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Sunday, September 30, 2007

Fugghedaboudit

Courtesy of WC Dixon's blog, this great little clip requires no fuckin' introduction.


Friday, September 28, 2007

How Cool Is the Coen Bros Movie Poster...

Hanging Ten (PM)

I am hanging in there today. Got a message from J, just saying hi. She thanked me yet again for taking her to the event. She was working and snuck out to send me a little message before heading back to work.

I feel a little like Ive turned the corner, but not entirely. I feel like I am on the rod to disconnection which, again, is something I view with some degree (not a small degree) of ambivalence. I need to do it, for my well-being. But I don’t totally want to do it. I want to hold on to my hope, instead of dashing it against the rocks. Unfortunately, the rocks are probably where my hope belongs. Bottoms up.

Going sailing tomorrow, which I love. With Dave, and my friends Mari and Lalika. I probably wont see them until I get back (though Mari heads to LA occasionally) and these three are good friends. David is my best friend. Mari and Lalli are new friends, but wonderful and caring and terrific and fun, and I’ll miss them whilst I am in LA. Sailing is a nice way to get together before I leave. Weather is supposed to be nice – should be a good time.

I know that this isn’t the normal nature of my writing. I am usually snide and obnoxious, and lest you worry, be reassured that in person, I really still am. In person. Im just a schmoopy fool this week on my blog.

Grumps

Thursday, September 27, 2007

On the way out

Saw a friend last nite – went to a little gathering. It was ok. Not the best party. Thats not waht I want to talk about anyway.

Its more personal than that. This friend, lets call her J – hiding behind the fact that there are plenty of J names for women. J and I have something that is, or has been, at times, more than friendship. I feel for her more than friendship. She, well, she’s felt more than friendship at times, but for her, its best for us to be friends. That’s what she wants. We’ve talked it to death.

Problem is, well, me. I have plenty of friends. I don’t have plenty of women, over the last five years, that I feel for more than just friendship. I don’t know why its so rare now. Its been maybe a handful of times since my last serious relationships (I honestly cannot remember another time). Maybe I am more guarded than most people, maybe the Jeanne relationship was more impactful, even today, then I recognize.

Im going to California for a few months, maybe two? And so it was a good bye for J and I. Or at least so long. Seems like that there isn’t that much to say about this, as its not going anywhere further (maybe someday, she’s said, when she is ready for a “relationship” guy, which is the way I am viewed- she isn’t ready for that given her recent past – nonetheless, I take that all with some degree of skepticism, really, I do, really).

I feel pretty awful at the moment. I don’t have a reason, I haven’t lost anything perhaps. Maybe just some glimmer of hope, the hope that I have the capacity to feel this way as a person still.

Going to California is a clean way to cut off these feelings I have for J. That may help me feel better for the meantime. But then, having cut them off, having suffocated them like I’ve been telling myself to do for the last month, what will I have achieved. It will be to have snuffed out one of the few connections I have had to an emotional connection to another person, to a women, in years. And that makes the prospect of feeling better feel less better.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Going back to Cali, to Cali, to Cali (did I already use this title) - II (Ok?)

I am headed back to LA for a month or more, most likely, on Monday. Back to my LA hovel after a few months of relative comfort in NYC since early July. Slaughter rampin' up, and I need to be out there. So I am booked and on a plane on Monday afternoon. Coolio - kinda, it is what it is (but what is that).

Probably a good and bad time for me to be heading out. I need to clear my head of some personal issues - some disgruntled romanticism that has had me somewhat distracted. A situation. An enticement. Something that isnt gonna go anywhere, at least anytime soon, and soooooo, its much better to be out of sight, out of mind.

Spearheaded by the need to move on, I actually have been dating some. Im so friggin' monogamous, as a general matter, that just liking a woman can often make me drop it with others if I am not feelin' it. I like to focus. But since that primary interest is going nowhere fast,seemed like a good solution and an obvious next move. So I've been on a few dates, collected a few numbers. Even a set-up - though I haven't called her yet. And now all that stuff (though its no great tragedy) will prolly have to be put on hold for a bit. A month. Thats a decent amount of time.

Call it a career. Just dont call it a life. A substitute, maybe. When did the rules of grammar disappear? Why am I asking you?

Anyway, just some ramblings for a Wednesday evening. Heading out soon. Gotta get a shower and a shave.

Later. Grumps.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

You might have seen this

I assume most ppl have seen this. After all, it has a zillion views on Youtube.



