It’s not enough to just turn your cellphone on silent . PUT IT THE FUCK AWAY. Don’t look at it during the movie. It’s like someone turning on a flashlight in a dark room. It’s distracting. Don’t do it! And don’t text message.
Don’t bring a baby. EVER. Can’t get a sitter? STAY HOME. I also blame theater owners for this one. Don’t allow babies. A young cretin couple brings their one year old to see HOSTEL and you sell them tickets, you should be the one dipped in a boiling vat of canola oil.
Don’t wear a hat. Unless you’re Diana Ross or Don King. This goes for baseball caps. Just because you’re balding doesn’t mean you can annoy other people.
In a fairly empty theater don’t take a seat right in front of me. Especially when there are twenty seats on either side you could choose instead.
Realize when you buy those nachos with the plastic cheese sauce that you are repulsing everyone within two rows.
Put your sweater on or keep it off. Don’t keep changing your mind during the film.
Don’t throw your big honking coat over the back of your seat so that it’s completely in my lap.
Don’t yell, “Turn it up!” during the THX announcement. It’s not funny… and hasn’t been funny for ten years.
If you’re still yelling “Focus!” in the middle of the movie, it’s YOU!
Don’t save fifteen seats for your stupid late friends.
Never ask me to move over a seat so it’s more convenient for your party of six.
When you come in late and the movie has already started, don’t yell the name of your friend…over …and over…and over.
Scream in your boyfriend’s ear, not mine.
When you drape your feet over the row in front of you, you are kicking the seats of everyone in that row.
Don’t pay for one Goddamn box of Milk Duds with a credit card.
Don’t talk back to the screen. This may come as a shock to your morons but THE ACTORS CAN’T HEAR YOU.
I’m sure you have others. Have at it in the comments section.
Overheard: someone on a cellphone trying to sell a direct-to-DVD film called ASSASIN BALLARINAS.
There’s a new company called iScript that will record your spec screenplay. The idea here is that producers and agents who never read might actually listen to a script if they had the chance. In theory it’s a good idea and it’s certainly novel. But I have two concerns. Seems a small CD would be even easier for an agent/producer/reader to lose. So they will. Guaranteed! And I worry that the actors might not do the material justice. I attended a screenplay reading last year where the main character was the world’s most brilliant nuclear physicist. Billy Ray Cyrus played him. Viennese genius, Jed Clampet discussing quantum theory. So writers beware.
Oh boy! Katie Couric will be doing her newscast from Iraq and Syria the next ten days. Expect her to really get to the bottom of things. But here’s my favorite part of this non-story. When CBS Evening News executive producer, Rick Kaplan was questioned as to whether this is just a ploy to increase Katie’s horrendous ratings he said, “Only fools will perceive that.” I guess everyone on the planet is a fool then. I know I am. How about you?
If you wish you were in Hawaii (like I do every day, especially when I read the trades), put on an aloha shirt, make yourself a pina colada and tune into to Whodaguyradio.com. “Hele me hoohiwahiwa George's ho'omaha loa”. Sounds beautiful, doesn’t it? It’s the only Hawaiian phrase I know. It means, “Come celebrate George’s retirement.”
Happy birthday, Annie! My daughter turns 21 on Thursday. No longer will she need that Ms. McLovin fake ID. Annie, you’ve grown into a fabulous, caring, striking young woman. If only I could still convince you that Lulu is a great singer.
I love you, Annie and as everyone knows, there’s nothing like a daddy’s love.
As a result, when a show wins Best Comedy or Drama it looks like the Normandy invasion as half the audience invades the stage to pick up their hardware. In an attempt to not deplete the world’s gold reserve the Academy has revised the rules and will now only allow eleven producers to be eligible for best comedy show Emmys and ten for dramas.
But then comes the question of which eleven of the say, twenty or fifty producers should be eligible?
Here are my thoughts. NO non-writing producers. These are all executive, not creative positions. Not saying that they don't have a role in the process but it's not in this area. Studio development people? Development is their JOB. They make calls. They come to meetings and just sit. They offer "support". And there's no "Best Supporting Producer" category. Directors? Sorry, this is the one medium you are not the king. And as for managers -- if the sum total of a manager's contribution is one time handing a pilot script to his client he does not deserve an Emmy (or the money he’s skimming off the show for doing nothing but that’s another story).
This is the bottom line: During a rewrite at 2 a.m., look around the room. Whoever is not there automatically should be eliminated (with one exception -- the line producer. He/she works harder than anybody, usually under the most impossible of conditions.) The non-writing producer who waltzes out at 6 to get to the Laker game? Disqualified. The actor who has no idea where the writers room is? Application denied. The studio exec whose only talent is doing a good Ari Gold impression? Not a chance.
