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Old October 29th, 2001, 04:52 PM   #1
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The Writer rants... you're .02?

I don't pretend to know everything or even much about screenwriting. Primarily because Hollywood's taste for scripts changes like the weather in Texas... if you don't like what's out there, wait a few minutes and it'll change. As a matter of fact, nobody knows what Hollywood wants, not even Hollywood.

What I can tell you is that the movie going public wants something different. They want to cheer for the good guy and boo the bad guy. Most of all, they want us to tell a good story.

A fellow writer observed that millions of people go to the movies every weekend and billions are made on the current offerings. Logically, that means that writers and film makers, are fulfilling the public's demand for good movies. I just don't buy that and let me explain why.

Hollywood and Hamburgers
I like hamburgers. Home cooked hamburgers. Made from lean beef, seasoned just right and cooked on the grill to a sizzling medium well, dripping with juices. Hope I haven't lost you but here's my point. A national hamburger chain that sports an famous clown and a pair of arches sells millions of hamburgers every day. The place is crowded morning, noon and night. Is the food really that good? In a word, no. But their marketing department and advertising budget goes a long way in putting butts in those seat. Same with most of today's movies. Marketing and advertising for these releases do one thing. They put butts in seats.

Most movie goers, like fast-food diners, simply accept what they're fed. Now pass the ketchup.
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Old October 30th, 2001, 02:40 PM   #2
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Right

You're so right. The term blockbuster has to be redefined. A move that releases in 2000+ screens and makes $50 million in a weekend can no longer be considered a blockbluster. Why? Consider "Jaws", released in the 70's. It opened in around 450 screens and stayed on those screens a long time. Made millions over months. That was a blockbuster. An example of the 2000+ screen blockbuster illusion? "Pearl Harbor". It made millions the first weekend then died. Justifiably so. A stinker of a movie. Unfortunately, that is what the studios are hoping for. Make the money in the first weekend then whatever comes after is gravy. Too bad it is strictly quantity over quality. Thank goodness for the "art cinemas".
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Old October 30th, 2001, 08:15 PM   #3
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Pearl Harbor

Pearl Harbor was, or perhaps I should say could have been, a GREAT film.

It seems that the whole love triangle was added in an effort to meet some sort of "Titanic" formula. Frankly it made the main story unendurably long, and diluted the entire impact of the film. I also find it insulting, as if the Hollywood suits think audiences can't enjoy a historical movie without "something extra." As if there was not enough drama in the actual events.

That said I find the photographic style that is complained about elsewhere to be ENTIRELY appropriate. Pearl Harbor LOOKED great.

Even when considering the existence of Tora Tora Tora I think Pearl Harbor was worth making, and inside that crap we saw was hiding a great movie

When it comes out on DVD I'll edit it down, removing most of the love triangle, and drop it in my collection.
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Old October 30th, 2001, 11:09 PM   #4
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Alexander:

<< When it comes out on DVD I'll edit it down, removing most of the love triangle, and drop it in my collection. >>

Heh. You're not the only one who does this. Ask me about my lean version of "Thin Red Line," minus the excessive narration and expensive tropical birds.

Malick's a genius, sure, but TRL is a plodding 3hr film which can be easily condensed into a stimulating 2hr movie. Nolte and Penn really stand out, superb acting. Travolta and Clooney, though, hit my cutting room floor.
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Old October 31st, 2001, 02:49 AM   #5
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<<<-- Originally posted by Chris Hurd : Alexander:

<< When it comes out on DVD I'll edit it down, removing most of the love triangle, and drop it in my collection. >>

Heh. You're not the only one who does this. Ask me about my lean version of "Thin Red Line," ... -->>>

Chris,

How can we manage to be so busy and still have so much damn time ?

Maybe it has something to do with the reason I am posting here instead of working on a tape I have due Friday morning...or sleeping.

Face it man we are nuts. Good thing we are nuts about something we can make money doing eh ?
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Old October 31st, 2001, 05:39 AM   #6
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Too true, anyone seen those toothpicks I had keeping my eyelids open, I know they're here somewhere!!!!!!
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Old October 31st, 2001, 12:50 PM   #7
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Better still watch how Hollywood might change in the next 12 months.

Since 9/11 I think Hollywood is somewhat worried about marketing its films. Considering what blockbusters cost to produce a controversial film might have to pulled after a future 9/11.

I would really like to read what our society was like during WWII, not Vietnam. These events are not Vietnam. The Vietnamese never attacked the continental US. (Arguably neither did Japan...Hawaii wasn't a state until long after the war).

One of the reasons I think Hollywood has cancelled some of its galas is fear that some of its hottest stars will make 'typical' comments. Stars too are big money to studios: no sense in loosing a hot property say like Greer...

