except males under 21, who gave MI2 an "A" rating. Clearly, the PG rating is not hurting the bottomline of this movie. And the bottomline is all the studio cares about, yes?

  • May 30, 2000, 10:45 a.m. CST

    MI:2

    by monkeylucifer

    Moriarty, I agree with you on Mission Impossible 2...totally epitomizes the big brainless summer movie. It was predictable, overblown, full of stilted dialogue....and absolutely NOT one of Woo's best films. It's sad to see the man come to the USA just to end up being one of Hollywood's lapdogs.

  • May 30, 2000, 11:06 a.m. CST

    Hey SSzero, better change that e-mail address to banned10times..

    by Jon L. Ander

    Ass Goblin?? There's a phrase i'm going to drop into general conversation in the near future. Oh and, Nordling....stop defending Moriarty, he can look after himself, even though the criticism is sometimes justified. That "banned from the ranch" thing was the most self pitying drivel I have ever read. Please excuse me for what was surely some piss poor grammar.

  • May 30, 2000, 11:08 a.m. CST

    Wow, um, pretty wacky stuff, SSZero

    by Smilin'Jack Ruby

    I know you're usually needing a little Prozac in y'er cornflakes, but that's just some pretty random mindless bile. Bizarre. Oh, well. Whatever gets you through the night as they say.

  • May 30, 2000, 11:09 a.m. CST

    MI2 thoughts.

    by KingMenthol

    When I saw MI2 I thought the damn thing was a comedy! I swear throughout the movie (Hollywood's Chinese) there was boisterous laughter at the feigned sincerity, the ridiculous use of Woo's standard techniques (I mean, what the fuck's with the doves, yo?), and the tragic almost suicide of that "Beloved" Naya. If that wasn't some of the corniest shiat I've ever seen, then I'm quitting smoking right now. And Sszero, that was purty friggin harsh. Lakers in 5, baby.

  • May 30, 2000, 11:31 a.m. CST

    Should You Ever Be Tempted To Take SSZero Seriously,.....

    by mrbeaks

    .... simply remember that this is the genius who dreamt up the theory that Harry's Late, Late Show appearance on CBS was a reward for bashing Paramount's M:I 2, even though both entities are now part of the Viacom family.

  • May 30, 2000, 11:49 a.m. CST

    Um, SSZero.....

    by mrbeaks

    Ever notice that little Viacom insignia at the base of the Paramount logo? That's right, Paramount's been owned by Viacom for some time; hence, the countless MTV/Nickelodeon tie-ins. I think somebody's been slipping you parody editions of Variety for the last several years.

  • May 30, 2000, 11:49 a.m. CST

    Mmm boy...

    by danhelm

    I must say, this TalkBack is full of whiny malcontents who are slamming Moriarty for being...whiny. SSZero, stop being so conspiracy minded, you're taking this site and its influence WAY too seriously. Quit with your vast conspiracy crap; its time to take the tin foil hat off your head. Please don't contribute to the general formless, mindless banter that usually fills these TalkBacks. This has been a Hey I'm Ripping Off UserID Indeed's Shtick Moment with danhelm, aka Ronald_Reagan

  • May 30, 2000, 12:15 p.m. CST

    Hey - it's my birthday too

    by Stefka

    Sorry - I just wanted to point that out. I'm 22 years young :-D Viva AICN!

  • May 30, 2000, 12:39 p.m. CST

    SSZero is just yanking our chains...

    by Smilin'Jack Ruby

    ...with all the conspiracy stuff about Paramount and Viacom and is writing in just as a joke I'm sure. If he actually believed all that, I'd be genuinely scared, but I think he's just pulling our legs. Yes, it's a demented and sad way to go about doing it and I'm not sure I would spend my life doing the same, but hey, whatever floats y'er boat.

  • May 30, 2000, 12:39 p.m. CST

    SSZero is just yanking our chains...

    by Smilin'Jack Ruby

    ...with all the conspiracy stuff about Paramount and Viacom and is writing in just as a joke I'm sure. If he actually believed all that, I'd be genuinely scared, but I think he's just pulling our legs. Yes, it's a demented and sad way to go about doing it and I'm not sure I would spend my life doing the same, but hey, whatever floats y'er boat.

