Gary, You Schmuck! (From last night's Movie Zone Podcast) - 07.17.2009
In honor of the Director's Cut of Watchmen coming out next week, I'd like to talk a little bit about decisions that were made regarding a different comic book film, one that I've made several shout-outs to during my time writing both Scene Anatomy 101 and The UBS Evening Television & Movie News. And that would be DareDevil.
More than anything, this movie represents what happens when a director and producer are not working on the same level. You can say whatever you want about Batman & Robin. God knows whatever it will be, I'll likely agree with it since you're gonna wind up saying something about how much it sucks. HOWEVER, you can't deny that for better or for worse, this was the vision that Joel Schumacher had for this movie and Warner Bros was firmly onboard with this. It's not like the studio envisioned something like The Dark Knight and Joel just went in a completely different direction. They wanted lighter and brighter, and they got what they paid for, even though Joel gave them 2 hours of neon-colored shit.
In 2003, I watched DareDevil in the theaters and enjoyed it, but not as much as I wanted. It felt like it just went way too fast and that Mark Stephen Johnson grabbed a bunch of moments in the character's history and created a Greatest Hits package. The next year, the Director's Cut came out on DVD and the advanced word I had heard about it was that it was sooooo much better than the theatrical cut. It was over a half hour longer, it brought back a whole subplot that was completely stripped away and instead of a Greatest Hits package, we would be getting a movie with a story!
This was all I needed to hear, so I made sure to get the director's cut as soon as it came out. Sure enough, the movie was – in my eyes – completely redeemed. The pace was slower, the story worked and there was an extra grit to it that was sorely lacking when it was released to theaters the year before. It was even rated R!
After watching the movie, I switched over to the featurette that explains what changes were made and what needed to be restored for this cut. And it was during this featurette that I was introduced to producer Gary Foster. And I got to watch Foster admit that, as producer, he was the one who made the call to turn the damn good Director's Cut into the "damn, it could have been good" theatrical cut. Here's what he said when he had to explain himself...
“There was a cut of this film at a reasonable length that included the Director's Cut material, and it was something that we considered to be the theatrical cut of the film.”
Sounds all well and good, so why wasn't this much better version the only version?
”What's more valuable? A quick-paced fast-moving movie or a fuller content that might have some slower moments? My personal feeling was that I was advocating speed over well-shot, well-directed, well-performed scenes but that were going to slow down the overall movement of the film. I don't think that in the commercial marketplace that, you know, the intellectual content is as important as the quick and exciting experience of this kind of movie.”
You got that? Basically, Foster is saying that there was a perfectly good cut that he felt necessary to cut down to the basics just so people can get in and get out and leave their brains at the door.
This pisses me off more than what I saw earlier this month with TransFormers: Revenge of the Fallen. This pisses me off more than Batman & Robin. Why? Because Mark Johnson did a damn good job putting this labor of love together and his producer cut him off at the knees just to dumb it down and make the movie shorter. Of course, this means that if the movie is shorter, there will be more screenings of it per day.
Look, I understand that filmmaking is a business and the overall goal is to make money. But I need to fill someone in particular in on something. When the film is good, MORE PEOPLE WILL SEE IT regardless of length! Hell, look at the aforementioned The Dark Knight. That was pretty long, wasn't it? And if you wanted to make sure this was a PG-13 cut, there are quite a few tiny little cuts that would have given you the rating you wanted and it would have maintained the integrity of the film.
So now that we have this cut of DareDevil that seems like a whole new movie, this was a perfectly good opportunity for everyone involved with the movie to get behind this cut. However, on the featurette we see that Mr. Foster is still just as stubborn as ever about which cut he prefers...
”I think there's value as a lover of film or as a lover of certain actors and actresses, uh as a DareDevil fan to see some of the other ideas that were thought about that weren't ultimately chosen to be in the final theatrical cut of the film. I think that's a fun, interesting experience but that's not the movie. The movie is DareDevil that was released last year in the theaters and you can buy it on the other DVD. That's how I feel. And I do think it's a better cut. I trust the work that we did then.
Really, Gary? Really? Well, it's a good thing that your own studio no longer agrees with you because when 20th Century Fox released their big Marvel Heroes mega box set that featured all of their comic book adaptations, guess which cut of DareDevil they included? The Director's Cut. The much better, R-rated Director's Cut, Gary.
And when the movie made the jump to Blu-Ray, guess what Fox did. They took all the special features of the theatrical cut DVD and slapped them together with the Director's Cut of the movie.