Hopefully, when it’s just down to writers, ten or eleven slots will be enough. Consultants, by the way, don’t qualify. Full-time only. If the issue still isn’t settled then there’s only one way writers can resolve it, equitably -- taking into consideration seniority, contribution, loyalty – and throwing all that shit out. Nerf basketball! One-on-one. Round robin eliminations.
It's how writers make all major life decisions -- marriage, whether to go out on strike, which religion to believe it, etc.
I know what some of you are thinking -- isn't that a frivolous and irresponsible way to make important decisions? No. Not at all. But if you are concerned and want to settle these things in a more, shall we say, mature manner -- then I recommend Foosball.
Good luck to all the nominees in all the categories.
The current Dallas motto is “Live Large, Think Big” which is much better than “Not Just Hot But Humid”.
Believe it or not, Dallas has more restaurants per capita than New York City (although NYC has a huge lead in salad bars) and more shopping centers per capita than any city in the U.S. “Eat Large, Spend Big”.
It is a surprisingly cosmopolitan city. Gorgeous downtown skyline, with its tall towers outlined in shimmering green and white lights. There are museums, a night life, and be careful going into that shit-kicker bar, it just might be gay.
Not to further tarnish Dallas’ sparkling redneck reputation but until recently their mayor was a woman…and Jewish, Laura Miller. And in 2004 Lupe Valdez was elected sheriff of Dallas County. She’s the first Hispanic, first woman, and first openly gay lesbian to ever fill that role. Hey, she might’ve had better luck getting into Miss Kitty’s bloomers than Marshall Dillon ever did.
Stayed at the Arlington Hilton and had a lovely view of people throwing up from 700 feet on the Six Flags Over Texas thrill rides. Nearby is Hurricane Harbor, a waterslide amusement park. I’m sure it’s very refreshing if you pretend that hundreds of people don’t pee in it a day.
Football is king in Dallas. High school games routinely draw from 20 – 50,000 people. And still, no one watches FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS.
Meanwhile, the entire world stops for the Dallas Cowboys. Last week when the Rangers broke an all-time major league record by scoring 30 runs in one game they still shared the front page of the sports section with the Cowboys training camp report on wind sprint drills.
They’re building a new stadium for the Cowboys in Arlington, affectionately known as "Jerry’s World" (for Jerry Jones, the team’s owner). It’s costing in the neighborhood of one billion dollars, will have a retractable roof, and the two largest glass panels in the world. Which makes sense financially because the stadium will be in use eight times a year.
Had to once again see the Texas School Book Depository (now an excellent museum) where Oswald shot Kennedy. Forget that it’s across the street from a Morton’s Steakhouse, it’s still pretty chilling. And on the street itself are X’s where the shots landed. I don’t think they needed the guys standing around selling grisly pictures however. America remembers and profits.
Saw the grassy knoll and the white picket fence that hid the alleged “second shooter”. But it’s not the original picket fence. It’s a replica. The real one I understand (true story) was sold on ebay.
Meanwhile, I’m still waiting for the Conspiracy Museum to reopen. Their previous landlord booted them out – a plot no doubt engineered by the CIA, Rupert Murdoch, Korean airlines, and Posh Spice. I hope my phones aren’t tapped because I wrote this.
If you go to Black Eyed Peas' and order your first chicken fried steak (like I did fifteen years ago when I was fulltime with the Mariners) don’t ask them to cook it “medium rare”. I did and it was an E.F. Hutton moment as forty guys named Dirk stared at me in disbelief and disgust.
When you think of Dallas – what comes to mind besides JFK, football, cured meats, heat prostration, people carrying weapons, the Trammell & Margaret Crow Collection of Asian Art, rodeos, rodeo clowns like our president, country clubs, “Country” Charlie Pride, evil oil companies, the Renaissance Hotel that looks like a Bic lighter, J.R. Ewing, Dr. Pepper, Texas-Instruments, SMU, Verne Lundquist, the first Neiman Marcus, the Savings & Loan crisis, Tex-Mex, cheerleaders, and “Debbie Does”? Why radio station jingles of course! Dallas is the home of JAM Creative Productions the largest radio jingle mill in the country. Big D is filled with gifted singers who would all have huge careers if they could only sing songs that were longer than eight seconds.
There’s a chain of convenience stores called “Grab and Go”. I guess their target customers are robbers.
