REDRUM
February 26, 2009

Email to K, 1:45 p.m.:

S: Please don’t bust an artery over this one, it’s gonna piss you off.

K: redrum

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Chia Mammoth!
December 3, 2008

10000-bc-poster

K: Why is this Wooly Mammoth 600 feet tall?

S: That’s my fault. Before it was really small, and I thought it was a dying Chia Pet and so I gave it MiracleGro. Oops.

Movie Madness
November 18, 2008

mad-hatter

K: Goddamnit, the chick who’s writing Burton’s Alice in Wonderland wrote Homeward Bound and The Lion King and the Teen Wolf television show and My Little Pony and Friends. The Lion King, I suppose, is better than your typical Disney movie (at least since ’94), but all Burton really needs to do to get awesome again is hire a good fucking writer.

S: I feel like the movies have really, really minimized what they think the role of the writer in a good movie is. As if you can get by on having a recognizable cast, a noteable art director, and a whimisical director who will make the movie visually appealing despite it empty characters, and gutted story. I can’t tell if it’s ignorance of arrogance. Whichever it is, I really wish they’d stop it.

K: It’s both. That’s exactly what it is. And when so much money becomes involved of course it’s the writing that suffers first. The ten thousand suits who threw in their money want the broadest appeal possible and the biggest return on their investment.

The second thing Burton needs to do to get awesome again is make a small movie.

S: K’s Plan for Rehabilitating the Career of Tim Burton. I like it. It’s like the New Deal, for one very small slice of Hollywood.

I just don’t understand where the disconnect between quality and quantity happened. Because the good writers are reduced to working on very small “independent” (I put quotes around that because buying independent film houses has become such a Hollywood executive pastime that I really no longer know whether I’m truly watching an Indie film or not anymore) films in order to get enough creative control to properly tell a story, the executives tell themselves over and over again that said writers don’t have “broad appeal,” despite the fact that the market (through the whims of the execs) is determining where the talent goes, not the other way around. So when the opportunity to put a Good Writer on a Big Movie comes around, the execs think it won’t have any mainstream appeal and instead focus on casting and money and names and art direction as if it’s enough to make up for the lack of plot.

As the consumers of movies, I feel like there should be a way to demand to have quality put back into films — I mean, as recently as 15 or so years ago you had big summer blockbusters that, while not the most contemplative pieces ever committed to celluloid, were well written, well-crafted, well acted, and awesome. I don’t understand why we can’t just go back to that. I don’t understand how to convince the Hollywood bigwigs that we are really, really, really tired of having to watch great stories be gutted by bad writers.

K: To be fair, there are interesting people making big movies now. Take Favreau and Iron Man, Nolan and The Dark Knight, Del Toro and Hell Boy, Marc Forster and Bond, but these are all slightly older guys who started out making smaller movies in the 90s. Same with the other big names who make more personal films like P.T. Anderson, Wes Anderson, Linklater, Fincher, etc. All these guys either write their movies themselves or demand a good script, but they’ve been adopted by the studios. There hasn’t been a boom of talent like the one that gave us these guys in ten years, so we’re not seeing any young dynamos making smaller pictures that blow us away. We need some fresh talent, young blood.

And here’s the quality control strategy: skip High School Musical and go see Slumdog Millionaire.

S: Well, I’ve never seen a High School Musical movie, though I still think it might be a truly hilarious drunk/stoned adventure one cold, cold winter evening.

Slumdog Millionarie looks awesome. Really awesome.

And you’re right. You are. But it feels like Hollywood is no longer interested in fostering talent whatsoever. It’s frustrating because it keeps the entire industry stuck in a kind of forced inertia. The guys who have worked and earned their right to hire great writers, or who have become great writers, do what they can do, but if you’re not nurturing the next generations of standout talents, how can you ever hope for the industry as a whole to survive and thrive? Which is, I guess, why we see television taking such a marked turn in a positive direction; writers who are frustrated with their inability to get anyone in the movie industry to listen to them and their ideas are turning to the small screen instead, where the plethora of channels and time slots (because, really, let’s be honest with ourselves, there is a LOT of crap TV that gets put on air for an episode or two every season) give them far more opportunity to experiment with their ideas and more time and leniency, if they can get past the initial chopping block, to develop intricate plots and characters. The question, as I see it, is whether the movie industry can ever get back to a place where it’s willing to give these guys (and girls) a chance again.