You can be as stubborn as you want about this, Gary, but as far as the studio is concerned, the theatrical cut might as well have been a 100-minute trailer for what hit shelves in 2004. Fox may not always be right when it comes to their comic book films, but they're doing what's best for the movie and for Mark Johnson's vision by acknowledging this as the cut worth putting in their mega box set and releasing on Blu-Ray. This movie should have gotten a much better legacy than what it has now, and it's because of you, Gary, not Mark, that it still gets picked on by movie fans today.
So with all due respect, Gary, for doing this to your writer and director, for refusing to acknowledge a good thing when you have one and for taking a well-made film and dumbing it down, you're a schmuck.
And we're rolling... - 06.23.2008
Yesterday, Chad Webb and I were coming back from our MonsterBash weekend, and on the way home, I popped in the George Carlin CD, "Complaints and Grievances." This was his HBO special that was taped several weeks after September 11, and after he brought up that tragedy, he moved on to give one of the most wonderfully angry performances he had ever given in his career. He dove into his vat of complaints and delivered a half-hour long segment simply called, "People Who Ought to Be Killed."
This and his finale – my personal favorite bit where he dissects The Ten Commandments and shows how they can be broken down to two and then ads a vital third one, "Thou Shalt Keep Thy Religion to Thyself" – had both myself and Chad laughing hysterically throughout a big chunk of the trip. Even though I had heard the album several times already, it still never got old.
That's the perfect way I can sum up George Carlin's life and career. He never got old. He got older, but he never got old.
When I was in high school, my friend Adam Short – who was also a devout stand-up fan – and I came up with a theory that if Washington was run by stand-up comics, the world would be a better place. We then started thinking about who would be what, and the first thing we agreed on was that George Carlin would be President. We went on to fill other spots, but the only other one I can remember is that we made Dennis Miller Speaker of the House.
Now that Carlin is gone from us, all I can do is think back to not only my favorite album of his, but a few of my personal favorite memories. Jerome did a great job summing up Carlin in his tribute, so I'm not going to re-iterate what he said. Instead, I'm going to tell you about a few moments that really made an impact on me…
During my sophomore year of college, a friend of mine had gotten two tickets for Carlin's HBO special, "Back in Town." This was the first special he had done since 1992, when he did the aforementioned airline announcement bit – complete with the "Safety Lecture," – and I was thrilled to see this. He and I ran to the Beacon Theater a few blocks from our dorm, got in our seats and proceeded to see the Master himself unload an hour's worth of comedy gold on all of us.
Once the show was over, he thanked everyone for coming and walked offstage to the sound of a raucous standing ovation. And then, a minute later, he came back out and told us once the cameras stopped rolling, "You guys paid to come here, so you're gonna get some more." Carlin went on to give another 45 minutes worth of vintage material that, like the man himself, never got old. It was wonderful. He went through a whole slate of jokes that I was almost able to say along with him, but I couldn't because I was too busy laughing.
If he had remembered to bring "The List" with him, he would have done that to wrap up his encore. But unfortunately, he didn't have it with him and promised to do it again sometime soon. I can take solace in the belief that while he didn't perform "The List" for me, he had done it for another sold-out crowd at one of his later specials.
Three years later, I was working on the 17th floor of a building on 49th and Madison. The second floor of that building was for a hair stylist that was a favorite of the upper class and some celebrities. I had heard stories about different celebrities getting on the elevator, going up one flight, and getting off to get their hair done.
One day, I was in the elevator with my lunch, and there were two yuppie douchebags in the elevator with me talking amongst themselves. As the door was shutting, I heard a voice say, "Room for one more?" I stuck out my arm to block the door, and a very unsuspecting man with a gray beard and baseball cap walked in. He said thanks, I said you're welcome.
While the two douchebags were still talking, the man and I exchanged a quick glance and he smiled at me. I smiled back and nodded. It was a moment where a very simple message was communicated in total silence. The message I gave him was, "I know who you are, and I'm not saying a damn thing." He stepped out when the elevator hit the second floor and one of the two douchebags said, "I think that was George Carlin." I kept quiet. Better to leave them guessing.
The third memory is something that I was talking about in a previous UBS Evening Movie News rave. Here's what I had to say back then…
It's a beautiful thing when someone that you really respect as a talent in the entertainment industry makes a big comeback, and I was fortunate enough to witness it on HBO.
Several months ago, I explained how depressed I was that one of my all-time favorite comedians - George Carlin - showed a much more angry side that stopped being funny and started being preachy and bitter. He spent the last half hour of the special talking about the Bush Administration and how it was stripping away all of our rights, and the more he talked about it, the less jokey the show became. Like I said back then, it was the perfect fit for this Mad Prophet of the Airwaves section since this whole report is based on Howard Beale's news show in Network, and Carlin was behaving just as Beale did in the third act of the film.