Its scary. And very popular amongst the youngsters. Its even give rise to a comedy central commerical spoof ( i think its comedy central). From none other than Seth Green, who proves he's a great actor with this bit. Quite good.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Priorities

This is a repost from Filmjerk.com. Its interesting to see what the pre-strike priorities are. There are guild strikes pending for mid-2008, and these are the films that have been earmarked for production, pre-strike, unless the strike is settled. The agencies are circulating these lists because they want to get their clients (and themselves) paid prior to the strikes, which, if they happen, will cause a cash shutdown for some period of time.

There are some big time directors on the list- interesting that this may be the best indication of what their next projects will be. The biggest directors often have a choice of what they want to work on next. In the case of Stephen Spielberg, its the Chicago 7 film. For Robert Zemeckis, a Christmas Carol. Venice (and Oscar) winner Ang Lee has Little Game. Sam Raimi is mentioned for a project for Fox Searchlight called Rabbit Hole (probably slightly lower budgeted than Spidey 3). Ron Howard- Angels and Demons. Clint - The Changeling. Robert Rodriguez, a remae of Barbarella remake (Jessica Alba, anyone?). Some directors, like Martin Campbell, Vadim Perelman, Jay Roach, have multiple projects listed.

******


A list starting circulating around the talent agencies two weeks ago, listing the 300 projects in active development which have become pre-strike priorities for the major studios and a number of top production companies. This list does not mean all of these projects will be completed before the strike date or that they will come together in time. A few titles have already started shooting, some others have set production start dates, and a couple will likely end up on somebody's Best Films Never Made list a few years down the road.

You'll also notice certain directors have their names attached to two or more projects, while a number of them have no director attached. Hell, even Hollywood pariah David O. Russell is getting a bump thanks to the strike threat. Just that these are the films these companies are putting their muscle behind, hoping to keep their distribution pipeline open and flowing in case of a work stoppage.

As of August 29, 2007, there are the main priorities for Hollywood, in case of emergency:

2929 Entertainment
BURNING PLAIN - Dir: Guillermo Arriaga
VILLAIN - Dir: Martin Campbell

BALDWIN
ATLAS SHRUGGED - Dir: Vadim Perelman
INDISCRETION - Dir: Tony Goldwyn
LUNA - Dir: Deepa Mehta

BEACON
CONFESSIONS OF AN ECONOMIC HITMAN - Dir: Kip Williams

DISNEY
ADVENTURELAND - Dir: Greg Mottola
ALICE - Dir: None attached
AMERICAN DOG (animated) - Dir: Chris Sanders
BEDTIME STORIES - Dir: Adam Shankman
BOY SOLDIER - Dir: Oliver Higschbiegel
A CHRISTMAS CAROL - Dir: Robert Zemeckis
CONFESSIONS OF A SHOPAHOLIC - Dir: PJ Hogan
DOUBT - Dir: John Patrick Shanley
ESCAPE FROM WITCH MOUNTAIN - Dir: Andy Fickman
G-FORCE (animated) - Dir: Hoyt Yeatman
HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL 3 - Dir: Kenny Ortega
JUNGLE CRUISE - Dir: None attached
LIBERTY - Dir: None attached
PRINCE OF PERSIA - Dir: None attached
PRINCESS AND THE FROG (animated) - Dir: Ron Clements and John Musker
THE PROPOSAL - Dir: Robert Luketic
SCHOOLED - Dir: Walt Becker
SNOW - Dir: Francis Lawrence

DIMENSION
CELL - Dir: Eli Roth
COMEBACK - Dir: Fred Durst
PORKY'S - Dir: None attached
SUPERHEROES - Dir: Craig Mazin
WEDDING RINGER (PREVIOUSLY GOLDEN TUX) - Dir: Lavender and Garelick
YOUTH IN REVOLT - Dir: None attached

DREAMWORKS
CAMP CREEPY TIME - Dir: None attached
DINNER FOR SCHMUCKS - Dir: Jay Roach
EAGLE EYE - Dir: DJ Caruso
GHOST TOWN - Dir: David Koepp
HOTEL FOR DOGS - Dir: Thor Freudenthal
I LOVE YOU MAN - Dir: John Hamburg
THE RIVALS - Dir: John Madden
SHE’S OUT OF MY LEAGUE - Dir: None attached
SIEGE OF FULTON AVE - Dir: None attached
THE SOLOIST (PREVIOUSLY IMAGINING BEETHOVEN) - Dir: Joe Wright
THOUSAND WORDS - Dir: None attached
TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7 - Dir: Steven Spielberg
WEDNESDAY - Dir: Juan Carlos Fresnadillo
WILL - Dir: None attached