  • May 30, 2000, 12:46 p.m. CST

    ADAM BEACH IS CANADIAN

    by jbbbl

    JUST TO CLARIFY ADAM BEACH IS A YOUNG CANADIAN ACTOR, IN FACT BOTH THE LEADS IN SMOKE SIGNALS WERE CANADIAN.

  • May 30, 2000, 1:13 p.m. CST

    Good luck, Moriarty

    by Johnny Storm

    On your own writing and film career. I, for one, will be cheering you on and waiting to see your own name up on the screen (whatever that is!). And kudos for coming clean on Simon Birch. I remember Harry and Hallenbeck were both fans as was I. Happy birthday, old man!

  • May 30, 2000, 1:33 p.m. CST

    We're all henchmen at heart, aren't we?

    by All Thumbs

    Norlding, you're my hero for the day. What you said hit the rusty nail on the head with a big, ol' bat. Moriarty is the best thing AICN has to offer and if people don't appreciate that, they need to have their head checked.

  • May 30, 2000, 1:44 p.m. CST

    SSZero: amusing, but illiterate.

    by The_Tooth

    I don't know about rivers in Egypt, but the word you were searching for is "sobriety." You're just jealous because these people are more famous than you. On a more important note, when did Harry learn to stop worrying and love the bomb? His Slim Pickins impression is pretty cool.

  • May 30, 2000, 2:04 p.m. CST

    Do thy master's 'binding'?

    by mephisto666

    Now there's an image...

  • May 30, 2000, 2:04 p.m. CST

    These articles are simply too long

    by Stewman

    Dude, Thank god I have a wheel mouse,...I rolled and rolled and ROLLED all the way to the bottom. Okay so this is an editorial, fine. Make it shorter (IMHO). -Stew

  • May 30, 2000, 2:09 p.m. CST

    Well, that's like, your opinion, man.

    by David Lopan

    as the dude would say...

  • May 30, 2000, 2:19 p.m. CST

    by Uncle_Sam

    Who is Moriarty? I can't find any mention of his movie or its supposed director on the IMDB. I'm the first to admit my own being an dumb asshole. If someone wants to clue me in, please feel free to do so.

  • May 30, 2000, 3:14 p.m. CST

    Moriaty knows everything huh?

    by moto

    I enjoyed MI:2 very much! I thought it was a great action film with a lot of style. Sure, the script could have been much better... but for what they offered us, I thought it was a fun ride. I love Tom Cruise and think that he is finally being appreciated... I said it before , and I'll say it again. John Woo needs to make a film with Lucasfilm or American Zeotrope... or many other independent studios. That way he can do his own thing and not have to worry about pleasing the suits. Either way, what's wrong with people enjoying a summer popcorn flick? I'll tell you one thing, I'd pick MI over these flat James Bond flicks any day of the week.

  • May 30, 2000, 3:39 p.m. CST

    Moriarty: Was bashing the people who filmed your script (a break

    by Alexandra DuPont

    The following is written with all due respect to your talents -- you're certainly the best writer on this site, and your screenwriting no doubt excels -- but turning on the creatives who filmed your script in a public forum read by hundreds of thousands of fans and professionals you makes you look more than a little ungrateful, dear Professor. **** You certainly hedge your attack with compliments to the filmmakers' drive and vigor, but what were you trying to accomplish here, exactly? If the film stinks, that would have come out without the help of the film's own co-screenwriter; frankly, it feels (whether you intended it or not) like you were trying to (a) distance yourself from flawed product so you wouldn't look bad, and (b) show the fanboy and -girl readers here that you're somehow "legit" and above-it-all. Please; you're better than that, sir. I'm afraid the end result of all this will be, as one other Talk Backer put it, "career suicide," and I'd recommend greater courtesy in the future. There's a diference between being fearless and being rude. (And Nordling, if writing the above means I get a bat to the head, well, bring it on, sweetie. I'm telling the truth as I see it, too.)

  • May 30, 2000, 4:15 p.m. CST

    Oh, and P.S. Two more things....

    by Alexandra DuPont

    (1) Happy birthday, Professor, and (2) I'm aware of the irony of criticizing a person for biting the hand that films him -- when I am sort of, by writing the above, biting the hand that has occasionally published me. So take that for what you will. I still think you're the very best AICN has to offer, Moriarty, for whatever mitigation that's worth. NORDLING! STOP HITTING ME!

