My first Poop Shoot column (8.25.02) was about the Kyle MacLachlan standoff between the fraternal filmmaking team of Mark and Michael Polish (NORTHFORK) and Miramax Films
over TRUTH, JUSTICE AND THE AMERICAN WAY, a period drama by Paul Bernbaum
about the last days of the late actor George Reeves and how his career was pretty much destroyed by his playing Superman in the popular 1950s TV series.
The Polish brothers wanted MacLachlan to play Reeves, Miramax production execs were dead
set against him, and eventually the twain not only didn't meet but broke in two.
The situation nearly three months later is that (a) the Polish Brothers are off the project (they've either "walked" or been
"canned," according to two sources I've spoken to, although Michael Polish
says "we haven't been fired...things just haven't been resolved"), (b) the Kyle MacLachlan notion is total history, (c) Miramax has given up on the project and come next January it will revert back to Focus Features, where it was first developed when Focus was known as USA Films, (d) Focus Features co-president James Schamus has offered the directing reins to Kimberly Pierce (BOYS DON'T CRY), but (e) she's not as likely to do this as direct a David Mamet-written film about '30s outlaw John Dillinger.
It's a shame that the Reeves movie has fallen apart over a point of casting honor. But then the Polish brothers have
earned themselves a certain distinction for sticking to their guns to the point of allowing their film to implode.
The main beats of the conflict happened more or less as follows (and forgive me if this sounds a little choppy, but there's
a lot to cover). This blow-by-blow mainly comes from the perspective of Michael Polish and a source I'm calling Industry Guy:
(1) The Polish Brothers, holding to their desire to cast MacLachlan despite opposing views that
his audition-reel performance as Reeve was flat and bland, explained their reasons for wanting
MacLachlan to Miramax chief Harvey Weinstein in late September in a Los Angeles hotel room They felt MacLachlan would be ideal not just because he looks like Reeve but because he's the same age and gives off, in a sense, a vibe and attitude similar to what Reeves was exuding in the 1950s.
And after this meeting, Weinstein and the Polish Brothers were on the same page, or so it seemed. '"Harvey really saw the vision behind casting Kyle," says Polish. "He said this is a deal between us...you're going to get what you want, but if the movie with Kyle sucks it's on your head....it's
your ass. It was a deal between thieves." The Harvey meeting, however, "was last contact we've had with Miramax," says Polish. No one at Miramax has returned their calls since.
(2) One of the offshoots of the Weinstein meeting, Polish believes, was that Miramax exec vp
production Jon Gordon
"felt resentful about our pact with Harvey...he felt we'd gone around him." But even before
the Weinstein discussion there had been intense resistance to the idea of using MacLachlan
on the part of Gordon and especially Miramax production co-president Meryl Poster,
who wanted Hugh Jackman for the part.
The trim, good-looking Jackman, 34, may seem a bit young to play Reeves, who had gone to
seed with a bulky body and gray, thinning hair when he committed suicide in 1959 at age 45,
but you can do a lot with plastic prosthetics these days. The Polish Brothers met twice
with Jackman and liked him personally, but felt he was wrong for the role and refused to compromise. Poster and Gordon became more and more irritated by their MacLachlan allegiance, and vice versa.
Part of the reason the Polish Brothers didn't relate to Poster was her interest in having them consider actors who, in their view,
were wildly wrong for the Reeves role. "Meryl proposed at one point Heath Ledger," Michael Polish recalls.
(3) Poster was certainly their most fearsome adversary. According to Polish, during a phone conversation not long before the Harvey meeting Poster told Mark and Michael that "you will
use the actor I tell you we're going to use [to play Reeves] or you won't direct this film." Michael's response was to say, "Then I guess Meryl Poster is going to direct it." Literally seconds within hanging up the phone, he recalls, "a letter came over the fax machine quoting what I'd just said -- they must have had an attorney listening on the phone -- and threatening us with breach [of contract]."
Industry Guy says he's not a huge fan of Poster himself, but he allows that she "was within her contractual rights because Miramax had the final authority. That was the ramification there...
if [the Polish brothers] did not make the movie, they could have been in breach."
(4) Did Harvey Weinstein back away from his "thieves agreement" with the Polish Brothers over the MacLachlan issue, or did Poster and Gordon poison the well and pressure him into doing so, as the Polish Brothers seem to feel? "Oh, c'mon," says Industry Guy. "They had no clout in this thing [with Harvey]. Does Meryl Poster have a voice? Of course she does, but have you ever known Harvey to listen to anyone but himself?"