FOCUS
THE SERIOUS MAN - Dir: Joel and Ethan Coen
CURVEBALL - Dir: None attached but looking to Josh Marston
LITTLE GAME - Dir: Ang Lee
NICK AND NORAH - Dir: Peter Sollett
MEMORY OF A KILLER - Dir: None attached
PIANO TUNER - Dir: Werner Herzog
SIN NOMBRE - Dir: Cary Fukunaga

FOX
A-TEAM - Dir: None attached
COOL SCHOOL - Dir: None attached
DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL - Dir: Scott Derrikson
FANTASTIC VOYAGE - Dir: Roland Emmerich
GULLIVERS TRAVELS - Dir: None attached
MAGNETO - Dir: David Goyer
ME TIME - Dir: None attached
RUNAWAY TRAIN - Dir: Martin Campbell
SELLING TIME - Dir: None attached
STREET FIGHTER - Dir: Andrezej Bartkowiak
THEY CAME FROM UPSTAIRS - Dir: John Schultz
TOOTH FAIRY - Dir: None attached
TROUBLE MAN (PREVIOUSLY WICHITA) - Dir: Tom Dey
USED GUYS - Dir: Jay Roach
WHAT HAPPENS IN VEGAS - Dir: Tom Vaughn
WOLVERINE - Dir: Gavin Hood

FOX ATOMIC
BRAD CUTTER RUINED MY LIFE - Dir: Ari Sandel
CAPTAIN AWESOME - Dir: None attached
DON’T SEND HELP - Dir: None attached
I LOVE YOU BETH COOPER - Dir: None attached
PLAYBOYS - Dir: Trevor Moore/Zack Creggors
SPACE INVADER - Dir: Andrew Currie
SMASH AND GRAB - Dir: None attached but looking to John Moore

FOX SEARCHLIGHT
500 DAYS OF SUMMER - Dir: Marc Webb
KIDNAP - Dir: Nate Gwaltney
NOTORIOUS - Dir: George Tillman
RABBIT HOLE - Dir: None attached but looking to Sam Raimi
SECRET LIFE OF BEES - Dir: Gina Prince Bythewood
TOGETHER - Dir: Miguel Arteta
WAY BACK - Dir: None attached

FOX 2000
AFTERLIFE - Dir: None attached
ANOTHER BULLSHIT NIGHT IN SUCK CITY - Dir: Paul Weitz
BACHELOR BOYS - Dir: None attached
BOYS NEXT DOOR - Dir: None attached
CONTACT ZERO - Dir: None attached
DALLAS - Dir: Betty Thomas
LIFE OF PI - Dir: Jean Pierre Jeunet
LUCKY STRIKE - Dir: Tony Scott
MARLEY AND ME - Dir: David Frankel
MONTE CARLO (PREVIOUSLY HEADHUNTERS) - Dir: Tom Bezucha
RAMONA - Dir: Liz Allen
SHADOW DIVERS - Dir: None attached
TOWNHOUSE - Dir: John Carney
WOLF BROTHER - Dir: Catherine Hardwicke

GOLD CIRCLE
ARCANUM - Dir: Randall Wallace
CHILLED IN MIAMI - Dir: Jonas Elmer
FLYPAPER - Dir: None attached
HONEYMOON’S OVER - Dir: None attached

HBO FILMS
CONNIE & RUTH - Dir: Jane Anderson
RECOUNT - Dir: Jay Roach

INTERMEDIA
KILLER’S GAME - Dir: Simon Crane

LAKESHORE
GAME - Dir: Neveldine & Taylor
LINCOLN LAWYER - Dir: None attached

LIONSGATE
5 KILLERS - Dir: Mark Helfrich
ADDICTED - Dir: Peter Medak
ATLAS SHRUGGED - Dir: Vadim Perelman
BACHELOR #2 - Dir: Howard Deutch
CHURCHBOY - Dir: Sonu Gonera
MEANone attachedLLS - Dir: John Whitesell
PARTY BOYS - Dir: Pate Bros.
PUNISHER II - Dir: Lexi Alexander
SHRINK - Dir: Kevin Donovan
THE SPIRIT - Dir: Frank Miller
TULIA - Dir: John Singleton

MANDATE
CURVE - Dir: Charles Stone
DOGS OF BABEL - Dir: None attached
WHIP IT - Dir: Drew Barrymore