And the police have recently instituted a “no pursuit” rule so it’s “Grab and Go At Your Leisure”.
If you want tacos there’s Taco Bueno, Taco King, Taco Cabana, Taco Bell, Taco Diner, Taco Express, Taco Grande, Taco Pronto, and Taco Loco Wagon. If you want a good deli, good luck. It’s easier to find a mountain in Dallas.
For Italian, there’s the aptly named Campisi’s Egyptian.
My dining trips took me to Pappadeaux, which was excellent (I find the more unpronounceable the title, the better the Cajun cuisine), Lawry’s for a light lunch, and Sonny Bryan’s Smokehouse BBQ, clogging Dallas arteries since 1910. “Live Large, Think Pig”.
Mark Cuban, billionaire owner of the Mavericks, supposedly answers his email. Not true. I dropped him a note saying I’d be in town, and wondered if he could show me Bonnie Parker’s grave. He never responded, the bastard.
How perfect! There’s a highway named for George Bush… and it’s a toll road.
Guns are not allowed in bars or libraries.
Sunday night I filled in for the great Dave Neihaus and broadcast the Mariners-Rangers game back to Seattle. It was my first time in their new stadium. Originally named “the Ballpark”, they must’ve felt that was too generic because they’ve now renamed it the far more colorful, “Rangers Park”. What they really should call it is “the Typhoon”. My God! It was like the movie TWISTER. I fully expected to see a cow fly by the booth as I was describing the action.
Taking a cue from the Dodgers, the Rangers experimented this weekend with a “Country Style” section. For you tenderfoots and Jews, that means “all you can eat”. For only $29 fans could stuff themselves into oblivion. The tickets sold out almost immediately. The experiment was so successful the team next year plans to release their expensive players and replace them with corn dogs and ribs. Future tie-in promotions include: “Heart Attack Night” and “Heimlich Maneuver Night”.
We have a contest on M’s radio where we give a fan $7,000 if the team scores seven runs in the 7th inning. The Rangers had a similar one pay off last week – their “30/30” contest. If Texas scores 30 runs in a game one lucky listener wins a can of 30 grade motor oil. Enter these things because you just never know.
All in all, I had a great trip. I would’ve gained twenty pounds if I didn’t stop off at Six Flags Over Texas for some thrill rides on my way out of town.
“Live Large… or Think Bulimic.”
It was 1973. It was also the first script for either of us. Going in, we knew…NOTHING. And came out knowing...not much more.
We decided to write a pilot about college life. We were told write about what you know and that was the only thing either of us knew. Two guys who couldn’t get dates living in a dorm. We wrote about what we knew TOO WELL.
I had never even seen a television script. I went to a bookstore in Hollywood that had old TV scripts on a remainder table. I bought an OLD ODD COUPLE episode for two dollars. So now we knew the format. We were ready to go! I mean, what else is there?
At the time, the way we wrote was that David took it down in longhand in a college binder then I would type up the script. One Sunday afternoon we wrote Fade In and just started writing. Did we prepare an outline first? Outline? What’s that?? We were more of the “toilet paper school” – just put a roll in the typewriter and write till you run out of paper.
We wrote and wrote and wrote until finally one day I leafed through the ODD COUPLE script and said to my partner, “What page do you think we’re on now?” David thumbed through the binder and said, “I dunno. About 34.” I said, “Really? You know, they start wrapping it up pretty quick here.” We stopped, took five minutes to come up with a big ending (which involved the university’s entire computer system going kablooey, spewing out thousands of IBM cards.), wrote it in about fifteen more minutes, and that was it. We were done. Off to El Torito for margaritas. Forget that it would have cost $24,000,000 to produce in 1973 and had no story, we were now writers!!
Needless to say, we did not sell it. But we enjoyed the process, had fun working together, and there were some funny moments buried in there somewhere. We were encouraged enough by the experience to want to really go forward and do it right. From there came crash courses in writing, more spec scripts, total dedication, and thanks to a little luck, ultimate success.
Your first script will probably be terrible (not as bad as ours but still). Your second will be better. But you can’t write your second until you write your first. And your third will be better still. So if you’re thinking of becoming a writer, take the plunge. Maybe learn a principle or two BEFORE writing Fade In (unlike us), an outline might be nice, but go for it. And no matter how bad it is, you’re still entitled to that margarita at El Torito.
Thought I'd show one of my favorite all-time comedy scenes. This is from THE HONEYMOONERS starring Jackie Gleason (Ralph)and Art Carney(Norton)from the mid 50's. In this classic scene they're about to go on live television and advertise a kitchen utensil they're selling -- their latest get rich quick scheme. Judging by today's informercials not much has changed.