Miramax may have "misbehaved" in this matter, according to Industry Guy, "but they weren't complete ogres. When it was getting
down to crunch time [and] after [Endeavor] cleared up the whole breach of contract thing, Michael" -- the directing half of the duo --
"resigned himself and said, 'Okay, I'll do it the way they want...we're doing this with Hugh Jackman.' But then he turned around after this and had a change of heart and said he couldn't use [Jackman]."
Polish says they were not alone in their opinion about Jackman being wrong for the Reeves role. "When we met with Diane Lane [to discuss the role of Toni Mannix, a middle-aged wife of an MGM studio executive who had a long-running affair with Reeves], she said to us at one point, 'Hugh Jackman can't play this part.'"
(5) Then came the supposed double-dealing-on-Hugh-Jackman issue with Endeavor, which led the Polish Brothers, miffed at what they saw as an administrative betrayal, to leave the agency
in mid-October and sign with CAA's Josh Donen. Industry Guy, relaying his understanding of Endeavor's position, says nothing resembling a betrayal ever happened and the brothers have a "simplistic, na´ve" view of things.
Mark Polish says he and his brother had made it crystal clear to the entire Endeavor crew not to consider any Miramax offers to
cast Jackman or any other candidate who might be cast in place of MacLachlan. "We sent an e-mail to them saying this is where
we're going," Michael recounts. But then, according to Polish, Jackman's agent (Patrick Whitesell, according to the agency)
started talking to Miramax about Jackman anyway, which obviously undermined the "united front" strategy.
Industry Guy says his understanding is that nobody at Endeavor "ever, ever, ever tried
to not support the Polish Brothers on Kyle MacLachlan." The Jackman contact was not initiated
by Whitesell, he contends, but "was an incoming phone call from Miramax...and any licensed agency is obliged to field an offer from a producer for the services of a client." Besides this, Industry Guy sympathizes with Miramax wanting an actor of Jackman's stature, especially "coming off a "mega-tentpole movie like X-MEN II" and on top of Jackman's willingness to
take a very small fee because he liked the script.
(6) Polish says he understands that after relations with Miramax passed the point of no return a few weeks back the studio offered the Reeves project to four other directors, including Stephen Frears, but that they all turned it down over concerns that the Polish Brothers' history with the project was too deep and impassioned and the project is therefore "tainted."
Industry Guy says this is hooey since TRUTH, JUSTICE, etc. was not originated by the Polish brothers but by Bernbaum, whose spec script was initially passed along to the brothers by their former agent, David Greenblatt of Endeavor.
Right now the participation of various actors who'd agreed to appear in TRUTH, JUSTICE
AND THE AMERICAN WAY -- Jackman, Joaquin Pheonix, James Woods -- is uncertain due
to the delayed schedule. Focus Features will be taking "a fresh look" at what can happen and
when on January 15, when the project is officially back in their court. If they get all the right elements together the film could conceivably roll in the late spring or summer.
A second knowledgable Industry Guy contacted me Friday afternoon and said
Miramax "has not given up on the picture. They are, in fact,
co-producing it with Focus. Contractually, if the Polishes didn't direct
the picture, the film would automatically revert to Focus on Jan. 15th.
But Harvey didn't want to let it go, and managed to work out the
Thanks to internet columnist Stax Flixburg, who broke the story about the Polish brothers being off the project Wednesday night on www.ignfilmforce.com.
I think I love stories about fist fights more than I like actually watching them. I especially
like political fist fights. Anyway, you probably heard about the fisticuffs on November 7
in London between director Larry Clark (KEN PARK, BULLY, KIDS) and Hamish McAlpine, the owner
of Metro Tartan, the company distributing KEN PARK in Great Britain.
Here's how it went down from Clark's point of view, as passed along by publicist Reid Rosefelt and a Londoner named Liz Miller of McDonald & Rutter. "I asked Liz what McAlpine is like," Rosefelt comments, "and she said he's the kind of pompous guy that you easily could imagine goading someone into a fight. He got his side out quickly that it was more or less unprovoked, but people in London seem to find Clark's description of McAlpine extremely credible."