I wasn't sure if Carlin could get back in the flow and give that balanced kind of performance that he was so fantastic at before, but that doubt was put to rest when I saw his latest comedy hour on HBO: "It's Bad For Ya." Whatever had sucked the funny out of him before was back in full force this time, and I found myself laughing harder than I had in a while, which was a real relief.
Sure, it wasn't quite as deep as the previous special, but there was no tension in this one either. Carlin performed like the constant professional he is, and he was looser and more comfortable on the stage than he was before. Even when he went into politics, he attacked it with one killer joke after another, and there was thankfully no long lull of silence or applause-with-no-laughter coming from the audience. By the end of the show, there were several thousand very satisfied men and women on their feet cheering the man. And having seen him live for his 2005 concert, I know that there was going to be at least another 45 minutes of material for them to enjoy after the cameras stopped.
I know the Mad Prophet rants are more entertaining when I have something to complain about, but I'm in too good a mood to do that because of this special. The Man is back in top form, and I can't wait to see what he'll have for us next…
Sadly, this was the last we would see of him on HBO. But while this is a sad occasion for his fans everywhere, we have the solace in knowing that the man went out on top. He may have stumbled a bit with his "Life is Worth Losing" special, but he picked himself up and let out one last defiant cry against the insane world he lived in with "It's Bad for Ya" and finished his run on HBO in brilliant fashion.
Speaking as a fan, and speaking for the rest of them, all I can say to George Carlin is, thank you. Thank you for being the comedic inspiration that you were, and thank you for giving us so many memories and jokes that we are sure to keep repeating for years to come. Like you, I was born in the city, county and state of New York, and I've found a way to start listening to you when I was six years old. So while you were here, you made me laugh for twenty-five years. For that, you will always be the King to me.
George Carlin: 1937 – 2008
And we're rolling... - 08.22.2006
“I’m in every Zeppelin album
I’m in all Rush Limbaugh’s rants
I’m the reason that the Boston Red Sox
Even had a chance…”
-- Stephen Lynch, singing as Satan in “Beelz”
And just like that, it was over. There was still another game to play the next afternoon, but it took just one moment to completely silence what was once one of the most feared ballparks to play in. And when I say once, I mean it was one of the most feared until that moment.
The moment came when Yankee Captain Derek Jeter faced off against the hot Red Sox rookie closer Jonathan Papelbon. He should have been in the game three batters earlier, before Mike Timlin had his second meltdown in as many games and gave up an infield single to Johnny Damon and then promptly hit Jeter on the very next pitch. Javier Lopez did the team and the fans no favors by walking Bobby Abreu, who owns first base. (He’s got the receipt in his pocket.) THEN Papelbon came in, with the bases loaded and nobody out. He proved that he’s a big-time pitcher when he only gave up one run on a sac fly by Jason Giambi before getting two quick strikeouts.
But that was ancient history, a time as dead and gone as 2004. The raucous Fenway Park crowd was put in their collective seats when a bloop single by Derek Jeter scored Melky Cabrera from third. The game was tied. Curt Schilling’s masterful performance on the mound was squashed. Even when Boston loaded the bases in the bottom of the 9th, there was nothing they could do. Two years before, Dave Roberts raced from second base straight to home plate with Mariano Rivera on the mound. Now, there was no Dave Roberts, nor was there a Bill Mueller to bring him home. David Ortiz sat in the dugout, watching Manny Ramirez at third base, two of the only three active Red Sox players from That Championship Season. (Both Jason Varitek and Trot Nixon are on the DL.)
In came Eric Hinske, a brand new Beantowner who could endear himself to Red Sox Nation with a sac fly, a base hit, anything at all. And with Rivera’s cutter not cutting correctly, he had every chance in the world to make a whole new batch of friends. And instead, just as A-Rod did many times this weekend to the delight of these same fans, Hinske strikes out in the clutch. And Doug Mirabelli – another 2004 veteran who was sent away at the beginning of this season and then brought back in desperation – grounded out to Rivera to end the rally.
Jason Giambi, who had been mercilessly taunted by the Sox fans all weekend, decided the time to end the game was now. He blasted a solo home-run, his second of the game, to make the score 6-5 Yankees, and Jorge Posada hit a 2-run homer for insurance. And when all was said and done, with one man on and 2 outs in the bottom of the 10th inning, there was David Ortiz, this year’s MVP according to the 40,000 judges watching. Actually, by this time, there were less than 20,000 since Posada’s home-run sent the fans scurrying like roaches when the lights turn on. Their support wasn’t quite enough as Ortiz’s fly ball landed safely in the glove of Bernie Williams.
And just like that, it was over. Four games, with one more to play the next afternoon, but this was the main event. The previous three Nightmares on Yawkey Way wouldn’t have felt so bad if they won this one, because here was their ace on the mound. Here was Curt Schilling, the Baron of the Bloody Sock, the Stopper, and he was gonna turn a 4 ½ game deficit into a 3 ½ game deficit. And then David Wells would come in the next day and it would only be a 2 ½ game deficit and everything would be okay.
