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I Can’t Believe it’s on YouTube! Cadillac Desert

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Jon H. Else’s CADILLAC DESERT

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Part I

Recently, I revisited Roman Polanski’s film CHINATOWN. I was curious about the California history behind the film and stumbled upon an incredible YouTube find, CADILLAC DESERT, based on Marc Reisner’s book, “CADILLAC DESERT: The American West and its Disappearing Water”.


Part II

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The Story: Directed by Jon H. Else, this four-part American documentary delves into how we’ve transformed the arid deserts of the American West into agricultural Edens. Beginning with LA Water Dept. Chief, William Mulholland, natural lakes and rivers in the American West were redirected and damned, counties redistricted, and entire communities pushed over the cliff of extinction.


Part III

The documentary left me wondering if any river remains in the world whose flow is not controlled by a push of a button in a dam control tower somewhere. I may not go to sleep tonight knowing there must be dozens more Mulhollands, Eatons, and shady Capitalists running in the background, certainly enough incestuous greed to make for many more Chinatown films.

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After watching CADILLAC DESERT, it’s clear California, Arizona, and New Mexico are marginal environments that are not suitable to support the large populations we now “enjoy” (yuck). Summer 2015, NASA scientists revealed California is experiencing the worst drought in 1,200 years. Surface reservoirs have about one year’s supply left. And the snow-pack in the Sierra Nevada mountains which we rely on to replenish our reservoirs? Let’s just say don’t plan a ski trip anytime soon.


Part IV

Why watch CADILLAC DESERT?

First there was CHINATOWN, and now it’s looking like the entire Western United States is gonna be a goddamn pu-pu platter. Here’s your chance to see how it all began; I can’t believe it’s on YouTube.


Part V


Part VI


Part VII


Part VIII


Part IX

Written by Mich Medvedoff

I Can’t Believe it’s on YouTube – Real Men

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I Can’t Believe It’s On YouTube! REAL MEN

Story: An ordinary father is recruited by a government agent to negotiate with extra terrestrials.

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Why You Should See It: This is not only one of the weirdest movies I’ve even seen made by a studio, but it is also never spoken about. Even in a bad way. I’ve probably had a conversation about every movie I’ve ever seen except for “Real Men.”

John Ritter is at the top of his game with his trademark incredulous expressions, playing a Dad who is pushed over in every imaginable way. His neighbors steal his son’s bike. His wife is sleeping with the milk man. Nobody respects this guy, not even himself.

James Belushi is also at his height, with excellent comic timing, no matter how bizarre the movie gets. He’s not annoying like he can be. He is appointed the impossible task of building Ritter’s confidence in less than a week, before the big alien negotiation.

Don’t ask me why Ritter has to be the guy to talk to the aliens. This is an 80s film. Everyone was likely coked out of their minds when they engaged in this super odd production. Although its supposed to be funny, it’s actually not. It’s just plain weird. Even though the body count is high (people drop dead relentlessly), “Real Men” maintains a lighthearted touch. This film is so uneven, baffling, and dreamlike, it reminds me of a Hong Kong film or even a Stephen Chow film.

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When I was a depressed teenager, I would catch “Real Men” on cable and my mood would change. I’d feel like life was worth living, at least for another day. That, I can’t explain either. The movie just made me feel good.

The lesson to learn from “Real Mean” is that EVERY MOVIE is weird. “Real Men” just acknowledges its own “weirdness” generally through Ritter, who appears like a man who walked inside a movie and has no idea what’s going on. But if you study any film closely, they’re all this bizarre and dream-like. The great ones are just good at hiding it. I Can’t Believe It’s On YouTube.


Written by: Norith Soth

I Can’t Believe it’s on YouTube – The Third Generation

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Story: A group of bored rich folks decide to become… terrorists. Just for the hell of it.

Why You Should See It: The opening credits. Let’s face it, who has handled prologues with more style than Rainer Werner Fassbinder. Perhaps only Gaspar Noe has topped the German bette noire with “Enter the Void.” While one can argue that the opening credits is ultimately overrated (the reason why Woody Allen only shows white font over black cards), you simply can’t imagine a Fassbinder movie without his electric openings. It would be like eating at a great restaurant without hearing the wonderful specials from the waiter.