"I arrived in London to present my new film KEN PARK in the London Film Festival," Clark's
letter begins. "The film was to be shown at the London Film Festival on November 9th and
10th. My co-director Ed Lachman and the actress Tiffany Limos were also in London to
present the film. Lachman, Limos, and I met Hamish McAlpine at a dinner on the 7th of
The fight was over McAlpine's views about Jews, Palestinians and the tragedy of September 11. "Just about the first thing McAlpine said to me was, 'I would never live in America and I think September 11th was the best thing that ever happened to America," Clark relates. "[McAlpine] added that "he thought the attack would make Americans understand why the rest of the world hates them."
There are too many uses of the word "said" at this point in the letter so I'm just going to present the conversation as Clark says it happened:
McAlpine: Israel and the American support of the Jews.
Clark: Isn't it the fanatic Muslim fundamentalists who want to set the world back 1000 years?
McAlpine: No, it's fucking Israel, and America supports and backs Israel. The Arabs want peace and if Israel would go back to the borders before the 1967 war, there would be peace. The Arabs say that.
Clark: Who says that?
McAlpine: Yasser Arafat.
Clark: Do you believe Yasser Arafat?
McAlpine: Hammas says it too.
Clark: Hammas sends in suicide bombers to kill innocent people and civilians. What about that?
McAlpine: They deserve to die.
McAlpine: They fucking deserve to die. What are you gonna do about it?
Clark: What about the innocent little children and babies who get blown up?
McAlpine: They fucking deserve to die.
It was at this point, Clark explains, that he "lost it and punched McAlpine in the nose. [Then] I hit him a few more times. He went to the hospital with a broken nose and I went to jail for four hours before they let me go.
"McAlpine now says he will not distribute KEN PARK and today pulled KEN PARK from the London Film Festival and it looks like it won't be shown at the festival," Clark continues. "I've
been told since he has a contract to distribute the film in the UK he has the right to cancel the screening of the film even though he says he now won't distribute KEN PARK.
"If he's mad at me for punching him, that's okay," Clark concedes. (I love that - "if he's mad at me for punching him," etc.) "I'm sorry I lost control and acted in an uncivilized manner but this sick son of a bitch said he supports terrorism and the bombing of innocent people and
children and babies and he feels passionately they deserve to die. If he was trying to provoke
me, he did. But pulling KEN PARK from the London Film Festival for spite is bullshit.
"All the people [who came to the London Film Festival] to see the film are being denied
because of McAlpine's outrageous comments and my inappropriate actions. But if I had awoken
this morning after listening to him last night and hadn't hit him, I don't think I could have looked at
myself in the mirror."
My two cents? I'm just guessing, but I bet McAlpine had been drinking when he said that people
"deserve to die," etc. It's precisely the kind of remark a belligerent person in his cups would say.
(For what it's worth, The Guardian's Liz Hoggard described him in an 11.17 piece as "small and delicately handsome," she
having expected to meet "a pugnacious bruiser.")
But I'm also deriving an insight from this letter as to why Clark's films play as
simplistically as they do: he's not a very sophisticated writer. This is
good publicity for KEN PARK, at least. I didn't much care for it, and I'm a fan of BULLY and KIDS.
I'm too far behind on my schedule to include these titles in the master list of all the DVDs mentioned since this side-column started in late October...but I'll get to it soon.
A few late '60s and early '70s missing on DVD, according to Tim Merrill...
Psych-Out ('68, d: Richard Rush, w/ Nicholson, Stockwell, Dern, Strasberg, Jaglom),
Wild in the Streets ('68, d: Barry Shear, w/ Winters, Pryor, Holbrook, etc)
The Trip ('67, d: Roger Corman, w/ Fonda, Hopper, Dern, Strasberg),
Riot on Sunset Strip ('67, all nobodies...except for The Chocolate Watch Band)
"Anyway, any '60s freak worth a tab knows these classic exploitation flicks -- the thing is, they we re all made by good ole American International, and now MGM Home Video owns the rights to all that groovy AIP stuff. (MGM has actually put out The Wild Angels with Fonda and Nancy Sinatra. Best line: "We just wanna be free....free to ride our machines and not get hassled by the Man!").
"What's great about MGM Home Video is that generally their transfers of even '60s
drug-biker-bikini drive-in fare look good, and recently they've been doing these
great double-feature DVDs of similar titles (all the early '60s Corman-Poe movies
are great -- check out The Masque of the Red Death' to see how spotless, enveloping and vibrant a 40-year old low-budget cheapie AIP horror flick can look).
