Saturday, December 29, 2007

Home again, naturally

I'm back in LA. Yay! I love North Carolina and I love my family but it gets really boring really quick over there. Give me my smog-filled, earthquake-riddled land any day.

I sat next to two guys on the airplane who talked. One was another writer, so that was cool. The other was a flustered Biblical studies major/actor who over enunciated every word and was way out of his league in the Shakespeare discussion and somehow thinks having a bazillion dollar acting degree from a university in Colorado that he has to break his back to get into is more useful than taking inexpensive acting classes with working performers here in LA. I'm a big proponent of continuing education, but sometimes I think people go for the degree just to say they got it.

That was pretty awesome, though, having a philosophical discussion about Shakespeare with two dudes I just met on a plane.

Being in NC didn't really feel like a vacation because every waking moment was taken up by Mom's plans except for the one night I got to spend with a friend.

Now that I'm back in LA, though, I have a few days before the new semester starts and I have to break in a new batch of kids who don't know about my sarcasm and tendency to threaten violence to any child who talks while I'm trying to explain how awesome Hamlet is.

In the meantime I want to watch some movies. I have some ancient Blockbuster gift cards that may or may not be any good and I'm going to walk up to Larchmont and get a couple of films. Then I'm going to relax and have a drink and watch movies all night with the cat who has been so lonely and has really been looking forward to the quality time.

He may or may not have had a cat party while I was gone. I swear I had more catnip before I left.

At any rate, plead the case for your favorite DVD. What should I rent?


  1. The Great Escape.

    Two words: Steve McfuckingQueen

    Two more words: tunnel diggin'

  2. Glad to hear you had an interesting incident on the plane ride home.

    Totaly wierd, I just rented 3 videos this weekend to "catch-up" on some movies of '07 I missed: "Rush Hour: 3," Eastern Promises," and "Once." Watched "Rush Hour 3" last night, Chris Tucker was funny at first, but this film really peters out mid act II to the end. I can't recommend that one.

    If I were you, Emily, I would rent the movie, "While You Were Sleeping" (Sandra Bullock/Bill Pullman) It's a rom-com based in my old hometown of Chicago, Illinois, and it has a strong Christmas / New Years vibe to it, which might just help you get into the spirit of the season.

    When "While You Were Sleeping" came out I went back to the theatre in Boise, Idaho to watch it like 5 times. This is the film that really hooked me into loving the rom-com genre.

    - E.C. Henry from Bonney Lake, WA

  3. Anonymous9:09 PM

    How do you feel about Letterman's writers being able to go back to work? It almost does not seem fair that they can write, but first-time writers trying to sell their first scripts are denied.

  4. Anonymous12:16 AM

    Ratcatcher by Lynne Ramsay (great to study character)

    Last Night by Don McKellar (end of the world done right)

    Good Bye Lenin! (amusing little film)

    Withnail And I (for a good laugh)

    The Piano Teacher by Michael Haneke (a good mindfuck)

    The Remains of the Day (if you feel like a period piece)

    We Don't Live Here Anymore (ensemble drama with plenty of sex and deceit)

    It's All Gone Pete Tong (about a deaf DJ)

    I'm going to watch 'Grey Gardens' now.

    let us know what you choose to rent.

  5. I haven't rented anything yet. I'll probably do that tomorrow when I'm out and about.

    I think the Letterman thing is great. If one individual production company breaks from the AMPTP to deal with writers and succeeds as a result, others will follow and the strike will be over sooner and we can all benefit not only from having those jobs available, but having the benefits to go with them.

    I would not want to break in with a script now and be pissed that I didn't have my residuals later.

  6. I just saw a trailer for "Dreamland" and it looked awesome - 2006, was at Sundance.

    One of my faves for telling a war story is "The Beast" starring Jason Patric. Imagine a Vietnam film, but it's set in Russia's Vietnam: Afghanistan during the occupation.

    "Eastern Promises" was good, though not if you're squeamish - my date was, and she ducked into my shoulder more than once.

    I caught "Live and Let Die" on cable a few nights back. It was fun to watch just for the old school cars and the undercooked blaxsploitation. I liked Roger Moore as a kid watching Bond, but he's got the be the worst of the lot - he's not awful, but the others were so much better.

  7. Oh, Live and Let Die is the worst Bond film ever made.

    Ever black person in that movie is either Uncle Remus or Shaft.

    Even Jane Seymmour and a cool themes song couldn't save that horrid film.

  8. I'd put pretty much every Brosnan Bond at the bottom of any list and then work forward.

    "ICK" with a capital "PEE-YEEW".

    Estelle Gettys was a more serious threat to kick buuut in STOP OR MY MOM WILL NAP (whatever).

    Great Escape? Why rent when you can OWN?

    Also fun to re-visit RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK and pay attention to the piece as a writer. Not a wasted moment. Great stuff.

  9. It's true that every aspiring screenwriter should study Lawrence Kasdan. The man knows his craft.

  10. Okay, I'm a big Mamet fan, so I tend push his stuff on people, so I recommend:

    Edmond which stars Bill Macy and that leads me to:

    Panic (also a stars Macy) and then there's:

    Once Just because it's a really good film (from an equally really good script)

  11. PS:

    Didn't want to mislead you, "Panic" isn't a Mamet film, it's a Henry Bromell film (Chicago Hope, Northern Exposure, Homicide, etc), writer and director, and it's a very underrated film...Macy does star, as does Donald Sutherland, Tracey Ullman, Neve Cambell, John Ritter, and the much overlooked Barbara Bain (she of Mission Impossible TV fame), et al.

    It's a damn good film.

  12. I enjoyed everybody's suggestions, but when I got to Blockbuster they just had so many movies I want to see. I did grab The Lookout, but I also got Knocked Up, the new Harry Potter and The Bourne Ultimatum.

    I just felt like watching some fun stuff while drinking beer and eating pizza.

    I wanted to get Eastern Promises but they didn't have it.

  13. Em, if you thought "Live and Let Die" was bad, then you haven't seen "A View to a Kill" the one with Grace Jones and Chris Walken as villians. The theme song was probably the best part of the movie, and perhaps the only really good part. I can see there was a reason it was Moore's last Bond film. Tanya Roberts was the female love interest, and I was at one point actually rooting for her to die, already! I saw it when it was in theaters back in '85, and perhaps it's improved with age, but I'm inclined to doubt it.

  14. Oh I've seen all the Bond films several times. I stand by my decision.

    My favorite is The Spy Who Loved Me. I also Like Diamonds Are Forever.

  15. Meh.

    YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE is likely my fave Bond film, and a big part is one specific long tracking shot where we watch Connery flee from *and* subdue something like a dozen armed Japanese dockworkers.

    Plus, I mean, come on -- a hidden pirate space rocket base inside a volcano, where Donald Pleasance in a nehru jacket cuddles a white Persian kitty and is defended from rocket-gun-toting ninjas by an oversized Teutonic bodyguard AND a moat filled with frickin piranhas?

    We have found THE MOTHER OF ALL CLICHES!

    Also, another great theme song from John Barry.



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