Didn’t happen on Sunday night. Didn’t happen Monday afternoon. As of 4:15pm on Monday, the New York Yankees completed the 5-game sweep of the Boston Red Sox. The execution had been televised.
As Ortiz’s fly ball landed in Bernie’s glove, I found myself thinking back to a specific moment after the 2004 ALCS, a time that resonates brighter in Red Sox history than even the 2004 World Series win. The World Series was already underway, with the Sox on their way to a 4-game sweep and the end of their 86-year drought. I was waiting on 8th Avenue for Cheryl to come back from her NYC tour, and I was wearing my Yankees jacket that my grandfather gave me. Yes, the Yankees had committed an un-pardonable sin by losing 4 straight when they had a 3-0 lead in the ALCS, but damn it, I was still gonna wear my jacket. I’m a Yankee fan born and raised, a third generation fan, and for everything they gave me in the late 90s and in 2000, I was gonna stick with them during this time. We were gonna get through this together.
And then, as I quietly waited, I saw some 35-year old douchebag look me dead in the eye and yell in my face, “LET’S GO RED SAWX!” and walk away laughing. He didn’t know me. He didn’t see me after Game 7 as I immediately called Ryan and congratulated him. He didn’t see me either verbally or physically shake the hands of all the Red Sox fans I knew and wished them luck in the World Series. He just took the time to be an asshole to an ordinary guy who just happened to be wearing a Yankee jacket. (He didn’t notice the 1999 World Series patch on the arm. That was the year the Yankees beat the Red Sox in the ALCS 4-1.) If I was in Boston, that’s one thing. But I was in my hometown, and just as the Sox celebrated in Yankee Stadium, this schmuck was getting in my face in New York City.
It was that moment where I wished nothing but despair for THOSE kinds of Red Sox fans. Not my friends, since we have our rivalry but we’re cordial about it. Hell, Ryan just called me up and conceded the division to me, and I couldn’t just accept it. I had to remind him that there was still plenty of baseball left to play.
But just like there are asshole Yankee fans, there are even more asshole Red Sox fans, and for them to feel like the lowest of the lows for this 5-game series, that’s what makes this sweep extra special. Because not only did I get the satisfaction of seeing Fenway Park get vocally shut down – there would be no Neil Diamond sing-along – but I got to learn a few things along the way…
• The Red Sox Have Been Exposed. Sure, we only play them four more times this year, but the blueprints for how to beat Boston have been leaked. All that needs to be done is for you batters to sit at home plate and wait. If you’re gonna strike out, do it in 10 pitches instead of 3. Before you know it, it’ll be the 6th inning and whatever lead they may have built will automatically be in jeopardy.
• The Red Sox Miss Johnny Damon. I kept hearing it during the off-season. “Awww, you can have him. He’s washed up. He’s done.” Well, During the week ending Aug. 20, he hit .390 (16-for-41) with four doubles, two triples, four home runs and 12 RBIs, collected 36 total bases and bragged a slugging percentage of .878. Still think he’s washed up? Didn’t think so.
• The last time the Yankees scored 10 runs or more in three straight games was in 1927, the time of Gehrig and Ruth. (The Bambino Lives!)
• The last time the Yankees swept the Red Sox in a 5-game series at Fenway Park was in 1943.
• Jon Miller has a hard-on for David Ortiz. After he hit the tie-breaking home-run in Sunday night’s game, ESPN’s Miller was letting out adjective after adjective to describe the shot. It was “majestic,” “towering,” “glorious,” “miraculous,” “gorgeous,” “crushing,” and whatever else he could think of. Miller might as well have been playing Mad Libs with Joe Morgan.
And here’s the big thing that I learned this weekend…
The Sox management doesn’t seem to care about the fans. And for a team that seems to pride itself on “Red Sox Nation” and takes the World Series Championship trophy to every town in New England, that really stinks.
The Red Sox are a good team, a very good team, when they want to be. They know what it takes to be a contender in baseball, but they only apply the necessary elements every now and then. In 2004, they understood what and who was holding them back, so they sent Nomar – the Red Sox mascot – to Chicago and picked up Orlando Cabrera and a utility guy named Dave Roberts. Sure enough, with their help, they pulled off the biggest comeback in baseball history and won the World Series.
But don’t tell the sports writers in Boston about 2004. They’re wearing that year like an albatross around their neck. Almost every column in the Herald ended with the writer pleading fans not to bring up that year because that was a very special year and that was a very different team. Last year, one of their columnists said it would have been better for the Red Sox if 2004 DIDN’T HAPPEN!!! Are you kidding me??!! If we Yankee fans could accept that we coughed up four games after building a 3-0 lead and being three outs away from sweeping you into oblivion, you sure as hell better accept that it was your team that did it!