MIRAMAX
HERO - Dir: Julian Farino
THE RESURRECTIONISTS - Dir: John Madden

NEW LINE
20,000 LEAGUES - Dir: None attached
$40,000 MAN - Dir: Terry Zwigoff
APPALOOSA - Dir: Ed Harris
CONRAIL - Dir: Ericson Core
ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK - Dir: Len Wiseman
FOUR CHRISTMASES - Dir: Seth Gordon
GEARS OF WAR - Dir: None attached
GHOSTS OF GIRLFRIENDS PAST - Dir: Mark Waters
HE'S JUST NOT THAT INTO YOU - Dir: Ken Kwapis
HONEYMOON WITH HARRY - Dir: None attached
KILLING ON CARNIVAL ROW - Dir: Neil Jordan
KING OF KONG - Dir: Seth Gordon
MILD THINGS - Dir: Frank Coraci
MY SISTER'S KEEPER - Dir: Nick Cassavetes
PAPER WINGS - Dir: None attached
SEX & THE CITY - Dir: Michael King
SNITCH - Dir: Carl Franklin
THE TIME TRAVELER'S WIFE - Dir: Robert Schwentke

NEW REGENCY
BIG MOMMA'S 3 - Dir: None attached
BRIDE WARS - Dir: None attached
CAGE - Dir: None attached
CAPRICORN ONE - Dir: None attached
DALLAS - Dir: None attached but looking to Betty Thomas
MONTE CARLO (PREVIOUSLY HEADHUNTERS) - Dir: Tom Bezucha
VOLTRON - Dir: None attached

OVERTURE
105 DEGREES - Dir: Jon AMiel
HUMBOLT PARK - Dir: None attached
RIGHTEOUS KILL - Dir: Jon Avnet
LAST CHANCE HARVEY - Dir: Joel Hopkins

PARAMOUNT
ANGUS, THONGS - Dir: Gurinder Chadha
CHEF - Dir: None attached
THE FIGHTER - Dir: Darren Aronofsky
GI JOE - Dir: None attached
I WANT TO _____ YOUR SISTER - Dir: None attached
LOVE GURU - Dir: Marco Schnabel
MEN MAKING MUSIC - Dir: Clay Tarver
NOWHERE LAND - Dir: Karey Kirkpatrick
PSYCHO FUNKY CHIMP - Dir: Ruben Fleischer
STAR TREK - Dir: JJ Abrams
THOR - Dir: Matthew Vaughn
TORSO - Dir: David Fincher
UNTITLED CAMERON CROWE - Dir: Cameron Crowe
YEAR OF LIVING BIBLICALLY - Dir: Julian Farino
WINTER OF FRANKIE MACHINE - Dir: None attached
WORLD WAR Z - Dir: None attached

PARAMOUNT VANTAGE
AMERICAN STORAGE - Dir: Andrew Cohen
CAGED - Dir: Chris Kentis
DON READY (PREVIOUSLY CLAY HUJKO LIKES CARS) - Dir: Neal Brennan
DEFIANCE - Dir: Ed Zwick
DIRT - Dir: None attached

ROGUE
BELCOO EXPERIMENT - Dir: James Gunn
BFF - Dir: None attached
CASTLEVANIA - Dir: Sylvain White
DYNOMITE - Dir: Paul Feig
FIGHTIN' - Dir: Dito Montiel
LABOR DAY MASON - Dir: Will Gluck
LOST SQUAD - Dir: Leger & Mather
NEAR DARK - Dir: Sam Bayer

SCREEN GEMS
ARMORED - Dir: Nimrod Antal
BONE DEEP - Dir: John Luessenhop
THE BURIAL - Dir: None attached
THE CROSSING - Dir: None attached
INSANITARIUM - Dir: Jeff Buhler
LODGER D:David Ondaatje
KINGDOM COME - Dir: None attached
PHENOM - Dir: None attached
UNTITLED MARDI GRAS PROJECT - Dir: Phil Dornfeld

SPYGLASS
ANTHONY ZIMMER - Dir: Lasse Hallstrom
IRONBOW - Dir: Derin Seale

SONY
AGAINST ALL ENEMIES - Dir: Robert Redford
ALIEN UPRISING - Dir: Wolfgang Peterson
ANGELS AND DEMONS - Dir: Ron Howard
BASTER - Dir: Speck & Gordon
BIG MAN ON CAMPUS - Dir: None attached
BOND 22 - Dir: Marc Forster
BROTHERS - Dir: Jim Sheridan
EDWIN A. SALT - Dir: Terry George
FANTASY ISLAND - Dir: None attached
THE GRAYS - Dir: Wolfgang Peterson
I DREAM OF JEANNIE - Dir: None attached
JULIE JULIA - Dir: Nora Ephron
MONSTER HUNTER - Dir: David Dobkin
SAMMY'S HILL - Dir: David O. Russell
SEVEN POUNDS - Dir: Gabriele Muccino
STEP-BROTHERS - Dir: Adam Mckay
THOUSAND SPLENDID SUNS - Dir: Steve Zaillian
THE TAKING OF PELHAM 1 2 3 - Dir: Tony Scott
TOKYO SUCKERPUNCH - Dir: None attached
YEAR ONE - Dir: Harold Ramis
VOYEUR - Dir: None attached