"As for the '70s: Cisco Pike ('71, d: B.W.L. Norton, w/ Kristofferson, Hackman, Black, Stanton, etc.) A great, great drug-dealer movie -- never released on video, featuring Kris in his best-ever role, also many songs from his masterpiece album 'The Silver-Tongued Devil and I'.
A real lost gem -- I saw it at the Egyptian a few years back and everyone really dug it."
"What about Joseph L. Mankiewicz's '53 version of Julius Caesar (w/ Mason, Brando, Calhern) and Sidney Lumet's Long Day's Journey Into Night ('62, w/ Richardson, Hepburn, Stockwell, Robards)?" -- Kevin Harman
Wells to Herman: I love this Julius Caesar! Brando's "cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war" speech is one of his best acting moments, ever. And I love the way Edmond Brien says, "It was Greek to me."
"I'd like to add Wim Wenders' five-hour Until The End Of The World. I'd still love to see this director's cut on the long list." -- Alonso Duralde, The Advocate.
"Coppola's The Outsiders is out, but his other Hinton film, Rumblefish is still missing and I've never heard anything about when it might be released, and it's a much more interesting film as far as I'm concerned." -- Michael Mayo
Chris Smets, a senior writer for the American Film Institute Desk Reference, would like to see the following...
Once Upon a Time in the West ('68, d: Leone, w/ Fonda, Bronson, Robards, Cardinale). "For my money it's Leone's best picture -- better than both The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly
and Once Upon a Time in America. Incidentally, it's also one of Martin Scorsese's top ten widescreen films of all time, and the compositions are truly stunning -- far better than the frequent pan-and-scan showings on AMC would have you believe.
Hit Man ('72, d: George Armitage, w/Casey, Grier, Mosley) and Vigilante Force ('76, d: Armitage, w/ Kristofferson, Vincent, Peters, Principal). "Two lean, funny, interesting early efforts from reclusive B-movie director Armitage, who went on to helm the critically lauded Miami Blues and Grosse Pointe Blank.
White Dog ('82, d: Samuel Fuller, w/ McNichol, Ives, Winfield). "Unceremoniously dumped by a skittish Paramount, Fuller's flawed, fascinating final American film deserves a second look. Co-written by Fuller and Curtis Hanson."
Le Samourai ('67, d: Jean-Pierre Melville, w/Delon) and Le Doulos ('61, d: Melville, w/Belmondo). "Two of the best, most influential crime films of the 1960s. New Yorker owns
the rights to Le Samourai, while I'd love to see a Criterion-produced disc of Le Doulos."
Gun Crazy ('49, d: Joseph H. Lewis, w/ Cummins, Dall) and My Name is Julia
Ross ('45, d: Lewis, w/ Foch, Whitty, Macready). "Even after being featured in a lengthy interview Peter Bogdanovich's 'Who the Devil Made It,' Lewis is still one of the unsung craftsmen of the '40s B-flick. Gun Crazy's minimalist bank hold-up, shown in one
long take from the back of the getaway car, is still a stunner. And Julia Ross is a great little women's picture-cum-thriller that was remade in 1987 as Dead of Winter with
Reign of Terror ('49, d: Anthony Mann, w/ Cummings, Basehart, Moss) and The
Tall Target ('51, d: Mann, w/ Powell, Menjou). "Two bizarre little historical noirs wedged
in between Mann's crime and western periods. The first is a fast and loose retelling of the fall
of Maximillian Robespierre, shot in gorgeously expressionistic style by John Alton and featur-
ing Richard Basehart's villain. The second is a Narrow Margin-style trainbound caper about an assassination attempt on Abraham Lincoln that's foiled by a rogue cop named -- no
joke -- John Kennedy."
"I'd like to see a remastered DVD of the Marx Brothers' Horse Feathers (1932). The current version is a duplicate of the choppy print sold to American TV by MCA. Several lines
of dialogue are literally unintelligible -- a crime when the Marxes are concerned. Plus, prints broadcast on the BBC in the '50s featured a 3-minute sequence missing from their U.S. count-
erparts." -- Kevin Kusinitz, NYC
"The Killers (1964, w/ Lee Marvin, John Cassevetes, the beautiful Angie Dickinson,
and Ronald Reagan. This one tops the original that starred Burt Lancaster. I've
always thought Don Siegel is pretty underrated as a director, and where else will you
find a future President smacking around Angie Dickinson?