You won! You beat us! You have the right to be proud of what your team did! Even though that asshole yelled in my face, he had the right to do it. Unless he was a bandwagoner. But you know something? When you have the second highest payroll in baseball AND a World Series under your belt, you are expected to try and repeat the next year. That’s the nature of the beast, and when New Englanders have a winning team, they demand that team become a dynasty. Just look at the Patriots.
Nobody was shocked when the 2004 Florida Marlins failed to repeat as World Champions, but that was because they had one of the lower payrolls and nobody expected them to go anywhere in 2003. The Red Sox built themselves up so that they would be on par with the Yankees, and by doing so, they built some very high price tags for their players. You can say what you want about Steinbrenner – chances are it’s all true – but the man wants to win at any cost. Why? Because he is in tune with the expectations of his fanbase. He knows we’re a vocal group and in his eyes, anything less than a World Championship will be a wasted season.
We like that. We may not like him a lot, but we like that he wants the Yankees to win and he’ll do whatever it takes to make it happen. Despite what people think, it’s not difficult to keep a contender going for a long time. It won’t last forever – coughcoughAtlantacough – but as long as there is a mixture of veterans and young talent, your team will have a shot. Just look at the Mets. It took them a while, but they finally found the right mixture of old and new, and now they have the tools to keep their winning going for a while. Omar Minaya & Co. were smart enough to lock down players like Jose Reyes and David Wright, and they have Carlos Beltran as a lock for NL MVP.
This brings me to the one thing that Boston fans have to concede: these 2006 Yankees are fun to watch. They decreased their payroll and sent their dead weight packing. They held on to guys like Melky Cabrera, Robinson Cano and Chien-Meng Wang instead of using them as trade bait to get Roger Clemens back. They picked up Bobby Abreu and Corey Lidle without having to part with our prize prospect Philip Hughes. And because Brian Cashman was allowed to run the show, he put together a great mixture of veterans and young talent, and they’re getting it done. Everyone predicted that “this would be the first playoffs since 1993 that would not involve the Yankees” when Gary Sheffield and Hideki Matsui went down, but guys like Melky Cabrera kept us alive and thriving in a whole new way that actually makes the Yankees look like underdogs. No matter what gets thrown at them, they keep coming back and they keep sticking their noses into the playoff race.
Compare that to the Red Sox, who did nothing at the trade deadline knowing the importance of the 5-game series – AT HOME – that was approaching. You’d think they’d have a lefty in their bullpen, and if they didn’t, they’d get one. Nope. Didn’t happen. You’d think they would hold back on throwing Jason Johnson and Jon Lester – one struggling and the other a rookie – to the wolves on the first and second games of the series. Now Lester has a game that he’d most certainly like to forget and Johnson was designated for assignment between the day and night doubleheader. You’d think that the second highest paid team in baseball would have bought enough weapons to out-duel their rivals at least once.
Never forget that this is a team that took players like Johnny Damon, Bronson Arroyo, Kevin Millar and Bill Mueller – players that were very vocal about their love for Red Sox Nation – and sent them all packing. They could have held on to at least a few of these guys if they’d only coughed up a little extra money, but they didn’t do it.
Why? It’s not like they didn’t have the cash. The Red Sox have the highest-priced tickets in the majors! They have a loyal group of fans, some of the most passionate you’ve ever seen, who are begging and pleading for wins now, not another 84 years from now. They stuck with the team through every single agonizing year, and they’ve been rewarded for their loyalty. Management shouldn’t have to punish them for wanting the Sox to stay a contender, but that’s what they’re doing by giving the attitude that the team is “re-building.” The one thing they can’t afford to do is re-build. They have to re-load. That’s what contenders do. There’s a difference.
Obviously, this isn’t the end of the season and a lot can happen in a little over a month. The Yankees could collapse, the Sox could get their act together and the results from this past weekend could be reversed at the end of September when the Sox come to the Bronx for the season finale. But judging by what happened during The Bride of the Boston Massacre, it doesn’t bode well for Fenway’s Faithful.
Keep in mind that I’m not a Red Sox hater. I have respect for them, no matter what condition they’re in. Each of these five games, they played us hard. David Wells gave an incredible performance on the mound during Game 5, as did Schilling during Game 4. When they’re on, they’re really on and they’re dangerous, and that’s why I’m not counting them out completely. They could come back at any time. Believe me, I’ve seen it happen.