SONY CLASSICS
DANCING WITH SHIVA - Dir: Jonathan Demme

SUMMIT
DJINN - Dir: Nicholas Refn
NEED - Dir: Ryan Murphy
PARENTAL GUIDANCE - Dir: None attached
RAT BASTARD - Dir: Gary Winick
SEX DRIVE - Dir: Sean Anders

UNITED ARTISTS
THE BIRDCAGE 2 - Dir: None attached
PINKVILLE - Dir: Oliver Stone

UNIVERSAL
ABSENT HEARTS - Dir: Jim Whitaker
BARBARELLA - Dir: Robert Rodriguez
BIG BROTHERS - Dir: David Wain
THE CHANGELING - Dir: Clint Eastwood
CIRQUE DU FREAK - Dir: Paul Weitz
CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON - Dir: Breck Eisner
DARK FIELDS - Dir: None attached
DRACULA YEAR ZERO - Dir: Alex Proyas
FAST & FURIOUS 4 - Dir: Justin Lin
HURRICAINE SEASON - Dir: Billy Ray
I, THALUS (PREVIOUSLY OLYMPIAD) - Dir: Pete Segal
LAND OF THE LOST - Dir: Brad Silberling
THE LOS ANGELES RIOTS - Dir: Spike Lee
LA SCORTA - Dir: Asger Yeth
MAN AND WIFE - Dir: Gabriele Muccino
MY NAME IS JODY WILLIAMS - Dir: Audrey Wells
NOTTINGHAM - Dir: Ridley Scott
ONE NATION UNDER BOB - Dir: Tom Shadyac
PHARM GIRL - Dir: None attached
PLAYBOY - Dir: Brett Ratner
REPOSSESSION MAMBO - Dir: Miguel Sapochnik
RIPD - Dir: David Dobkin
SANDS OF TIME - Dir: None attached
SCOTT PILGRIM - Dir: Edgar Wright
STATE OF PLAY - Dir: Kevin McDonald
SOURCE CODE - Dir: None attached
TRAVELING - Dir: Brandon Camp
TRUMP HEIST - Dir: Brett Ratner
UNDOMESTIC GODDESS - Dir: None attached
UNTITLED CHARLES RANDOLPH PROJECT - Dir: None attached
UNTITLED JON FAVREAU PROJECT - Dir: Jon Favreau
WOLFMAN - Dir: Mark Romanek

WALDEN
THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA - THE VOYAGE OF THE DAWN TREADER - Dir: Michael Apted
THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA - THE SILVER CHAIR - Dir: None attached
CITY OF THE BEASTS - Dir: None attached
TORTOISE AND THE HIPPO - Dir: John Dykstra
RELATIVITY - Dir: None attached

WARNER BROTHERS
1906 - Dir: Brad Bird
ALTERED CARBON - Dir: James McTeigue
ARRANGED - Dir: Gary Winick
CARPE DEMON - Dir: None attached
CLASH OF THE TITANS - Dir: None attached
THE DIRTY DOZEN - Dir: Guy Ritchie
FARRAGUT NORTH - Dir: None attached
GUARDIANS OF GA'HOOLE - Dir: None attached
HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE - Dir: David Yates
HEART SHAPED BOX - Dir: Neil Jordan
HIMELFARB - Dir: Miguel Arteta
THE INCREDIBLE MR LIMPET - Dir: Chris Columbus
JUSTICE LEAGUE - Dir: None attached, but looking to George Miller
LOSERS - Dir:
MEN - Dir: Todd Phillips
MORTDECAI - Dir: None attached
NIGHTCRAWLERS - Dir: McG
PENETRATION - Dir: Ridley Scott
SHANTARAM - Dir: Mira Nair
SHERLOCK HOLMES - Dir: None attached
SPOOKS APPRENTICE - Dir: Tim Burton
THE TOWN - Dir: Adrian Lyne
YES MAN - Dir: Peyton Reed