We pick them up rehearsing.
Some fun facts about that game:
Since Texas pitcher Wes Littleton entered in the 7th and remained in the game he actually got a save. (The save rule ignores the run differential if the pitcher finishes and has protected the lead for 3 innings or more.) However, Dodger pitcher Brett Tomko could easily blow a 27 run lead.
The game was held in Baltimore not the Sepulveda Blvd. Little League Field.
Just prior to the game Baltimore manager Dave Trembley was rehired as manager for next season. Good thing he didn’t say “Let my lawyer look at this contract and get back to you.”
The bottom two guys in the Rangers line-up got 14 RBI’s.
The Orioles lost the second game of the doubleheader although they held the Rangers to 21 fewer runs so they had to feel good about themselves.
When Orioles radio announcer, Joe Angel finished the 8th inning he said, "And the score is, I really don't care anymore." Later, when called the final home run in the 9th to put Texas up 30-3 he said, “I hope you took the over in this game.”
The Rangers are still in last place.
See you tomorrow night on KOMO 1000 in Seattle, the Mariners Radio Network, and MLB.COM gameday audio.
THIS CHRISTMAS – Oh God no, another “going home for the holidays and confronting where you are in your life” pictures. It’s the fruitcake of Christmas movie themes.
MARGOT AT THE WEDDING – Nicole Kidman – THE INVASION, FUR, and BEWITCHED – is only one bomb away from television. Will this family drama by Noah Baumbach (THE SQUID AND THE WHALE) save her, or does she join the cast of BONES next fall?
BEE MOVIE – Jerry Seinfeld as an animated bee. Probably has some laughs but good luck being funnier than THE SIMPSONS MOVIE.
FRED CLAUS – Another Santa Claus high concept commercial holiday comedy. But the real Christmas miracle is that they got Vince Vaughn, Paul Giamatti, Kevin Spacey, and Rachel Weisz to be in this thing. Tim Allen surely fired his agent.
IN THE VALLEY OF ELAH – CRASH writer/director Paul Haggis is back with this tale about a returning Iraq soldier. Haggis promises lot of exploration on the morality of this war. The first of what seems like twelve “explorations of the war” films lined up for your popcorn pleasure this fall.
THE KITE RUNNER – From the best selling novel. Friendship in Afghanistan. “Exploration of the war” #2.
LIONS FOR LAMBS -- #3. Robert Redford directs and stars as a professor who’s had too much plastic surgery (one operation more than Buzz Aldrin, six less than Mary Tyler Moore) and is unable to prevent some students from signing up for the war. Meanwhile, Tom Cruise, in a real departure, plays a slick guy. And Meryl Streep plays…aw, what difference does it make? She’ll be nominated for an Oscar.
REDACTED -- #4.
CHARLIE WILSON’S WAR -- #5 but might be the best. All-stars at every position. (pictured above) Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, and Philip Seymour Hoffman star. Aaron Sorkin wrote the screenplay and Mike Nichols directed. And if that isn’t intriguing enough – it’s a comedy.
LOOKING FOR CHEYENNE – A film about French Lesbians. Opens November 16. I’ve already got my ticket.
ELEVEN MEN OUT – Ho hum. Yet another gay Icelandic soccer player movie.
ALL THAT REALLY MATTERS – Michelle Pheiffer makes up for her acting hiatus by being in every movie this season. This time she falls for Paul Rudd. Depending on the make-up and cinematography she’s either twenty years or twenty months older than him.
FLAWLESS – Michael Caine and Demi Moore try to recreate the magic they created together in BLAME IT ON RIO with this jewelry heist caper film.
I AM LEGEND – Another Will Smith desperate attempt at an Oscar. In this one he’s the last man alive. It’s CASTAWAY in New York City. Not only will we better appreciate Tom Hanks, we’ll better appreciate “Wilson”.
GOLDEN COMPASS – Brace yourselves – another epic journey, another trilogy, another book adaptation, and another Nicole Kidman attempt to open a movie.
THE ASSASSINATION OF JESSE JAMES BY THE COWARD ROBERT FORD – long title usually mean pretentious movie. Three years in the making, 34 different cuts, and five test screenings. Uh oh.
THE BUCKET LIST – Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman as terminal cancer patients who live to the fullest. They jump out of airplanes, drive race cars, go to Knicks games and root for the Lakers.