  • May 30, 2000, 4:16 p.m. CST

    hey moronarty, since when

    by Reverendz

    did the readers of this site become your personal confessor? I could give two shit nuggets about your sob story "banned from the ranch". Selfish fuck. And now you back up the attack on your credentials by launching into a 10,000 word essay on some obscure screen play you came into contact with at some point or other (how this answers the question "what have you ever done?" is beyond me). Then you attack Hollywood for putting out mediocre product. At what point in history has Hollywood NOT churned out mediocre pap? Good or extraordinary films have ALWAYS been the exception, not the rule. And what the hell is wrong with wanting bland, mindless entertainment? Have you never eaten a twinkie? Sure you'll die on a constant diet of twinkies. But most people don't WANT challenging art. You're operating under the assumption that people will make the good choice if it's offered to them. But how many "good" films have flopped? Call it marketing screw ups if it pleases you. Truth is, most people just want to be entertained (hence the incredible popularity of absurdly stupid TV shows). From the $$$ MI2 has been making, it seems like it's doing a pretty damn good job. Battlefield Earth wasn't entertaining, it flopped. So come down off your high horse and try, just TRY to write some actual news (stuff that we haven't heard or seen in 10 other places) in your column. Leave the confessions to yer priest.

  • May 30, 2000, 5:14 p.m. CST

    Alexandra, I have to agree w/ SherlockJr.

    by KingMenthol

    Moriarty's lengthy missives are at times overbearing. Sure, his insight is sometimes helpful in deciding whether or not to wait for the video, but understanding film and script doesn't make him a decent screenwriter or a director. Now were YOU to claim to be a novelist or screenwriter, well, I'd have to believe you, cuz you're writing's all that and a bucket o' chicken, baby. Moriarty's not the best writer on the site, far from it. You are.

  • May 30, 2000, 5:24 p.m. CST

    so you think this guy's a real loser? well, let me tell you the

    by tommy five-tone

    there's this fella i know - real sci-fi geek, and not in a cool way either. in fact, he's something of a five-alarm fuck-knuckle: thinks he's charismatic when he's actually kinda boring, thinks he's a hit with the ladies when they actually can't stand his ass, thinks he's the next orson welles when he's really closer to ed wood. BUT...this guy actually wrote and starred in this 'X Files' knockoff that got produced by a public access TV station here in melbourne, australia. the show's a piece of shit, BUT he actually got it made! (note to self: stop using the word 'actually'.) so i feel the man deserves a little respect - not much, mind you, but SOME. all five-tone does is review movies for his local paper and try to organise his schedule so he can work on the five half-finished scripts on his hard drive. i therefore have the utmost respect for people on the fringes of the show business who actually pull their shit together and get something done! so kudos to you, moriarty, and i think you've earned the right to call 'em like you see 'em when it comes to talking about what's wrong with hollywood 2000 without drawing fire from talkback wankers (like myself - i ain't afraid to admit it) who ain't done dick. you (along with harry's reviews and the occasional post by ms dupont, joe hallenbeck and elston gunn...oh, and pisso) are the main reason for reading AICN, so keep it up, baby! any by the way, M:i-2 (whatta fucking lame acronym!) was a pedestrian piece o'shite - how robert towne could cash his cheque with a clear conscience is a mystery worthy of your nemesis mr holmes - redeemed only by woo's third act pyrotechnics. and sszero? foster's isn't quite as bad as you make out, but if you want real australian beer, you try a victoria bitter or a carlton cold, OK?

  • May 30, 2000, 6:54 p.m. CST

    Branon Braga is a C*nt

    by renofloyd

    Branon Braga is a cunt. Fact. Branon Braga is a thief. Fact. Branon Braga can't write for shit. Fact. Somebody please execute the irritating little pissant. Next week - I'll tell you how I really feel.

  • May 30, 2000, 7:09 p.m. CST

    HAIL MORIARTY!

    by STRIDER355

    I for one enjoy the man's rumblings/ramblings. And I for one say he is the best writer on the site, tied maybe with that Slut. And I can say that when I see: Rumblings from the Lab, I click click click on it, especially if that day I just failed a test or got dumped. Its nice to read things like this, to help you get your mind on better things besides the hassles of life. Its just like with a good film; it helps you get your mind off whatever may be troubling you, and then gives you a fresh look on things when it is through. I was depressed over losing a certain girl, but after watching AMERICAN BEAUTY or reading LORD OF THE RINGS, I felt much better. The same with Moriarty's ramblings. And how can anyone say good films are the exception, not the rule? Exceptions prove the rule, friend. ---Strider.