And boy does “The Third Generation” opening set up the experience you are about to endure. The dark political comedy about the rise and fall of a terrorist group is not something that would be made today. Although “Network” which came out around the same time (and “Fight Club” decades later) explored similar ideas, it was Fassbinder who had the balls to make one of the first comedies about terrorism. And yes, it did require balls… when it came out, a projectionist was beaten unconscious and an angry mob threw acid at the screen, and then, the movie sort of vanished until the VHS era.

Love or hate this film, you won’t deny it is well hung. Unafraid, mentally bulldozing and containing more irony than spinach and kale combined, this is a film with a bitter taste in its mouth, a flavor you might have found distasteful as a child but pleasant as an adult.

Imagine one of Godard through the lens of Alan J. Pakula and you have the “The Third Generation.” If you need another reason to watch this flick, Eddie Constantine is brought back from the recycling bin, to star in this arguable sequel to “Alphaville.” If this movie pisses you off, I absolutely do not recommend throwing acid on your laptop or tablet. I Can’t Believe It’s On YouTube.



Written by: Norith Soth

I Can’t Believe It’s on YouTube – TO LIVE

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Story: A man loses everything to his gambling addiction and becomes a puppeteer… during the Chinese Cultural Revolution.



Why You Should See It:
When a director has a great string of movies, its usually the result of a great collaboration with his muse, and in cinema, that’s 99% of the time, the star. Somehow, the flesh and blood, face, body, voice channels said director’s point of view, philosophy, sense of humor and basically… all fibers. Somehow actor and director are in synch in every way. Becoming each other’s instruments of expression. Unlike many films today, you just can’t imagine extracting one from the process.

Well known examples include Scorsese / De Niro (imagine Raging Bull or Taxi Driver without either) and Frank Capra / Jimmy Stewart (imagine It’s A Wonderful Life without either). Lesser known ones include John Hughes/John Candy (Planes, Trains and Automobiles, Uncle Buck), Lina Wertmuller/Giancarlo Giannini (Seduction of Mimi, Swept Away, Seven Beauties) and Zhang Yimou/Gong Li (Raise the Red Lantern, Ju Dou, the Story of Qui Ju). Zimou and Li were married like Judd Apatow and Leslie Mann are today and the couple brought the best out of each other.

Their marriage eventually ended, and although Zimou continued to make interesting films, he never quite harnessed the same greatness again without Gong Li. They were so good that you expected a masterpiece from them every couple years. “To Live” is not their best film, which is incredible, because it’s a such a damn good movie.

This truly epic picture (we’re talking thousands of extras) is not only worthy of David Lean or Sergio Leone, but it’s also full of feeling and agony like a De Sica movie. The real epic is what this director and actor extracted from each other, managing laughters, tears and just… awe from the audience. “To Live” would be their last truly good movie before all the juice was squeezed out of them. They would make one more film (the uneven “Shanghai Triad”) before they divorced only to reunite sporadically with a couple efforts (“Curse of the Golden Flower” and “Coming Home”), much like Simon & Garfunkel would sometimes reunite for a concert, making “To Live” Yimou & Li’s “Bridge Over Troubled Waters.” I Can’t Believe It’s On YouTube.

Written by: Norith Soth

My Favorite Stereotype – The Magical Negro

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DISCLAIMER: Only if you’ve ever wronged a black character in your writing does this apply to you. If you’ve never stereotyped a black character, meaning made a black character a criminal without serving the plot, made a black character poor for no reason or killed a black character (usually the first and most memorable death in your script), etc, then you should go on with your day and read the next Donald Trump headline. This is not for you.