"My other movie, coincidentally, also stars Lee Marvin and Angie Dickinson. It's
John Boorman's Point Blank (1967). Marvin is at his best as the antihero out for payback and revenge on the guy who left him for dead in a cell at Alacatraz. And oh yeah, I wouldn't mind seeing Otto Preming er's Skidoo." -- Chris Brame, Athens, GA.
Wells to Brame: You're shitting me, right? Skiddo?
POSTSCRIPT: "Your readers certainly don't pay attention to the
DVD web sites! A double-DVD of The Killers is on the way with both
versions -- the black-and-white noir directed by Robert Siodmak ('46)
with Burt Lancaster and Ava Gardner, and the color remake directed by Don
('64) with John Cassevettes and Ronald Reagan. It arrives on January
28." -- Anonymous in Atlanta
Lassie the Squirrel
Hold up on movie stuff for two seconds: Weena, my nine week-old kitten,
disappeared about two days ago. It hit me on Tuesday morning. I
must have slipped out the door. I went outside and looked
around -- nothing. I asked my neighbors, put up a bunch of "LOST KITTEN"
signs around the
neighborhood -- no calls. I'd just about given up hope when my neighbor
Stella knocked on my door early Thursday afternoon to say she'd found
Weena was stuck at the bottom of an aluminum heating shaft, for which
there's a small opening at the base of the rear of my building. She
normally has a quiet little meow, but when I put my arm down the shaft to
reach her she was shrieking loudly and rapidly. I couldn't reach her,
but then I went into the laundry room and realized she was just reachable
behind a grating at the base of this shaft. I prodded it open
and pulled her out. When I put her down on the rug in my apartment she was whining and
eating and running all over the place, back and forth, as if unable to
contain her excitement that life would not be ending after all. Talk
about joie de vivre.
Here's the cool part. Stella is convinced that a little brown squirrel
who lives in the area deliberately led her to the air shaft. She
believes this little guy heard Weena's cries of distress and tried to do
something about it. The squirrel was chirping in front of Stella's door,
which brought her outside. She said 'hi' to the squirrel, which promptly
ran down the walkway and toward the back of the building. Stella
followed. For whatever reason, she found the squirrel sitting
right in front of the air shaft opening and looking right at it. Stella
walked over and it was then she heard Weena crying.
And in case you're wondering, yes, I got the name "Weena" from the
character played by Yvette Mimieux in THE TIME MACHINE ('60).
Besides the usual 007 horseshit and razmatazz, DIE ANOTHER DAY is good for a few chuckles. (Smirks? Chortles? I know they aren't quite laughs.) And it sure as hell is energetic. It doesn't relax for a second and keeps itself impressively erect during its 130-minute length. Push it, Lee Tamahori! Crank it! Hovercrafts, fencing duels, invisible cars, surfing on CGI super waves with blocks of ice, 747's ripping apart in mid-flight...
Of course, they have to do all this because of where the action entertainment universe is at these days, goaded by the general Hong Kong influence of THE MATRIX and CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON, etc.
Missing, of course, as usual, naturally, is any sense of this thing being anything other than a kind of oppressive review or variety show, or possessing any kind of organic harmony or connective tissue, or a sense that Pierce Brosnan is playing any kind of guy as opposed to a franchise front-man. The whole thing feels like a super-sized, pull-out-the-stops, virtual-reality wank put on for the enjoyment of drunks at a trade-show convention in Vegas.
Fool that I am, I still maintain some kind of first-rate movie with character arcs, dialogue that's shrewd and full of echoes and subtle refrains (as opposed to the usual dry, arch banter), and finely constructed action sequences that actually build to a crescendo and pay off...a Bond movie could, in a sane and vibrant environment with better writers and a hipper, more forward-thinking agenda (and, as long as we're dreaming, free of the stifling influence of longtime 007 producer Michael Wilson), actually contain all these things.
At least DIE provides a new kind of title sequence. Instead of the usual Weeki-Wachee displays
of naked-babe silhouettes doing their underwater gymnast show we're given a kind of torture
montage showing Brosnan suffering at the hands of his North Korean captors. It doesn't matter
how or why he become their captor. Nobody cares, least of all the people who made the film.