That’s why I’m glad the Yankees did what they did in sweeping them. Even if the Sox won one of those five games, they could use that as momentum. And because the two teams are so close to each other in location, division, payroll and players, it is always gratifying to see your team put some distance between you and your rival. But like I said before, anything can happen between now and the end of the season, so to all my friends who are Sox fans, I wish you good luck and I look forward to seeing you in September and beyond.
And to that guy who laughed in my face two years ago, let me just say that you had a lead on us by three runs in the seventh inning of Game 2 and two runs in the eighth and one in the ninth in Game 4, and you still couldn’t beat us! Choke on that, you son of a bitch!
I feel better now. Go Yankees!
And we're rolling... - 08.06.2006
So now the whole weekend's finishing up and it's starting to hit me. As of today, the training wheels are officially off, so let's see what the next couple years are going to bring...
And we're rolling... - 06.14.2006
So I'm sitting on the 7 train this morning, on my way to work, and I notice a guy next to me is reading today's edition of the NY Post. Normally, I don't like to read them except for the sports section, and I especially don't like reading Page Six, since I've had enough "news" in my life about Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton to make me want to bash my head in with my own shoe just to cast out the evil. But in perfect train-wreck fashion, my eye catches both of their names AGAIN, so I automatically wonder, what is it now? And I found out what every "red-white-and-blue-bleeding American" needs to know...
June 14, 2006 -- PARIS Hilton is so upset that Lindsay Lohan has been seeing her ex, Greek playboy Stavros Niarchos, she screamed insults at Lohan at Butter on Monday night. Witnesses report Hilton went up to Lohan and shouted, "I can't believe you and Stavros! You are ridiculous!" After taking more insults and curses, Lohan said, "That's how you say hello? I don't need to respond to you." Lohan promptly left. A rep for Lohan said, "Correct. Paris tried to pick a fight with her and started screaming at her, but Lindsay took the high road."
Nothing we haven't seen before, but then I see something right after that section and a chill goes up my spine...
After Lohan left, Hilton did a striptease for N.Y. Knick David Lee, Eli Manning and a bunch of other N.Y. Giants.
Oh no. No, no no no no no no! Now Eli, just in case your dad or big brother won't tell you, please let your fans set you straight. I'm sure you're living a damn good life right now - second year in the NFL, playing for the media capital of the world, winning the NFC East during your first starting year - and there are gonna be plenty of temptations coming your way constantly. But whatever you do, please don't get involved with this... this... I could think of many different names to give her, but since I can't decide on one, I'll just say, socialite. Why even bother? I'm not too keen on your personal life, and quite frankly, I don't want to be. If you play to the level that we know you can play, then you'll be immortalized where it counts and it won't matter who's hooking up with you. But if you're even thinking of getting involved in some way, shape or form with Paris Hilton, then you're gonna turn into a permanent Page 6 reference and a joke. Don't do this! Just think of Paris as a monkey at the zoo. Everyone likes to see the monkey sitting in their cage, but if you get too close, you're gonna get some shit flung at you.
Consider yourself warned, Eli. Now get out of the club and get some sleep. You got a pre-season to get ready for and another division title to bring home. And this time, when you get to the playoffs, it's okay to score a point or two.
Oh, one more thing. My friends and I are gonna be at the game on Opening Day, so do us a favor and kick your big brother's ass, okay? Okay...
And we're rolling... - 05.22.2006
So I'm looking through my e-mails on Yahoo, and what do I find in the Bulk section, but something from a very nice woman named "Lynne Easley." Why do I say she's nice? Well, because she was thoughtful enough to send me information regarding my Houston Astros ticket.
Keep in mind that I'm not an Astros fan. I'm not even from Houston. I've never even been to Houston. Nothing against it, I'm sure it's very nice, and the people there must be great since one of them was nice enough to set aside a ticket for me. Wouldn't you think so, since the subject line was very straightforward: "Your Houston Astros Ticket."
So I think, oh, how nice, and click on the link, and what do I find? This:
-S'ensationall revoolution in m'edicine!
-E'n'l'a'r'g'e your p''enis up to 10 cm or up to 4 inches!
-It's herbal solution what hasn't side effect, but has 100% guaranted
-Don't lose your chance and but know wihtout doubts, you will be
impressed with results!
Clisk here: http://depiramide.info
So it wasn't about a baseball game at all! She thinks I have a tiny penis! Damn you, Lynne Easley! You had me all worked up thinking I was going to a baseball game, and you just wanted to tell me to get some male enhancement. Way to ruin a guy's day!
And we're rolling... - 01.24.2006
Well, like I said in my last blog, I got a lot on my mind. And with that, I’d like to spell out my New Year’s Resolutions for 2006. According to my mother, things happen a lot quicker if you write them down, so here it goes:
1. Lose weight.
Duh. Isn’t that everyone’s first Resolution? But at least where I am right now, I’m on my way to doing that so it should be “Continue to Lose Weight.” I’m probably jinxing myself since my next weigh-in is this Thursday, but as of now I’m more than 15 pounds down and on my way back to my maximum weight-loss number, which was 38.6 pounds before I lost focus and gained a crapload of it back.