Let’s say you want to make movies but you have one problem. You don’t like black people. Hollywood is a liberal haven and does not tolerate prejudice of any kind. At the same time, the studios are terrified of controversial material in an increasingly conservative time, where every movie has to pander to a global audience. The image of the studio must be as squeaky clean as the movies they make. In other words, you have to demonstrate that you, a future studio employee, will play ball with this kumbaya program. You like everyone. Everyone likes you. And thus, you cannot escape writing at least one black character to get in Hollywood’s door. This is when its time to channel…

THE MAGICAL NEGRO

The term, coined by Spike Lee, represents the necessary black character in films who does the opposite of what a black stereotype does. For example, instead of a criminal, the black guy becomes now a cop or a judge or even a mayor (in some cases, the President of the United States). It’s actually very easy to employ the “Magical Negro.”

Your “Magical Negro” is such an innocent and harmless archetype, if you feign,”no, that’s not a Magical Negro, that’s a black judge. I’ve met them before, they exist,” people MUST believe you. In most cases, no one will even confront you about it.

So, here are the rules of how to apply this truly magical formula to deter people from you secret distrust toward the darker skinned peeps of the world.

1. CHOOSE A RESPECTABLE CAREER

Remember that your “Magical Negro” is there to serve your white protagonist. So don’t get upset that you have to make him a cop or judge, or even the boss of the white character… just remember he does, in the end, exist to serve. So convert your black pimp, criminal, basketball player into a respectable citizen. Anyone else in your script, probably. It doesn’t have to be a high caliber job, it could be a teacher or a preacher. It really must be a pre-existing character in your script. Just pick a character and make him black and you’re good. And what do you do with the criminal, you flip that into a white guy. If all your characters are criminals, make your “Magical Negro” a leader type, or make him “smart” or make him actually “magical” (like in “The Green Mile”).

2. MAKE HIM ELOQUENT (OR AT LEAST FUNNY)

Remember that black pimp that you had killed in the first 15 pages of your script. He wasn’t too smart. That’s why he was shot. Well, now that pimp is white. And your white detective’s partner is now a black guy. Your “Magical Negro” won’t save the day or make decisions, but he will give incredible advice. That is his job. He will save your white hero (like Cuba Gooding Jr. in “Jerry Maguire” or Samuel L.Jackson in “Die Hard With a Vengeance”). Another great benefit to making him your white hero’s friend is, no one can accuse your white hero of being racist (like Mel Gibson in “Lethal Weapon” for instance). Quentin Tarantino even made a cameo in “Pulp Fiction”, where he said the word “nigger” about a dozen times. He got away with it because he gave Samuel L. Jackson so many juicy lines. Tarantino made Jackson eloquent, savvy and funny. Do the same and see what you can get away with.

3. LIMIT YOUR MAGICAL NEGROES

The last thing you want is a movie full of “Magical Negroes.” That would then be too obvious and also you’ll have a really difficult time raising money (since most movie stars are white). Unless, you’re making the black “Lord of the Rings”, your script could look a little inauthentic and also scary.

The great thing about your “Magical Negro” is that… he is “Magical.” You don’t need more than one or it would be overkill. The magic is so intense from having employed one, you can now make the other black characters as stereotypical as you want. Just look at Brian De Palma’s “Dressed to Kill.” Nancy Allen is threatened and chased by a group of black thugs. But when she arrives in the subway car, a black cop is waiting in the car to save the day. Ta-da! You see how that works? In “Pulp Fiction,” Jackson is so awesome, wise and basically the guy you want to be, that Ving Raimes gets raped by white supremacists and that guy Marvin gets his head blown off, and I mean decapitated… and everyone is cool with that. See how that works?

4. MAKE THE PARTNERS BLACK (AND THUS, AN EXTENSION)

If your “Magical Negro” has a spouse or partner, its probably best to make them black too. The great thing about the “Magical Negro”‘s partner is, you can make them wise also. Take for example, Danny Glover’s wife in “Lethal Weapon.” She gives great advice that helps Danny eventually give great advice to Mel. See how that works? I’m sure you’ve seen this many times but didn’t even realize it. That’s because it’s magic, yo. Whatever you do, don’t make the spouse white. That would be suicide. Not only controversial, since you can’t have a Magical Caucasian… especially since they’re all magical.