K and S Finally Saw “The Happening”
October 28, 2008

S: I decided this morning that you should go as a Math Teacher for Halloween (perhaps even the John Leguezamo math teacher), and all you have to do is wear one of your checked shirts with tan pants, tucked in, and everytime someone talks to you, spout off a bunch of probabilities and percentages for no particular reason, and see how long it takes for them to guess you’re a math teacher.

K: The probability of my being a math teacher for Halloween is equal to the negative sum of its inherent lameness plus the value of its in-joke awesomeness minus the square root of the price of a sweater vest.

S: ……Ow.

(Oh, shit. I think your email just told me to kill myself!)

K: STAY AWAY FROM THE WINDOW!

Email from K, 9:03 a.m.
September 4, 2008

K: Oh sweet holy Jesus, Helena Bonham Carter might be topless in her next movie! Blessed be!

–S

Movie Villains in the A.M.
August 6, 2008

K: Hey, look at this.

S: Ok:

1. Agent Smith rules. Seriously. Favorite part of all Matrix Movies = Agent Smith (Hello, Mr. Anderson…)

2. HAHA FRANK BOOTH. Dennis Hopper was on a rerun of Colbert, I think, yesterday, which I was listening to as I cooked dinner, and he was asying his son has no idea what a wild man he was in his early years and always tells him that he should let people get to know “the real Dennis Hopper” and Dennis was like, “Um, yeah, see…”

3. They put T-1000 in one of those lame-ass commercials where they have movie characters talk about high speed internet or some shit and that’s blasphemy.

4. Oh my god, Misery totally scarred me when I first saw it.

5. As did Snow White, actually. But I bounced back.

6. I STILL don’t get all this tongue bathing for No County For Old Men. Javier Bardem was creepy, sure, but I thought he could have been way more… better. Shut up.

7. I’d have ranked The Joker higher, but they didn’t ask me.

8. I don’t know if I’d have put Lord Voldemort at #1, but again they didn’t ask me.

And mad props to putting the wicked witch on there.

K: Why is Alex from Clockwork Orange not even on the list?

S: I don’t know? Maybe because he’s not necessarily 100% a villain? Because by the end of the movie you (or, rather, I) have some sympathy for him?

Or because they’re stupid?

I caught half an episode of Law & Order the other night starring Malcom McDowell as the bad guy. Recorded it. Can’t wait to watch the whole thing.

God, we must seem so interesting to all 11 of you.

–S

Email from K, 8:54 a.m.
August 1, 2008

God, I wish I was in on this joke.

–S

Good Morning, Oliver Stone
July 28, 2008

The first email I get this morning from K has this in it:

That’s “W.” the new Oliver Stone movie, another effort by a guy who was once a pretty awesome director to destroy his own reputation. Oh, I don’t know, I’m cranky because it hurts to focus my eyes this morning. Not enough sleep, probably, or too much, or Monday, it’s all too hard to sort.

Perhaps it’s because this movie is coming so soon on the heels of this disaster of a presidency that I have such a bad taste in my mouth about it. Stone’s allowing no time for reflection, for the absolute travesty that the past eight years have been to sink into the national psyche before sending yet another image of Bush-As-Party-Boy into the world. Because the real injustice of this administration is not that some partying rich playboy made it into office — that’s happened numerous times in our history, and will happen over and over again. No, the injustice is that once he was in he wasn’t held accountable for anything he did, and all he did was screw over his own nation again and again. An egotistical little monkey playing games with himself and throwing his feces in our faces.

This man doesn’t deserve some ridiculous biopic. He deserves a criminal trial.

Less than six months now. Hopefully he’ll get one.

–S