2. Control my finances.
This one should be simpler than it was in the past, since Cheryl and I did some budgeting last week. And we both have a wedding to start saving up for late next year, so here’s hoping that by summer time, we can put a deposit down.
3. Get my writing out there.
For those that know me, I have a book already out. (“From Parts Unknown” available on amazon.com and all other online booksellers) But I did that through iuniverse.com, so that doesn’t count to me. I’d much rather get paid for my writing than have to pay someone else to get it out there. I got to contribute to a Giant Magazine article, and got paid a bit for that, but it’d be nice if I got credit for something I did. So I’m making the resolution to get out my scripts (those that can still be sold) and short stories, finish my play, and get another book in the works. And speaking of writing…
4. Do some specific Scene Anatomy 101 columns.
My readers will enjoy this. These are the movies I intend to cover in some way, shape or form this year:
The Phantom of the Opera (2004)
Tucker: The Man and His Dream
Wes Craven’s New Nightmare
In the Mouth of Madness
Kill Bill, Vol. 1 & Vol. 2
The Godfather Part II
The Godfather Part III
The Matrix Reloaded
The Matrix Revolutions (All three of these will deal with Neo & The Oracle.)
Dominion: Prequel to The Exorcist
Bram Stoker’s Dracula
Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein
There’s plenty more that come to mind, but these are the 20 that I want to cover at some point this year. As always, suggestions are welcome.
5. Apply to Grad Schools.
I’d like to eventually teach. This should help.
So, I got five big resolutions to tackle this year. Now, let’s see if I can actually stick to them…
And we're rolling... - 01.23.2006
HENRY FRANKENSTEIN: He’s just resting, waiting for a new life to come.
It’s only been a few days since I sent them out, and I’m both anxious to get a response and scared to death once I get it. Last week, I sent my first five query letters to five different literary agents. I’ve sent out query letters for other writing projects before, but this is the first time I got a little bit of a charge and starting looking back at my other things I’ve written. There are the different screenplays, the novel which I self-published but can still shop around, some short stories and my sci-fi television series. Some of these things I haven’t looked at in years, which prompts the question, are these projects dead? And if so, can they be brought back to life?
HENRY FRANKENSTEIN: The neck's broken. The brain is useless. We must find another brain.
One project that is definitely dead and buried is “When Opportunity Meets Preparation.” It’s too bad; it was a fun one to write. The basic gist of it shows a group of guys closing out their last year of college and one of them helping out the main character by hooking him up with his girlfriend to “relieve him” of his virginity. I wrote a one-act play of this story during my second semester of my freshman year, and it went over huge. It even got me an A on the final and on the class as a whole. Then I blew it up into a feature-length screenplay in the summer of ’96. It came out pretty good, but I could tell it needed some cutting down. A 147-page comedy just wouldn’t work. The problem was that I just didn’t feel it. It was good, but it didn’t set my world on fire. And to make matters worse, last year “The 40-Year Old Virgin” came out in theaters. It was one of the funniest movies I’d seen in years, easily one of my favorites last year, but it handled the spine of my script in a much better way. So… that one’s dead. Salvageable, sure, but the main element of that script is a goner.
HENRY FRANKENSTEIN: The brain you stole, Fritz. Think of it. The brain of a dead man waiting to live again in a body I made with my own hands!
I’d have to say that, after Scene Anatomy 101, the next one to go out is “Submission.” Now, this is a story that I’m very fond of, and it’s the perfect example of salvaging your own material and turning it into something completely different. Back in ’95, I started writing a trilogy of short film scripts called “Phoenix Rising.” It had a fairly extensive backstory to it with plenty of mysticism and heroic characters confronting ancient demons, but it was scripted with a non-existent budget in mind and to be set in the present time. It was fun to write, but by 1999, when I looked back at the stories, I lost my love for them. But I had such cool character names – Kyle Flyte, Lord Vornakai, and others – and I thought I’d do something with them in a different story.
Then I came up with the idea for a fighting video game. I jotted down the basic storyline for a wrestling-based video game, then wrote up a treatment if it were ever to become a movie, then wrote the script itself. Originally called “Manhunter,” the script went on to win an award – Best Futuristic Drama – at the NY Int’l Independent Film & Video Festival. (I ran unopposed, but screw it, it was still an award!) During the next couple years, I started writing the novel for the script, and called the book “From Parts Unknown” after changing the script’s title to “Submission.” I published the novel myself through iuniverse.com and it’s on sale there and on amazon.com right now. In 2003, I showed it to an executive at Alcon Entertainment. He liked it, but passed on it and gave me some pointers to make it better. Then, after implementing those changes, a friend of mine looked at it and suggested other things. Now, I think the script is ready. I’m currently getting a query letter set up for that, and who knows what will become of it?