5. DENY, DENY, DENY

Although you know you’ve employed the “Magical Negro,” your character does not ever know. He thinks he’s really smart and wise and experienced and skilled. Maybe that makes him naive, but you never hint that he is in that screenplay to serve your white protagonist. Your “Magical Negro” is living in a world of his own. In some cases, he is even narrating the story (like in “Shawshank Redemption” and “The Bucket List”).

That’s right, your “Magical Negro” thinks this movie is about him! He’s so busy working on new skills and discipline and whatever that the guy has no idea he’s serving the white protagonist. It doesn’t even matter if he’s in just a few scenes (“The Fifth Element” or “Deep Impact”). “Magical Negroes” are the hero in their own movies. Never forget that. If people ask you, you deny. And while you write your “Magical Negro” you also deny him awareness of what he is. That is really how you create him.

So there you have it. Never be accused of racism again. Apply those five steps and no one will ever know you’re uncomfortable around black people. The best part is, your aggression will come off anyway (for example, the sidekick in “Showgirls” and Craig Robinson in “Hot Tub Time Machine 2” both get raped). And you can feign as much innocence as your “Magical Negro” if/when you are ever confronted. “Craig Robinson gets the funniest moments” or “the sidekick in Showgirls is the innocent one, that’s why the violation is so hard to watch. Her being black has nothing to do with what happens to her.” And so on and so forth.

Of course, the best reply is, “this black cop is based on a real guy, someone I really look up to and I wanted to put him in a movie as a legacy.” Meanwhile, your white drug dealer is the real hero. See how that works? Magic.

Written by: Norith Soth

Writing Tips to Trick Out Your Script #13 – Oralize

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The legendary Paul Schrader says that he does not write his screenplay until he can say it out loud for 40 minutes to a captive audience. That’s how he knows he has a screenplay, if he can sustain 40 minutes of narration. I have never practiced this and as writers go, the last thing you want to do is meet a bunch of people and talk your 120 pages. It sounds like a complete nightmare, right?

But in actuality, a screenplay is written to be said aloud. It is after all, the blueprint to a movie. And in a movie, there is dialogue, expressed by actors. So you see, your screenplay was never meant to be hidden in the privacy of your mind. Your dialogue was meant to be spoken. And heard. And if you never hear it, you may never be able to judge properly if what should be there or not. Learn how to…

ORALIZE

A painter studies his canvass by renting a loft with lots of space so he can stand back and see the whole picture. A singer can study her music by hearing her songs played back to her. But a screenwriter, he usually assesses how effective his pages are by reading it, over and over again in his mind. Only one of these scenarios is NOT shared by the audience. The screenwriter’s. A painter sees his painting the way museum visitors see it. A singer hears her songs played the way her fans would hear it. But a screenwriter rarely hears it out loud.

How much more would the screenwriter understand if he heard his words spoken out loud. I discovered recently reading to my newborn. As a way to take care of my own professional needs and tend to the offspring, I often read OUT LOUD to him screenplays, including my own pages. And something happens when you hear it, even if its badly performed (in my case, 100% badly performed). You’re seeing the dialogue tested in reality for the first time and you instantly know if it works or doesn’t. It is so magical, its amazing screenwriters don’t use this FREE tool more frequently.

I’m going to list 3 ways you can ORALIZE.

1) THE TABLE READ… Invite your friends over to read your script. Cook them dinner. Get them drunk. But definitely give them the privilege to read your script. They will do it. People not in the film business love to read screenplays. It’s exotic to them. What works and what doesn’t work will become as clear as day, I promise you. You will cringe, but you will also have moments of pride. It will help you take your script to the next level.

2) THE NARCISSISTIC READ… In this day in age, we have all some kind of recording device. And who wants to invite a bunch of people to your house anyway? You haven’t sold that big screenplay, what makes these people think you can buy them dinner. This is when you use your recording device, smartphone, tablet, to RECORD your own reading of your entire screenplay. You can play this back to yourself in any circumstance… waiting in line to pay bills, the post office, the DMV. What you will hear are very clear flaws in your script that you are, by now, thanking your lucky stars that only YOU HEARD. You know exactly what to fix.