  • May 30, 2000, 7:10 p.m. CST

    MI2/old AICN "Goldfinger" review discovered!

    by Duke Ray

    I was able to find this archival Talk Back from the '60s (maybe Head Geek, Sr. wrote it, I can't be sure). It's a review of the then-new James Bond movie, GOLDFINGER, that seems to relate to the current MI2 discussion... "Man, am I disappointed with what United Artists and the morons at Eon are doing with Fleming's incredible Bond character. This new abomination, GOLDFINGER, takes the cake. Where's the character background? I mean, holy cow, what is Goldfinger's relationship to Bond? Why did Bond become a spy? Why did this "Pussy Galore" (heh heh, get it?) character become a pilot? Why does Galore fall for Bond, beyond Connery's huge ego? And that ridiculous sports car with about two tons of gadgets in it -- come on! The power to weight ratio on that car would keep it from moving three feet, forget about that unbelievable chase they expect us to buy! (I no cuz I read about power to weight ratios in Popular Mechanics.) And to think that I was hoping that director Guy Hamilton might releave us from the dreck that Connery and his goons have made of Bond. (Remember that female SPECTRE agent in 'From Russia With Love' that was so obviously ripped off from Mrs. Danvers in Hitchcock's REBECCA... but with none of the depth of that classic movee!?? Damn Connery and these mediocra UA hacks!) Why cant they make good popcorn movies like Roy Rogers and Tom Mix used to do when I was a kid? Im going to go watch my 16mm print of 'Flash Gordon Goes to Mars' to get the bad taste out of my mouth." -- Author unknown. //Some things never change, I guess. Duke Ray out.

  • May 30, 2000, 7:12 p.m. CST

    Tetris: The Movie

    by Powerslave

    That was so bad, even Moriarty had his name taken off it... ;)

  • May 30, 2000, 7:59 p.m. CST

    Good, but...

    by CardCaptorMooby

    I enjoy Moriarty's comments just as much as the next, but this one was a bit high on the ol' "Self-Indulge-o-Meter". Uncharacteristically, DuPont was right on with her comments - the "I'm really a writer in Hollywood!" stuff makes Moriarity look pretty childish. We come to read your opinions on other films, Mo, and if you do nothing but talk about yourself ( Find something in this article that ISN'T about Moriarity but instead actually about a FILM ) we'll stop reading. Oh, and is anyone else nauseated by the pathetic fanboy reaction anytime DuPont posts something? What, is it just because she's female? Sometimes this place makes me ashamed to call myself a film geek. -CCM

  • May 30, 2000, 8:55 p.m. CST

    Duke Ray!!! Your Goldfinger bit was priceless!

    by Wesley Snipes

    Brilliant work!

  • May 30, 2000, 9:44 p.m. CST

    Dog Star:

    by Powerslave

    I got it... :)

  • May 30, 2000, 9:54 p.m. CST

    Damn straight.

    by BobBarker

    Moriarty is one of the only reasons to read this site right now, other than the new Mouth Speaks column, which I love. The guy's a hell of a writer, and I'll see this Walter movie because he had a part in it's production. I hope someday soon I'll have a part in bringing a film to live, be it good or bad, because hey, my next one will be better.

  • May 30, 2000, 11:07 p.m. CST

    Most disappointing, Moriarty...

    by agentcooper

    ...Well, I finally got around to reading the poor Professor's column today, and I must say, I haven't felt this sorry for him since he got banned from the Ranch for leaking information about Episode I. Jeez, Moriarty, the fact that someone, ANYONE liked your script enough to pour a year or more of their life, and, I would guess, quite a bit of their own money into filming it is quite an honor. For you to trash their efforts because they do not conform to the movie you made in your head is self-serving and just plain rude. And for you to include the producer's e-mail address for potential distributors is beyond ironic: "Well, the movie basically sucks, but if anyone thinks they can sell it, well, talk to this guy." I suppose you think you could have done better. The point is, you didn't. You let the other guy have your script, and now you are upset about it. Well, prove to us how easy it is to make a witty, suspenseful, well-acted, well-directed, artistically and commercially satisfying film for $100,000.00 or less...Oh, and, despite the harsh words, I'd like to wish you a HAPPY BIRTHDAY. Thirty's a tough one.