So what does that mean to screenwriters and indies? I think it means opportunity. The old formula mindless blood and sexfests will likely wane (not entirely, they are just to damn easy to shoot). Hollywood will look for news ideas especially if some indie finds a neat script to produce.

I know I am getting too old to comment like this. After all I am ancient being in my mid-forties and Hollywood does not like scripts written by the elderly...Ah! Maybe if I were cute blonde (girl that is) into somewhat casual relationships.

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Old May 8th, 2002, 06:02 PM   #8
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"Hollywood" mainly uses the same proven formulas. (Over and over and over again.) Try a fresh approach of a story. Change the characters, the setting and the circumstances. Then sell yourself and your script (but make sure it's good; and protect yourself by double registering via post.)
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Old May 8th, 2002, 09:33 PM   #9
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Haven't seen Pearl Harbor, a friend saw it and said it sucked, but from reading about how well it was filmed, I'll rent it for the technical qualities.

"The Vietnamese never attacked the continental US. (Arguably neither did Japan...Hawaii wasn't a state until long after the war). "

A while back I saw a doc on the discovery channel and they were talking about the war. The Japanese built hundreds of high altitude balloons and armed them with bombs. They let them loose over the pacific to fly over to the U.S. and then they would have hundreds of places being bombed by an unseen enemy. Luckily for the U.S. most of the them that reached the U.S. landed in remote areas and the rain helped put out the "forest fires" that started. Some people found these bombs and the army never told the public about, they wanted the japanese to feel their plan failed, plus people would freak out if they knew Japan had the capability to launch these "pre-intercontinentel missiles" and could bomb the U.S. from a safe distance.

Before I saw this doc I had no idea this had happened. I wished I had taped it. Got to get discovery again, there is always a good doc playing there all the time.
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Old May 8th, 2002, 10:40 PM   #10
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Just a note on The Thin Red Line...it was one of the most beautifully photographed war films I've seen (on the same level, but entirely different approach than Storaro's work on Apocalypse Now)...

That aside though, it amazed me that people like George Clooney and Travolta got top billing on the DVD jacket and had the least amount of screen time.

Does that say something about marketing and "star power" or what?
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Old May 8th, 2002, 11:12 PM   #11
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<<The Vietnamese never attacked the continental US. (Arguably neither did Japan...Hawaii wasn't a state until long after the war)>>

Actually, that's not the case. You guys haven't heard about the lone Japanese bomber that targeted an Oregon forest? (I think it was Oregon...might have been Washington)

Anyway...this guy is the only Japanese pilot to make it to the U.S. mainland. His plane was catapulted off a destroyer, I believe.

He didn't do any damage other than blowing up some trees, but he felt really guilty later in life, so he wrote a letter to the people of the nearby small town and apologized.

Soon after, he received an official letter that requested his presence at an official gathering...the wording of it, all in English, confused him and made him think he was being asked to come face charges.

This guy (now this is an example of honor if I've ever heard it) said his goodbyes to his family...packed a ceremonial suicide blade and went to face his medicine.

When he arrived, he was shocked to see cheering people, banners, and a parade in his honor. He was given the key to the city by the mayor and treated like a king.

He was so overwhelmed after he returned to Japan that he started making all kinds of philanthropic contributions to the town.

Is that a great story, or what? Beats hell out of a huge portion of the movies being cranked out today. Any screenwriters out there? Contact me and I'll send you more info.
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Old May 8th, 2002, 11:19 PM   #12
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Somewhere on the west coast of Canada (British Columbia) was also shelled by the Japanese. But many people believe it was from a US warship, to change Canada's popular opinion.
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Old May 8th, 2002, 11:38 PM   #13
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John,
that would make a good movie, hopefully if it was ever made they wouldn't get some music video director to make it with a drum n' bass soundtrack and then hollywoodize the hell out of it.

Yeah, you don't see many of those people who stand up and face the music.

nowadays I read about another business or political leader getting caught with his hand in the cookie jar and then will hang himself or jump off a building to avoid paying for his misdeed. The ones who off themselves for being depressed or for other unexplained reasons are the saddest. I was bummed out when I heard a couple of years ago that my favorite director, Juzo Itami took a flying leap off of his office building. Oopps, starting to get off the thread, but one day John I'll tell you about my experience here regarding suicide, have known several japanese who have done it.
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Old May 9th, 2002, 02:11 AM   #14
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John Locke story line

Hey John,

That's a story that needs told. Any information you have would be appreciated. You can e-mail me off board if you like.

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Old May 9th, 2002, 02:56 AM   #15
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David, check your inbox. A message is on it's way.

Let me know if you ever do anything with it. Good luck!
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