3) THE BLUNT READ… okay, forget recording yourself. You’ve been working on the same scene for 3 weeks. You have no idea if it works or not. You’ve rewritten it umpteenth amounts of time. The only thing you haven’t tried is reading it OUT LOUD. Do it right now. This very second. In your own space? What just happened? Did everyone at Starbucks just pivot to you and think you’re losing your mind? No, because you probably whispered it if you’re in a public space. This is what happened. That beautiful dialogue you wrote suddenly makes you feel ashamed of yourself. Those extra adjectives in your action stick out like weeds. The name of that character sounds stupid. BUT… now you know exactly what to fix to make this scene work.

And if you can’t bring yourself to do any of these, try the SCHRADER READ, as described above. The point to this technique is that you’ve had it all wrong about screenplays. They’re oral, not literally. ORAL. And the sooner you treat them that way, the better you will write. It’s no accident that many great screenwriters are also actors. Orson Welles, Woody Allen, Sylvester Stallone, John Cassavettes… and William Shakespeare (enough of his plays have been converted for Willy to be considered a screenwriter). These guys had the greatest screenwriting tool available to them, they could act out their own writing… and well… to test out their script.

Apparently, Quentin Tarantino (who originally aspired to be an actor, not a director) read most of “Pulp Fiction” to Stacy Sherr from various pay phones while traveling in Europe. That’s how he knew he had something great in his hands.

For more Writing Tips, X marks the spot.

Written by: Norith Soth

Breaches of Reality – TOO BIG TO FAIL

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Like athletes, it’s extremely rare for movie directors to go out like a champ. In auteur parlance, that means, directing a great film as your last film… a film equal or greater than the films you are capable of making.

I would categorize “Eyes Wide Shut,” “Imitation of Life,” and, although John Cassavettes directed the rarely seen “Big Trouble” his last movie, history mercifully ignores it in favor of Cassavettes’ masterpiece “Love Streams.” Let’s give big John that.

Curtis Hanson, who passed away last year, should be afforded the same honor. His last movie is “Chasing Mavericks” which was co-directed with Michael Apted, while the last film he directed on his own, “Too Big To Fail” is an HBO movie about the financial collapse through the eyes of Hank Paulson (brilliantly played by William Hurt, who hasn’t been this good in decades… I mean, you actually root for Paulson, which is an achievement). For a film about the financial sector, this movie unravels like a Hitchcockian thriller.

Unfolding like a train wreck no one can do anything about, this is “The Big Short” before “The Big Short.” A double feature of both films would make people slit their wrist in the theater (razor blades could come with the price of a ticket). Hanson directed the shit out of this movie… except for one little yet big thing.

Paul Giamatti’s beard. Mr. Sideways plays Ben Bernake and I understand he has to look like him and talk like him, but come on. Look at the beard and tell me it doesn’t take you out of the movie! I just want to rip it off his face and dip it in his oatmeal (which Giamatti eats in every scene). While the faux facial hair does not ruin the movie (since Bernake is only a small portion of the movie), you simply can’t forget it.

On the one hand, you’re like, “man, the financial system is going to collapse again any day now” but then you’re bailed out of that fear by thinking, “I understand why Robert DeNiro gained 40 lbs for Raging Bull. He’s a great actor and couldn’t risk anything looking fake. Because that shit on Paul Giamatti’s face, that’s DeNiro’s worse fear. That is one furry breach of reality.”

Written by: Norith Soth

Kill Your Babies – Stanley Kubrick

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To become a great screenwriter, you must… Kill Your Babies!

Think you have what it takes to be a great screenwriter? Are you cold blooded? Do you take your coffee black? Do you kill babies? You know, that amazing scene in your screenplay that serves no purpose, except to demonstrate your amazing wit?

Newsflash. That dialogue doesn’t need to be there. Remember the greatest AI ever written, HAL 9000 from the masterpiece, 2001: A Space Odyssey? Remember how charming HAL was? Well, he was ever more charming in an earlier draft. HAL was aggressive, confrontational, and even egocentric.