  • May 30, 2000, 11:39 p.m. CST

    Greeley...

    by Wesley Snipes

    All the action scenes came at the very end of the film one after the other. Towne basically had the first 60+ minutes of the film to do with as he pleased. So I'm not sure how much he was 'limited' by the action scenes. I also notice that most script criticisms were about the dialogue. Again, I fail to see how having action scenes in place would affect his ability to write good dialogue during the rest of the film. Also, Woo has not had "many hits" for the studios. He was a hired gun on the mild hit Broken Arrow (coming after the bomb of Hard Target). That gave him the clout to shape Face/Off which was a bigger hit. That makes one big hit and one minor hit. Face/Off was the only film where he had control over everything and it turned out well. He was the most powerful creative guy on set, if you think about it. On MI2, he chose a movie where he CLEARLY was not the most powerful guy on set. Cruise, the hands-on megastar and PRODUCER was. The battles for control between them were legendary and you can guess who had the clout to win (the guy who's been at the top of the Hollywood pecking order for the last 2 decades). And he was working on an extremely tight deadline. So don't give me that naive bullshit about Woo being able to fix anything at a whim. However, it's a moot point, as the MI2 script is not nearly as bad as the spazzes here seem to believe. It mostly moves logically and efficiently from a to b and provides some nice scenes. Woo handled all of them nicely (horsetrack, Nyah walking along pier, cigar cutter). And will some of "Woo can't do anything new" types FOR ONCE look past the Woo trademarks of doves & double guns and examine the rest of his technique? The way the action scenes (eg, gun battle & motorbikes) are shot & edited are VERY different in feel from his Hong Kong or early US work. The cuts are faster, the coverage reveals a completely different philosophy and the rhthym of the scenes are different. You could say the same about his non-action work. But no, what you get instead are people falling over themselves to harp on one or two elements at the exclusion of everything else. Why? It makes for better zingers. Bah!

  • May 31, 2000, 2:44 a.m. CST

    You know that fool SSZERO

    by Brian DePalma

    Is either trying to get a rise out of us talkbackers (if so he is simply a bit of an annoyance) or means everything he says (in which case he is a complete dildo).

  • May 31, 2000, 2:48 a.m. CST

    isn't canada a province of the USA?

    by original_evil

    you are all the same anyway.... why make such a big thing about it when ppl confuse you.

  • May 31, 2000, 2:57 a.m. CST

    NO BIG DEAL, anyway.

    by Uncle_Sam

    It makes you wonder how good 'Moriarty's' screenplays are if he cannot get them prod'd through any of his supposed contacts. It seems that he's had a lot of himself expunged from the internet. Each of Moriarty's subsequent Rumblings does nothing but shake his own reputation. HACK HACK HACK HACK, all of the way to bed. You don't have to tell me how easy it is to get your stuff out there. Hey, if I've written a movie, who in Hell am I? Look at what he had to say in this most recent posting: "I say that I am someone who takes the art form very seriously, who's been lucky enough to study the subject with some of the best teachers in the world in both practical and academic settings. I'm an award-winning dramatist. I'm a card-carrying member of the WGA. I'm the west coast editor of Ain't It Cool News. I'm Batman and Bruce Wayne, and I'm working my ass off." A lot of nobodies have just the same as the somebodies, but it ain't been produced. My shit's so hot, babe, you couldn't stand to look at it, and that;s why no one has read it. Well, I'm beat to hell so nothing is making sense.

  • May 31, 2000, 3:04 a.m. CST

    Duke Ray

    by Alessan

    Good one, Duke Ray! Still, the way I see it, you doesn't really prove your point; in fact, you managed to prove the oppposite. GOLDFINGER is a classic, loved and respected till today, and it's still damn fun to watch. Sure, it has all the flaws you stated and then some but it also has something else, something that makes it durable beyond its day. I don't know what that "something" is, but I know it when I see it. Perhaps a classic film is just a movie which is more than the sum of its parts. Or maybe a movie should be judged by its strengths, not by its flaws - which, I believe, is what you're trying to say. I don't know.make you're own judgement. ******* Oh, and Moriarity, I love your writing, but I have to agree with Mms. DuPont: some things are best left unsaid.