WARNER INDEPENDENT
DISASSOCIATE - Dir: Zach Helm
QUEEN OF THE SOUTH - Dir: Jonathan Jakubowitz
MAN WITHOUT A GUN - Dir: Pete Travis
MESSAGE FROM THE KING - Dir: None attached
RUM DIARY - Dir: Bruce Robinson
WHITE JAZZ - Dir: Joe Carnahan

THE WEINSTEIN COMPANY
BERNARD THE GENIE - Dir: Richard Curtis
FLETCH WON - Dir: Steve Pink
I DON’T KNOW HOW SHE DOES IT - Dir: David Frankel
GOING DOWN (PREVIOUSLY MUSKRAT LOVE) - Dir: Andy Fickman
NINE - Dir: Rob Marshall
THE READER - Dir: Stephen Daldry
SEVENTH SAMURAI - Dir: None attached, but looking to Justin Chadwick or Wayne Kramer
SHANGHAI - Dir: Mikael Hafstrom
TULIP FEVER - Dir: Peter Chelsom
ZACK AND MIRI MAKE A PORNO - Dir: Kevin Smith

WORKING TITLE
BAD NEWS INC. - Dir: None attached
BURN AFTER READING - Dir: Coen Bros
EVEREST - Dir: None attached
FOOD FIGHT - Dir: Steve Brill
IMPERIAL LIFE - Dir: Paul Greengrass
LOST FOR WORDS - Dir: Suzanne Bier
THE RIP - Dir: Roger Michell
ROCK THE BOAT - Dir: Richard Curtis
YOUNG AT HEART - Dir: None attached

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Come On, Its Francis Ford Friggin' Coppola - Youth Without Youth Teaser

What I am Watching

What I am Watching:
300. Whoa. The most testosterone laden movie Ive seen since Peckinpah and Fuller. Lots of fun, too. A true comic book.

The Prestige. Dont miss it, its great. Christopher Nolan's best film and that is saying a bunch.

Bringing Out The Dead (1999) - I missed this somehow, Scorcese and Schrader and Grumpster fave, Tom Sizemore. Really interesting, and definitely dark and moody. Like dessert with Paul Schrader.

What I am Reading:
So You Want to Be a Producer, Lawrence Turman (producer of The Graduate, et al.) - Worth the read, though I dont know if it really addresses an answer to the title.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Great commercial, turns out not a coincidence

So i saw this great commercial during football Sunday. That its great is no coincidence. And that it uses music from Last of the Mohicans, composed by Trevor Jones (I think) is also no coincidence. Why?
Because the commercial was directed by none other than Mohican's director and Grumpster favorite Michael Mann. Check it out.

How I Got Here, Now Six Years Later

I've already posted this, last September 11th. Its a difficult day for me, one that continues to make me examine my priorities. And because I now live across the street from Ground Zero, its not very much a situation of Out of Sight, Out of Mind. I havent even been downstairs today, but I'll go take a look at it soon, the news trucks, the spectators, and other tourists of sympathy and disaster. Im not casting aspersions, it is what it is. And every year, as it becomes more chronologically remote, it becomes something a little bit more and a little bit less for me. More of an arrow, and less of an anchor perhaps.


******Previously posted, Sept. 11, 2006********

I used to work in law, in finance. These are jobs that may be exciting for some, a thrill for some. Others may fancy that they do these jobs for the good of the economy, of the world, in some way.

I did my jobs for the money, and for the freedom that the money would eventually, supposedly, purchase for me.

I was working for Deloitte & Touche, which is one of the largest consulting firms in the world. I sold and developed tax product for companies. Basically, I used my knowledge as a tax lawyer to design and implement tax strategies whose primary aim was to lower the world tax burden of some of the world’s richest companies and families. I’d previously done similar jobs at Cadwalader, Wickersham and Taft, a white-shoe firm that is the oldest in the U.S.A, and at Ernst and Young, another monster-sized multinational consulting firm. I’d also worked a year in banking for Barclay’s Capital, the investment banking arm of one of Europe’s most venerable banks. Working for Barclay’s, I had made almost 400,000 dollars in one year. That year was perhaps the least happy year of my life.

My rise since graduation from law school at Albany Law School and Union (for an MBA) had been nothing short of meteoric. I spent two years in Boston at EY, before moving to New York. I was doubling my income every two years of so. I was following a path towards what I had originally set out to do.

A few years before, when I was attending Wesleyan University in Connecticut, I had an epiphany. I was following a course of only liberal arts: history, film, language, etc. I had no real career path, I was studying liberal arts. And my realization was that I should, at the age of 19, follow a path that would allow me to use what talents I had to make as much money as possible in as short a period of time as possible, which would allow me to do whatever I wanted to do with the rest of my life, on my own terms.