After incorrectly announcing to his crew that a part was broken… twice, HAL still remains adamant that he’s God’s gift to man. Check out this chilling exchange.

HAL I’m not questioning your word, Dave, but it’s just not possible. I’m not capable of being wrong.

BOWMAN Hal, is there anything bothering you? Anything that might account for this problem?

HAL Look, Dave, I know that you’re sincere and that you’re trying to do a competent job, and that you’re trying to be helpful, but I can assure you the problem is with the AO-units, and with your test gear.

BOWMAN Okay, Hal, well let’s see the way things go from here on.

HAL I’m sorry you feel the way you do, Dave. If you’d like to check my service record, you’ll see it’s completely without error.

BOWMAN I know all about your service record, Hal, but unfortunately it doesn’t prove that you’re right now.

HAL Dave, I don’t know how else to put this, but it just happens to be an unalterable fact that I am incapable of being wrong.

Love it. Check my service record. I’m incapable of being wrong. On second thought, it sounds like most people I know.

Anyway, later on HAL is vindicated and our favorite AI doesn’t shy away from rubbing it in his colleague’s faces. He even fights for his self-preservation, employing zero subtlety about what a supremely awesome being he is.

POOLE Hal was right all the time.

BOWMAN It seems that way.

HAL Naturally, Dave, I’m not pleased that the AO-unit has failed, but I hope at least this has restored your confidence in my integrity and reliability. I certainly wouldn’t want to be disconnected, even temporarily, as I have never been disconnected in my entire service history.

BOWMAN I’m sorry about the misunderstanding, Hal.

HAL Well, don’t worry about it.

BOWMAN And don’t you worry about it.

HAL Is your confidence in me fully restored?

BOWMAN Yes, it is, Hal.

HAL Well, that’s a relief. You know I have the greatest enthusiasm possible for the mission.

I have never been disconnected in my entire service history. Can you imagine that on his resume? Later on, HAL goes nuts and kills almost the entire crew.

His reaction is written with more sarcasm than what was filmed. Check out this very heated exchange between man and machine that could’ve taken place in that office in “Glengarry Glen Ross.” HAL just put a cap in FRANK’s ass. Check out what he says next:

HAL Too bad about Frank, isn’t it?

BOWMAN Yes, it is.

HAL I suppose you’re pretty broken up about it?

BOWMAN Yes. I am.

HAL He was an excellent crew member. It’s a bad break, but it won’t substantially affect the mission.

BOWMAN Hal, give me manual hibernation control.

HAL Have you decided to revive the rest of the crew, Dave?

BOWMAN Yes, I have.

HAL I suppose it’s because you’ve been under a lot of stress, but have you forgotten that they’re not supposed to be revived for another three months.

BOWMAN The antenna has to be replaced.

HAL Repairing the antenna is a pretty dangerous operation.

BOWMAN It doesn’t have to be, Hal. It’s more dangerous to be out of touch with Earth. Let me have manual control, please.

HAL I don’t really agree with you, Dave. My on-board memory store is more than capable of handling all the mission requirements.

BOWMAN Well, in any event, give me the manual hibernation control.

HAL If you’re determined to revive the crew now, I can handle the whole thing myself. There’s no need for you to trouble.

BOWMAN I’m going to do this myself, Hal. Let me have the control, please.

HAL Look, Dave you’ve probably got a lot to do. I suggest you leave it to me.

BOWMAN Hal, switch to manual hibernation control.

HAL I don’t like to assert myself, Dave, but it would be much better now for you to rest. You’ve been involved in a very stressful situation.

BOWMAN I don’t feel like resting. Give me the control, Hal.

HAL I can tell from the tone of your voice, Dave, that you’re upset. Why don’t you take a stress pill and get some rest.

BOWMAN
Hal, I’m in command of this ship. I order you to release the manual hibernation control.

HAL I’m sorry, Dave, but in accordance with sub-routine C1532/4, quote, When the crew are dead or incapacitated, the computer must assume control, unquote. I must, therefore, override your authority now since you are not in any condition to intelligently exercise it.