I WANT SOMEONE TO EAT CHEESE WITH – I’m assuming the autobiography of Victor Buono.
SWEENEY TODD – Tim Burton adapts Stephen Sondheim’s masterpiece. With Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter (duh), Alan Richman, and Sacha Baron Cohen. My question: Can Helena Bonham Carter (Burton’s girlfriend) sing? Or bake?
YOUTH WITHOUT YOUTH – Francis Ford Coppola directs his first movie in ten years. Financed by his winery. There was going to be a big car chase scene but the 2005 Zinfandel crop was disappointing.
ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS – Why???
WALK HARD – Another Judd Apatow comedy, this one starring John C. Reilly as a six decade rock star. FORREST GUMP meets VIVA LAS VEGAS. The only movie I’d see before this is the one about the French Lesbians.
ENCHANTED – (pictured above) Clever idea. A Disney animated princess comes to life. Starring Amy Adams. She finds it hard to live in a world where people flee at the sound of Alan Menken songs.
MICHAEL CLAYTON – George Clooney in a complex legal drama. If it sells four tickets expect a TV version with Ron Livingstone.
MR. WOODCOCK -- On and off of release schedules since the dawn of talkies. But the trailer looks funny. Billy Bob Thornton and Seann William Scott. I'll cut and paste this so I have it ready for the Winter Movies Preview.
DAN IN REAL LIFE – Steve Carell in a triangle love story involving his brother. Stay for the closing credits where he apologizes for EVAN ALMIGHTY.
LAKE OF FIRE – Director Tony Kaye’s 17 year examination of abortion. Good luck to the marketing department.
LARS AND THE REAL GIRL – Ryan Gosling falls in love with a wheelchair-bound plastic “girlfriend”. Tara Reid as the plastic doll. But only after seven callbacks.
THINGS WE LOST IN THE FIRE – Halle Berry’s auto insurance is so high after the hit-and-run she can’t afford fire.
SLEUTH – Who knew psychological torture could be such fun? Remake of the Michael Caine/Lawrence Olivier starrer. Caine plays the Olivier part in the new version. And Jude Law plays the other. You’re probably saying, “that part requires a real actor. How did Jude Law get the role?” He’s also the producer.
RESERVATION ROAD – Director Terry George had to deal with many atrocities while making HOTEL RWANDA but nothing prepared him for having to wrangle Joaquin Phoenix, Jennifer Connelly, and Mira Sorvino. I assume at any given moment two were crying and one was locked in his trailer.
DEAD IN THE WATER – A new way to get sexy women…with fish hooks.
FAT GIRLS – the ones the guys from DEAD IN THE WATER throw back.
BEFORE THE DEVIL KNOWS YOUR DEAD -- Directed by Sidney Lumet so I’m there opening day. Philip Seymour Hoffman and Ethan Hawke rob their parents. But they screw up and steal the plasma TV’s out of their own rooms.
SILK – Costume drama set in Japan combining my two favorite things -- Keira Knightley and silkworms.
FIERCE PEOPLE – Been on release schedules since 2004. Always a great sign. Diane Lane as a coked-up mom. You’re telling me the marketing department can’t sell that???
VIRGIN TERRITORY – (pictured right) A romantic comedy set during the Black Plague. I hope they don’t just go for the easy laughs.
LOVE IN THE TIME OF CHOLERA -- Sounds like the same subject matter as VIRGIN TERRITORY.
AMERICAN GANGSTER – Denzel Washington as a smooth charismatic gangster. Denzel remains Mozart to Will Smith’s Salieri.
MR. MAGORIUM’S WONDER EMPORIUM – Dustin Hoffman assumes one of his trademark painful overly-studied affected voices for this CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY type movie filled with magic for the whole family… if the family is Ned Flanders’.
STEPHEN KING’S THE MIST – People face the sheer terror of their glasses fogging up.
CASSANDRA’S DREAM – Woody Allen’s 38th film. Hopefully his 15th good one.
I’M NOT THERE – A Bob Dylan biopic but with a twist. Several different people portray him, including Heath Ledger (okay), Christian Bale (okay I guess), Cate Blanchett (a bit of a stretch), and Richard Gere (WHAT??!).
ACROSS THE UNIVERSE – Innovate director, Julie Taymor’s surreal musical with Evan Rachel Wood and Jim Sturgess as two lovers who travel from the 40’s to the 60’s. At first blush, MOULIN ROUGE with hippies but the music is all Beatles so I’ll be seeing it.
Tomorrow: the final installment. Not to give anything away but Alvin and the Chipmunks are back.