HENRY FRANKENSTEIN: You're quite sure you want to come in? ...Very well.
[Locks door and pockets key.] Forgive me, but I'm forced to take unusual precautions.
Then there was the first screenplay I ever wrote, “Seeking Retribution.” It’s a low-budget action thriller with a comic book edge to it. Out of all the scripts I’ve written, this one has the most possibilities. As it is now, it plays as a second part to a trilogy, but stands firmly on its own. There are hints that look back to the first part, which only exists as a short film script called “Something to Believe In.” (It was filmed by my friend Carlos in 1998 during my senior year in college. Playing the lead female was Kristine Byers, who went on to become a Smart Ones model for Weight Watchers, the female lead in the Dean Cain film Dragon Fighter, and is now seen on Bowflex commercials. Keep an eye out for her.) I’m thinking of sending this off next, after Submission. No harm in taking a shot at it.
HENRY FRANKENSTEIN: Crazy, am I? We'll see whether I'm crazy or not!
And then to finish off my front line of material, there is my sci-fi epic series, “Task Force.” I’m both thrilled as hell to send this out and scared to death at the same time. There’s so much that I have riding on this, so much material that is meant to span over 3 seasons of television, 2 films after the series, 2 prequel films, and 5 more films to showcase the son of the series’ lead character. It’s my own frickin’ universe! I’ve written short stories about them, in high school, college and in the present. I have a whole collection of music that inspired different title sequences, scenes, almost entire movies. I have a full outline for the series, as well as outlines for the stories that follow it and come before it. And I have to hand over 20 years of work to someone else, who may just toss it into the nearest trash can. That’s a little intimidating.
The main problem with all of these works is that I’m my own worst critic. I believe in these scripts. I love them as much as I love my fiancée, which is with all my heart. The hump I need to get over is how to showcase that love in 25 words or less, and with the confidence that this material is worth the trip to the silver screen. What I have now is…
EXEC: So, what’s “Seeking Retribution” about?
ME: Well… umm… it’s about, >ahem<, it’s about these three guys… heh, heh…
Door slams in my face.
So, basically, the only thing standing in the way of me selling these projects is ME! Writing the scripts and knowing the stories isn’t good enough. What I need to have is the pitch, the treatment, the query letters all set up. And more than anything, I need the confidence in myself to get it all done. Once I get that, then it will be like lightning to a stitched-up corpse, and then my characters will come to life. Then I’ll know what it’s like to be God.
HENRY FRANKENSTEIN: Dangerous? Poor old Waldman. Have you never wanted to do anything that was dangerous? Where should we be if no one tried to find out what lies beyond? Have you never wanted to look beyond the clouds and the stars, or to know what causes the trees to bud? And what changes the darkness into light? But if you talk like that, people call you crazy. Well, if I could discover just one of these things, what eternity is, for example, I wouldn't care if they did think I was crazy.
And we're rolling... - 12.30.2005
George H. Sirois began writing as far back as 1985 with a collection of sci-fi character profiles. In 1990, he continued to develop the characters he created with a series of short stories, and then quickly moved into the realm of playwriting in 1994.
In 1996, he wrote his first feature-length screenplay titled “Seeking Retribution.” He graduated from Marymount Manhattan College in 1998, with a BA in theatre arts, and has since then, created a steady stream of screenplays, comedic sketches and short stories.
In July of 2002, he completed his first novel, “From Parts Unknown” – based on one of his screenplays. That same year, his first play – a musical he co-wrote called “Halloween at Belvedere: A Monster Musical Adventure – was produced by the Central Park Conservancy, and was performed at Belvedere Castle on every Halloween weekend until 2004.
Between May 2001 and December 2002, Sirois wrote various editorial columns for www.prowrestle.com and www.itwillfail.com, covering topics ranging from movies to wrestling to critics to moving on with life after 9/11.
In May of 2004, he was accepted into the ranks of 411mania.com, where he writes his regular column, “Scene Anatomy 101.”
In 2005, he was asked to come aboard an up-and-coming theatre company called Inch/Mile Entertainment and serve as a writer and literary manager. His first production under the Inch/Mile banner – a one-act play called “On Line” – was performed in May of the same year as part of the first annual Inch/Mile Play Date.
Sirois continues to write for 411mania on a regular basis and is developing his second book, as well as play for Inch/Mile based on one of his short stories. He is also slowly developing a science-fiction television series based on the characters he created over twenty years ago.