And what I wanted to do with the rest of my life was make movies. What I had wanted to do, from childhood, was make movies.

I left Wesleyan without even having applied to another school. I saw no point in wasting my parents money continuing to study things that wouldn’t pay off when I graduated (I thought – whether that assumption is right I don’t know, but I met an awful lot of people who went to liberal arts schools on Wall Street). I had to sit out a semester but transferred to SUNY Albany and began to pursue a path towards becoming a lawyer. I skipped through college, law school and business school and had completed the first step towards my eventual freedom.

Now, years later, working for D&T, a job I absolutely hated, a worthless job in my opinion, one that made no mark in the world, I was collecting money for my freedom. Of course, I was so bored with my existence that I often spent almost as fast as I earned. But that was just part of making my existence livable until I was free, could go and make movies.

On September 11th, 2001, I had an early conference call with London. Some project we were doing with a law firm over in London, and because of the time difference, the call was scheduled for 8AM. I normally got to my office right about nine AM more or less, which put me on the train from my then Chelsea apt. at 8:30 or so, and in the basement of the WTC (on the 2/3 train) at about 8:50 AM. I’d go up the escalators, and walk across the platform, and cross the walking bridge to 2 World Financial Center. It was a trip I made every weekday (unless I was on the road, which I was maybe a quarter of the time).

If I had done this at this time, on this particular morning, I would be dead right now, crushed by falling debris like the others who made the commute at the time that I always did.

But that morning I grudgingly made the trip an hour early, got to WTC around 7:50AM, up the escalators, and across the bridge to my office in time for the 8AM conference call.

The call was rather short, and was finished by eight thirty. I was probably hitting baseball scores on the Net when my phone rang. A friend from work, Elizabeth, was calling, which I thought was funny cuz she was always late for work and since she was calling me after 9AM, I thought she was just late again.

She asked me – Whats going on down there?

Me: What do you mean?

Her: A plane just crashed into the WTC?

Me: (incredulous) – What?

As I spoke to her, the second plane crashed into the WTC. It just looked like an explosion on the television I was watching, nothing but a fireball. You didn’t see the plane at all (until they replayed it later at low speed).

We left en masse from the building, and were basically herded out to the harbor that sits behind the World Financial Center. Huge crowds of people were standing, looking up at the burning towers, watching, stunned. Talking in disbelief.

I looked up and saw a piece of lumber falling from near the tops of one of the towers. It tumbled, thousands of feet. I asked someone about it. They told me that it was the tenth person they’d seen jump from the top of the tower.

Not eager to see anymore, to have these images recorded in my memory, I headed north. My best friend Drew lived on Chambers then and I thought I would try to get to his building, give my parents a call from his place to let them know I was OK. I’d spoken to them very briefly as I walked out of the building, but now my cel wasn’t working because the networks were overcrowded.

I got to Chambers St. and Drew wasn’t home. A neigjhbor of his let me into his apartment but the phone lines were busy and I couldn’t get my parents. A bunch of people were milling around in his lobby, including a young woman and her child. She was looking for her husband. He was in Midtown, she thought, but had been trying to get down to find her in the chaos. As we were talking, swapping rumors about more airplanes, we hear the first tower go down. But because we couldn’t see the towers from where we stood, we could only hear what sounded exactly like another airplane flying low in the sky. The sonic boom of the tower coming down exactly, cruelly, mimicked the sound of an airplane overhead. And because of the rumors of more unaccounted-for jets in the air, that’s exactly what we thought it was.

This young woman, I don’t even remember her name, grabbed her son from his stroller and we all took off north up the bike path which fronts the west side highway. The sound of the tower stopped and my heart stopped beating like it had been, in a way that I thought was going to give me a heart attack.

We walked north along the highway. We had nothing else to do. I carried the little boy, as he was too big for his mother to carry too far. We walked for ten minutes, until the first miracle I witnessed that day occurred. Walking perhaps a hundred yards away, in the opposite direction, on the other side of the highway, was this woman’s husband. And somehow, out of thousands of people, they spotted each other and were reunited. Everyone in our group stopped and stared. Seeing these people reunite under these circumstances was simply an event I will never forget for the rest of my life. I don’t remember her name, her face. But I will never, ever forget that moment. Its clear in my mind, five years later.

I got home perhaps an hour later. I lived on 29th street. I think I put the film Animal House on video. I needed something light, I thought, but I couldn’t really watch it.