  • May 31, 2000, 8:18 a.m. CST

    The Alexandra/Jerkie Connection!

    by Sir Loins

    Reliable sources have revealed that Alexandra DuPont is, in fact, the alter ego for that passionate fecal avenger we know as Jerkie McJerk. That's right, ladies and gentlemen. You heard it here first. DuPont = DuPoop.

  • May 31, 2000, 9:43 a.m. CST

    Simon Birch...Leprechaun or Bat Boy?

    by Uncapie

    That kid has a future with Trimark! "Leprechaun 6: the Next Generation" or "Bat Boy-The Movie". I'm there, dudes.

  • May 31, 2000, 12:18 p.m. CST

    "Tetris the Movie" soundtrack...

    by Uncapie

    Does anyone know the words to the theme song? Gosh, I sure would like to know!

  • May 31, 2000, 1 p.m. CST

    ...the real Drew McWeeny...

    by Mills Somerset

    He's a screenwriter in H'wood...big help, huh? Actually, he recently wrote an "American Pie"-y comedy that someone's supposed to give me to read. And I think I've read him before, but i don't remember enough to say anything about him one way or another. That help? :) Oh, and, how the hell did u figure out this person is Drew McWeeny? But then I've only been reading these posts off and on for a couple months.... Oh well. Peace out.

  • May 31, 2000, 1:08 p.m. CST

    This Whole "Real Name" Thing

    by Moriarty

    Hey, all. After a long day of a thousand jerks (Hey, RapeChaser! Hey, Stormy! Hey, SSZero! Way to go, gang!!) posting this "Drew McWeeny" name over and over like they've discovered some secret of national security, I thought I should emphasize that while that is indeed one of the non de plumes I have used in my long and checkered criminal career, it's not my real name. That's James G. Moriarty, just like I've always said. I mean, come on... "McWeeny"?! You think that's a real last name? Anyway... if the most interesting topic you can come up with to discuss is my supposed "real" name, then maybe it's time for a new topic. And as far as the poster directly above me is concerned, I don't remember writing any AMERICAN PIE style comedies. I'd be curious to know what you're supposedly getting.

  • May 31, 2000, 1:14 p.m. CST

    All I Know Is...

    by Mills Somerset

    There's a screenwriter with the name Drew McWeeny. No intent of disrespect or whatever if you're him or not him or whatever. Moving right along...

  • May 31, 2000, 1:16 p.m. CST

    Full Disclosure On AICN

    by mrbeaks

    Sure! Why not have everybody step out from behind their aliases and let the chips fall where they may? Of course, I can't wait to hear the horrific shrieks and gasps when SSZero turns out to be long-time Hollywood bad boy, and former Little Rascal, Robert Blake. BTW, Moriarty..... are you by any chance related to the Portage, Ohio McWeeney's?

  • May 31, 2000, 1:24 p.m. CST

    Which would then further prove my theory...

    by Mills Somerset

    That Harry is really none other than, you guessed it: Frank Stallone.

  • May 31, 2000, 1:29 p.m. CST

    Juicy, Stop Breathing like Darth Vadar

    by ziranova

    Did anyone catch last night's episode of the "PJs"? There was a really funny bit about a couple of kids from the projects playing "Star Gang Wars". "Luke, I am your father.... probably." BTW, Happy Birthday, Moriarty!!!!! (and keep up the good work.)

  • May 31, 2000, 1:40 p.m. CST

    Greeley again...

    by Wesley Snipes

    You've completely missed the point. 1) The issue is not whether Woo has power, it's who has the MOST power. And you're utterly naive if you think Cruise didn't have the final say in everything he bothered to stick his noise is in. He was the star AND the producer. That means he had influence from both the creative and financial sides. This was his production and reports from people working on the set say that Cruise did exercise his power. This doesn't mean Cruise wasn't trying to do the best for the movie (he does seem quite conscientious), just that it's unlikely Woo truly made the MI2 he'd have made with more time & control. As for your comment that it's "undeniably a John Woo movie" - The visuals definitely. But the story & dialogue? BTW, contrary to what you think about Lansing fearing "SONY would sweep in to steal Woo", Woo just left his production deal with Sony for MGM because he couldn't get a single project greenlit at Sony! So much for your theory that a single 100 million flick = automatic greenlight. 2) Your henpecking on the little details comment exquisitely applies to your own criticism of Woo. I'm talking about shot selection, editing, pacing - All things which apply to and affect the entirety of the movie. You're talking about doves, double guns and jumping through the air. Things which combined take up maybe 10 minutes of the total running time. So who's the one henpecking on the little details?