But there's a stab, at least, at a kind of lower-key mood and story line during the first 45 or 50 minutes, starting with the Korean stuff and then shifting into sequences in Hong Kong, Cuba and
London before (and we all know this is coming, which is part of the slumping-in-our-seat, mass- fatigue syndrome of watching a Bond film) the movie goes into its clomp-stomping, knock-your-socks-off mode in its third act with a quasi-finale set in Iceland, and then an all-right, this-is-really-it finale set on a disintegrating jumbo jet.
After sitting through DIE the other night I went home and watched FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE on DVD
to get the digital crud out of my system. It helped. That hand-to-hand fight sequence in the
train compartment is still awesome. Robert Shaw might have been the best villain
the series has ever had.
The best thing about DIE ANOTHER DAY, by far, is that CD-ROM press kit handed out by MGM publicity. You should see this thing -- the packaging alone is beautiful. It's like a super
special-edition DVD, complete with a mini-press kit book inside. This, I submit, is a much more
creative thing than the movie itself. Congratulations to MGM publicity's Joe Whitmore and Alan Gavoni along with Brian and Terry Hines, who designed it.
"Back in the days of decadent suburbia, the football team went to see
CLOCKWORK ORANGE in lieu of a pep rally. We were all raz daz O' My
Brothers, ready for a bit of the old ultra-violence. Kubrickian images
scored by synthesized Ludwig Van are indeed compelling for pubescent
lads. When Dylan and Jett announce they are leaving for some of the old
in-out, they may not mean burgers anymore. Nice looking youngsters, by
the way." -- Arizona Joe
"Your ORANGE piece nearly made me weep with joy, O my brother and only
friend. Is that sick or what? I remember, as a young malchik, the
feeling I had first seeing the film at the Soho Thalia, midnight show,
terrible print -- and, upon walking out: top of the world, singin' in the
rain, a feeling like spun heaven-metal, an azure sky of deepest summer,
and let's go find some old bum going 'blurp blurp, as if it were an
orchestra in his guttiwuts' and give him a horrorshow tolchocking on the
gulliver. Does the heart good to know the little droogies, with their
yarbles barely dropped, are growing up right." -- Tim Merrill
"I first saw CLOCKWORK ORANGE at 11 (I'm now 21) and was immediately
enthralled as were almost all of my friends. The film was passed on to me
by my brother who, along with his friends, had watched it endlessly as
teenagers. I think the film appeals to that age group on an almost
purely visceral level. So much of the imagery of the film has become
iconic and cool that teenage boys cannot help but be enthralled by it and
enjoy it some kind of instinctual level." -- Davey Landau
"Since the slang in CLOCKWORK ORANGE consists primarily of Russian
('droog' = friend, 'bit of a pain in the gulliver' = head, 'moloko' =
milk... many more) your boys could be way cool by actually learning
Russian. The implication in the movie was that the Soviets had won the
Cold War and had now considerable influence on life in Britain, which is
one of the best sub-themes in the movie." -- Bob Shaw, Silicon
"I was in high school (probably '84 or '85, as I graduated in '88) was
when I first saw CLOCKWORK. It made me aware of Kubrick as a director
and in fact is likely one of the reasons I ended up with a film studies
minor. A lot of us watched it back then. I not only went on to read the
book, but also track down a used vinyl copy of the soundtrack (before it
was reissued on CD). I'm surprised it surprises you that kids still dig
it. I always assume high school kids are watching a CLOCKWORK ORANGE
and listening to that first Violent Femmes record." -- Mike Switzer
"I think you're wrong about Maggie Gyllenhaal, who has got to be on
anyone's short list for Best Actress this year for her role in
SECRETARY. She carries that film on her shoulders, and makes a
potentially creepy character into a fascinating, three-dimensional
heroine. Lions Gate clearly thinks she has a real shot, since hers is
the first 'For Your Consideration' campaign out of the gate in the trade
papers. If I were a member, I'd vote for her." -- Jack Lechner,
"You wrote that Julianne Moore 'has her own Best Actress nomination
nearly sewn up, also, but for her performance as the inwardly suffering,
emotionally pent-up housewife in FAR FROM HEAVEN. It won't hurt that she
delivers an intriguing performance in THE HOURS (pedigree
by association, etc.), although Paramount's decision to push her for
Best Supporting Actress in that film indicates to me they're hedging
about the power of her performance..."