BOWMAN
Hal, unless you follow my instructions, I shall be forced to disconnect you.

HAL If you do that now without Earth contact the ship will become a helpless derelict.

BOWMAN
I am prepared to do that anyway.

HAL I know that you’ve had that on your mind for some time now, Dave, but it would be a crying shame, since I am so much more capable of carrying out this mission than you are, and I have such enthusiasm and confidence in the mission.

BOWMAN Listen to me very carefully, Hal. Unless you immediately release the hibernation control and follow every order I give from this point on, I will immediately go to control central and carry out a complete disconnection.

HAL Look, Dave, you’re certainly the boss. I was only trying to do what I thought best. I will follow all your orders: now you have manual hibernation control.

I just love this guy. Look how fast he switches from, “I’m so much better than you” to “hey, you’re the boss.” So why was most of this juicy dialogue erased from the final hard drive? Because Kubrick needed to give HAL something all modern human beings are infected with? Passive-aggressive behavior.

While a normal person would have fallen in love with himself for writing these three scenes, Kubrick understood that this amazing dialogue would imbalance the movie.

The big picture was to create the greatest sci-film ever made… and that’s pretty much what he accomplished, taking home an Oscar for his efforts in 1969 and influencing all sci-fi films forever (most recently, Ex-Machina). Like HAL 9000, in order to complete the mission, you must never hesitate in… Killing Your Babies!

Written by: Norith Soth

I Can’t Believe It’s on YouTube – Schizopolis

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A movie, an experience, an auteur gag reel, a reverse Citizen Kane meets Godard meets Steven Soderbergh… meaning, yes, perhaps the only movie where a director pays homage to himself (and if you happen to find the DVD, I beg you to listen to amazing commentary wherein Steven Soderbergh interviews himself as two separate personalities).

So, what the fuck is “Schizopolis”?

a) The only movie to be the second first movie a director has ever made.

b) A mirror gazing back at the film director’s titanic ego, circa 1990s.

c) A horrible, unwatchable, experimental accident of a motion picture.

d) The masterpiece that saved Steven Soderbergh’s career.

e) The movie that ended Steven Soderbergh’s career.

f) All of the above.

Find out for yourself. Before I can no longer say, “I Can’t Believe It’s on YouTube!”

Written by: Norith Soth

Book Review – The Art of Seduction

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For the first time, I’m recommending a non-film book as a book that anyone trying to break into the film industry should read. Like now. Robert Greene, the 48 Laws of Power maestro, a man who for years tried to break into Hollywood as a screenwriter, authored this book about seducing.

If you were to grab this at the book store or library, you may misunderstand it as a how to get laid pamphlet. It is that, but it’s so much more.

As a young man, I used to go to meetings thinking, what can this person do for my career. I had it all wrong. The way to succeed in Hollywood falls on the old law of supply and demand. You find out what they want and you provide it. You figure where there’s a need and you provide it. If you’re very powerful, you create a need… and you fill it. It is counter to how many of us narcissistic folks think. You have to think, how can I give them what they want. Whether its a studio executive you’re meeting, a director you admire or the audience you’re writing for.

This is, after all, the entertainment industry.

Forget Hitchcock-Truffaut, Adventures in the Screen Trade or Easy Riders, Raging Bulls… you’ll learn much more reading The Art of Seduction which breaks down Seducing types, victims, and even anti-seducers.

Since you were an infant, you were seduced by your parents and you had to learn how to seduce them or face darkness and hunger. That hasn’t stopped. The parents have only changed roles, now in the form of the power elite of Hollywood. I recommend not even reading this book, but getting the audio version and listening to it until you’re blue in the face. The knowledge you’ll absorb will be priceless. Even after having read this book twice, I still had problems extracting its lessons. I had to start listening to it in my car, at the post office, in line at the bank, supermarket, literally any time there was down time. I now see Hollywood completely differently. I now see myself completely differently. I wish I started this new state earlier, in which I enter a room focused on what I can provide for others. You want to penetrate the fortress of Hollywood, trust me, learn this shit by heart.


Written by: Norith Soth

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