  • May 31, 2000, 2:44 p.m. CST

    Forget SHADOW OF THE VAMPIRE, NURSE BETTY, OH BROTHER WHERE ART

    by EL Duderino

    LEPRECHAUN IN THE HOOD!! This movie will pull in all the noms I guarantee you!! It goes direct-to-video sometime soon, I suggest you steal a copy from blockbuster. It stars ICE-T as a gangsta with the last name of owensass! GET IT?!?

  • May 31, 2000, 3:09 p.m. CST

    Full disclosure...

    by Monster Rain

    If all that's been said is true, then I must come clean with what I know: Jerky McJerk is really Barry Diller. Thank you.

  • May 31, 2000, 3:42 p.m. CST

    ziranova revealed

    by ziranova

    I am half veterinarian chimpanzee (Dr. Zira) and half mutant human female (Nova). Hence, ziranova. Half of me wants to make hot monkey love to Charlton Heston, while the other half thinks he's just so damned ugly.

  • May 31, 2000, 4:34 p.m. CST

    Greeley... ridiculous...

    by Wesley Snipes

    I've never said that Woo is infallible, faultless or perfect. Who is? The fact that you keep riding on this 'everyone who defends Woo thinks he's perfect' angle tells me your comments are motivated by a wish to 'put Woo in his place' (for whatever reason) as much as they are to truly make a reasoned commentary about him. Fact is, I found the final martial arts fight to be mostly lame and also thought the use of doves to be excessive and pointless. The difference is that I don't think they're the be all and end all of Woo's contribution to the movie. His direction of even some non-action scenes like the pier walking and horsetrack spying were fantastic. Regarding your contention that Towne & Cruise made 'tight' pieces of work before or in the first film and therefore couldn't have possibly made a bad one this time - What the hell? Obviously no one WANTS to make a bad movie. But wanting has nothing to do with delivering, does it? Who delivers 10 times out of 10? Aside from maybe Shaft, nobody else. Towne wrote Chinatown how many decades ago? He also wrote Days of Thunder, Orca, Two Jakes, and Armageddon, each one a classic, I'm sure. As for Woo not being able to understand the subtleties of the script - What subtleties? The dialogue is all there and while I find it fine, many do not. How can you blame the director, especially in such a hired gun situation, for bad dialogue? That's what it comes down to: Towne WROTE the film. Period. There's no evidence that Woo had a large input into the dialogue or plot besides some broad strokes. So if your problem with the film is the writing, then who must shoulder the blame but the writer? If your problem is NOT with the story, but the direction, then blame Woo and we can talk about the direction (as we have partially been). The two are clearly separate entities in this case. Now, regarding Woo's tighter framing during parts of the motorcycle chase (and during the gunfight I might add), you may or may not like the choice, but the point is, have you seen him do that in any of his Hong Kong films or early US work? Hell no. If you look at the motocycle work in Hard Target or Hard Boiled, it's all done in long and medium shots (well, whenever they can) and longer takes. I think this is a pretty major change in philosophy which is exactly why the "nothing new" comments by you and others are ridiculous! Personally, it looks like he's incorporating some of the modern Hollywood action direction philosophy into his work. eg, the intense 'you-are-there' angles and rapid cut approach. Still, if you compare them to the opening of Gladiator or any of Michael Bay's work, you can see that the coverage and coherence in MI2's action scenes are still miles ahead of those others. There are parts of the bike chase which gave me a huge adrenaline rush (eg, the shots behind Cruise's bike as he weaves between cars). I liked it. I can imagine that some Woo fans may hate the change. That's fair, it's just a matter of preference. But what you cannot dispute is that Woo's style is evolving.

  • May 31, 2000, 4:38 p.m. CST

    Towne multiple writers

    by Wesley Snipes

    BTW, I realize that MI2 had a multitude of writers. The point was just that the writers wrote it and the hired gun director directed it.