"I don't work for Paramount or have a vested interest in any way, but
isn't it possible that Paramount is putting her in the Supporting
category because they know Moore will [most likely] be nominated for
Best Actress for FAR FROM HEAVEN? Since they don't want to split her
votes and get shut out altogether, it would make sense to put her in a
completely different category. This way, she can pull a Sigourney Weaver
and get nominated in both categories." -- Craig Beilinson
"If you didn't really like THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RINGS, then why would
you want the orc fights scenes to be even longer? Wouldn't that make the
movie fairly unbearable? I always took it to be that the orcs were just
fodder. Their threat factor isn't about any of them being good fight
ers (except the leader guy with the hand on his face), just that there
were so many of them. I may have gotten that from the book, though." --
"One thing you have to bear in mind is that those who are slaying the
orcs are not normal folk --they are essentially heroes of legendary
stature. Completely unrealistic, yes, but that's the whole point. In
this fantasy setting, epic warriors are going to be able to slaughter
marauding orcs by the hundreds. It's not Scorsese-level realism, but it's
not supposed to be. How many stormtroopers did Han Solo and Luke
Skywalker slaughter in the first three STAR WARS films? And the
orc-marauding scenes in FELLOWSHIP are far more exciting than anything
that happened in the soul-deadening ATTACK OF THE CLONES." -- Mike
Kirchhoff, Mission Viejo, CA.
Wells to Kirchhoff: Better than ATTACK OF THE CLONES? Now
there's a mark of distinction.
How about the fight between Mickey Rourke and Frank Stallone in BARFLY
(i.e., the one that Mickey actually wins)? Its a high point for his
character in the movie, and the way he takes a pounding but manages to
turn the tide on Frank's character is classic. "To all my friends!" A
runner-up would be the cat fight in the bar between Faye Dunaway and
Alice Krige. What a great movie." -- Brian Cororve, Houston
"No one has yet thought to mention the bloody, gut-wrenching fight scenes
in BRAVEHEART. While these battles may belong in a war-movie category as
a whole, they break down into a number of brutal one-on-one fights, with
hands, legs and heads getting lopped off, giant thorns in people's necks,
and a primitive sledge hammer to the skull, not to mention the first time
I ever saw blood splatter the camera." -- Vik Weet
Wells to Weet: Thorns in people's necks?
"The younger audience probably doesn't know it (it's in -- gasp! --
black and white), but the fight scene in the bar near the beginning of
TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE is one of the all-time toughest and truest.
Tim Holt is hit across the face with a bottle by Barton MacLane at the
very start of it, and spends the entire scene hanging onto the other
guy's legs, as Humphrey Bogart fights MacLane. This is also a film that
needs to be out on DVD." -- Hank Graham
"The most realistic sword fight I can recall seeing was the battle
between Sean Connery and Robert Shaw in Richard Lester's ROBIN AND
MARIAN. There was nothing in the slightest bit glamorous or
swashbuckling about it. It was just about two tired, sweaty, middle-aged
men hacking and banging at each other
until one of them couldn't get up. By the end of it they could barely
swing the heavy swords, and each time one of them was cut you could feel
it was a painful, debilitating wound. -- Steven R. Silver
Gerald Williams of San Antonio, Texas, was firswt ot identify
Wednesday's cast. They appeared together in FOLLOW THAT DREAM (1962),
with Elvis Presley starring.
Today's cast: Lola Albright, Paul Stewart, Arthur Kennedy, Marilyn
Maxwell, Ruth Roman, Kirk Douglas.
What's That Line?
Michael Powell from Australia was first to identify Wednesday's
dialogue. It's from CAST AWAY ('00), starring Tom Hanks, directed by
Robert Zemekis, and written by William Broyles Jr.
Two men are standing outdoors, in a forested area.
Man#1: Why didn't you make a run for it when you had the chance?
Man #2: What for? You'da found me again. Woulda got the boy in
trouble. (beat) I'm not scared.
Man#1: You've gotta be.
Man#2: Why? Because everyone else is? As you are?
Man #1: You don't know! (very long pause) Death...
Man #2: ...is just a stage in the journey. We're all gonna get there.
No exceptions. Me, you...
just a moment. We're here and then we're not here... we're somewhere
else. Maybe. And it's
as natural as breathing. Why should we be scared?
Some more dialogue, and then...
Man #2: I read this in a magazine when John Lennon died. (reading from
a small piece of paper) 'Death be not proud. Though some have called
thee mighty and dreadful, thou art not so. For those who now think thou
dos't overthrow, die not, poor death, nor yet cans't thou kill me.'
Name the film, the year of release, the director, the screenwriter(s),
and the two actors in the scene.