I never really went back to work in the same way. My heart was never really in it after that. I worked from home, with disinterest. My firm relocated to a hotel in Times Square, but I hated going there, working in a hotel room. I hated most of my bosses, most of the unhappy people for whom I worked. I started looking for something else to do- a friend had opened a restaurant, and that was a business I had always found interesting. As I lost interest in D&T, I spent more and more time at the restaurant, until I began to manage the restaurant. It was merely a temporary thing, but in some very important ways it represented a huge step for me. It was a step away from living for tomorrow, a tomorrow that 9/11 made me realize might never come, and towards living for today.

While I was running the restaurant, a few things significant to my life’s journey happened. My relationship with my then-girlfriend, someone I thought I would spend my life with, fell apart. We were going in different directions, and the relationship shattered into pieces under the strain of these changes. It isn’t about fault, it just happened.

Another thing that happened that day was that I started a film festival. It was my first step into anything film related. The first festival was three films, none very good. About twenty people or so showed up. It has developed into a festival that receives perhaps six hundred entrants a year now.

But what really happened, what really started from the events of 9/11 in my life, was that I decided that all the things that I had put off for later in life, I began to do. I started looking for work in the film business. I started the festival. I got a motorcyle. I CHANGED MY LIFE. Because I realized that you can’t always count on tomorrow and, because of that, today is very, very precious.

I was very fortunate to survive that day. I've been fortunate to have a little bit of wisdom in following the path I probably should have followed from the beginning, one that isnt about financial gain, but about gaining everything else for myself. And I've been fortunate for the support of my true friends and family in making the transition in my life.

Thanks for your time.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Vanessa Hudgens

So what would be people's guess on how much money Vanessa Hudgen's private photos going public, cost Disney. Or perhaps, just perhaps, it made them money, through additional publicity.

On balance, I dont think so. High School musical is aimed squarely at an average american family audience that isnt likely to be too fond of this sort of stuff.

Recent estimates are that High School Musical 2 is worth about one billion dollars of revenue in combined rights to Disney, between the DVD, tv show, soundtrack, merchandize, a planned show, and the peripheral impact on Disney's programming. Thats alot to lose.

Personally, I (1) dont care about VH's decision to indulge in a little private photography and (2) think she looks great to boot. Its not like she wanted the pics public, and its funny how we're so ready to damn someone like Vanessa for a private picture like this, when we should be perhaps asking where it came from. The villain here is Vanessa or Zak. Its the jerk who dropped it. It would really suck if it ruins this young girl's career. Its such a meaningless thing.

Of course, I recently worked with another Vanessa who rebounded quite well from the unexpected publication of some photos. Her career has been spectacular, thank you very much. So who can say?

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Review: Hair, at the Acorn Theater


Review: Hair, 40th Anniversary. At the Acorn Theater from The Real Theatre Company, Dir. Maggie Levin



Now I don’t claim to be any kind of theater guru. I know a lot about film. Not encyclopedic, but I can hold my own in most conversations. I understand the medium. But theater is a little bit more foreign to me. So take my review with a grain of salt. Cause whaddoiknow.

Anyway, I went with Adi and her friend Rona to see Hair this past Sunday. It’s the fortieth anniversary of the original production. I should say from the start that the show and its messages (other than the universal messages of racial harmony and peace) maybe aren’t my thing. While I am fairly liberal, I wont ever be confused with a hippie. I like my coffee when I wake up and I conspiculously remove body hair (comment filed under the too much information category).

But the show, despite a few rough patches due partially to technical/budget issues, was contagiously energetic and really got me. It started a bit slow, with its disorganization by design (after all, this is Hair) and the first act felt a little long, as the play set up the characters a bit. Real Theatre Co’s. version of Hair runs two and half hours, which someone joked was the director’s cut of the play. And it did feel a bit long.

That being said, after a brief intermission at the bar at the Acorn, on Theater Row, the play literally picked up an enormous amount of momentum and the second act flew by in a moment, culminating in a rendition of “Let the Sunshine In” that had the whole crowd singing and clapping along. Even yours truly, Grumpy, was among them.

Levin’s directing and staging, even at this modest budget, is quite sure-handed. Everything seems very well thought out. Of course, all of the singers are good and some are quite a bit better, upto Broadway quality. And all of the performances work, and I was pleased to see standout performances from a few of the actors cast in Digger, including Jessica Walck, Helen Highfield and the always entertaining and sometimes cross-dressing Adam Schneider. They are certainly not alone in a strong cast that keeps your eyes open, a smile on your face and your toes tappin’.

What more can I say? Go see it, tix are available online at ticketcentral.com. It ends soon, so do it now.

Grumps