  • May 31, 2000, 9:12 p.m. CST

    "just a summer movie"

    by RogerOThornhill

    Yes there are different kinds of movies, just as there are different kinds of music. The worst professional musicians I know are the ones that worship at the shrine of a very narrow set of criteria, and the best are those who can appreciate a wide range, even seeing some value in the most disposable pop or kitsch. The best example of this in film is Scorsese, whose taste is legendarily catholic and sees value in some of the cheapest B-movies ever made--often because of a single scene. This is not to say that all movies are equivalent; this is to say that more than you suspect may be interesting. If you separate the wheat from the chaff too much, you may miss a number of kernels. I just wish I were making this case for "Sunset" (in which Malcolm McDowell's performance makes the whole movie worth watching) or "The Avengers" (a sporadically interesting movie which has somehow taken all the heat that the far more mediocre "Wild Wild West" should have) rather than MI2, which I simply enjoyed sections of (particularly Dougray's deconstruction of Tom's mission preferences). To look for what is valuable in each movie one encounters--no matter how faint it may be--is not to say that all movies are equally valuable.

  • May 31, 2000, 10:17 p.m. CST

    Moriarty is Cool

    by A-Train

    I've known Moriarty since high school. He's a cool guy. He and another headed off to HWood to follow their dreams and I didn't. I am quite jealous...even if his picture did end up crap, I've seen stuff of his that didn't.

  • June 1, 2000, 12:14 a.m. CST

    Moriarity's Real Name

    by Z`

    Sorry that I haven't been following this "discussion". But does anyone remember when the Evil Genius's computer went out and they were looking for donations? And they posted a phone number to call if you thought you could help? Well I did a reverse phone number lookup and I know the number was registered to Drew McWeeny. I even posted in Talkback about it, saying "Does this mean his real name is Drew McWeeny?" I never got banned or anything, nor did I ever see anyone respond to it.

  • June 1, 2000, 1:11 a.m. CST

    SSZero, this is getting tiresome.

    by MissileMan

    "When you have to resort to profanity to prove your point, you've lost the argument." I forget where I first heard those words, but you've just reinforced their validity.

  • June 1, 2000, 1:58 a.m. CST

    Hey SSZero, a small thought

    by Brian DePalma

    GET A FUCKING LIFE YOU SAD, BORING, UNFUNNY, WASTE OF FUCKING OXYGEN. Come on kid, what will your mommy say if she sees all the bad words you write?

  • June 1, 2000, 3:50 p.m. CST

    Greeley... a little touchy, are we? This should end it.

    by Wesley Snipes

    First, it's you who have missed the point of my comment regarding Sony & Woo. The point is this: You were claiming that coming off a $100 million hit will give a director near god-like influence to greenlight anything he associates himself with. However, Woo's Sony association proved EXACTLY the opposite. He was free for a full year after Face/Off yet he couldn't get one thing going with them. One of the main points of this browbeating you've been getting is that Woo did NOT have the supreme power which you claimed one 70mil and one 100mil hit would give a director. You made a statement about Sony sweeping in to steal him, implying that he was an in-demand director. So what? So are video directors without a single movie to their name. There's a difference between being in-demand and being more powerful than your megastar-slash-producer. I turned your comment around and used it to illustrate a concrete example of how Woo clearly did not have such great power. That you originally meant studios in general rather than Sony in particular was IRRELEVANT to the point of my reply. My point wasn't subtle at all, but you missed it spectacularly. Understand now, lunchbox? Second, here is the final word on Woo's input to the script which you think he is so utterly responsible for, from Robert freaking Towne himself: (In response to a query about how involved Woo was with story development) "[Woo] was involved every day in what we did; it's just, for the moment-to-moment work, his language skills are not such that he was able to achieve it. We would read to him and refer to him and he would make suggestions. But the actual involvement, in terms of the interplay, was with Tom and me. At the end of every day in Australia, Tom was there. And sometimes he would go up to [producer] Paula [Wagner's] room while I was writing; then he'd come down, take the pages, run back up the fire escape, and, I was told later, read the pages to whoever would listen to him and come back down." Bottomline, Woo gave guidance but the story details and especially dialogue are all by Towne & Cruise! You'll be happy to note that the final use of the mask which everyone found so preposterous was purely Towne's idea as well. You can read the rest of the interview at http://www.salon.com/ent/col/srag/2000/06/01/towne/index.html . Now, do fuck off.