The Reel Deal and Other Bad Jokes
Friday, December 31, 2004
Movies You Need To See
Here's my list of movies you need to see if you want to be able to say you know anything about movies. In other words--the classics. I don't care if you like them or not. In no particular order:

1. Pulp Fiction--"Does he look like a bitch!?" Tarentino's finest. Hard to make sense of, but so badass and entertaining I'm still working on my interpretation.

2. Resevoir Dogs--"SHUT THE FUCK UP! I'm fuckin' dyin' here!" You have to pause and think..."Y'know, he's got a point."

3. Kill Bill, both of 'em. "So if any of you sons of bitches have got anything else to say, NOW'S THE FUCKING TIME!" I'm not going to say which is better; it's like Macs v. PCs.

4. A departure from Tarentino--Swingers. "Look at this face. This is the guy behind the guy behind the guy." Ultra-low budget, ultra-high returns. It's just...unique.

5. Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels. "It's been emotional." Funny as hell and very snappy.

6. Snatch. "Do you know what 'nemesis' means? A righteous infliction of retribution manifested by an appropriate agent. Personified in this case by an 'orrible cunt... me." Some say it's exactly the same as #5. I wouldn't go that far; it's similar in style, certainly, but I loved the style. You can't help but love it. Note it's position in IMDB's top 250. A movie's got to be good to be there at all. Wait. Why am I saying this? I don't have to justify anything to you.

7. Shaun of the Dead. "Can I get... any of you cunts... a drink?" Best/funniest zombie movie ever. Still good if you don't like zombie movies. Which I don't.

8. Sin City. "You already made a big mistake yourself: You didn't flush." Think about that quote. Sin City isn't out yet, but the trailer is enough to put it on my list of both favorites and classics. It's a bold statement for a bold movie.

9. The Maltese Falcon. "What else is there I can buy you with? " The noir flick.

10. Casablanca. "Here's lookin' at you, kid." I haven't seen this. I need to.

11. Equilibrium. "Are you playing with me, Cleric!?" This should be higher on the list, but keep in mind order has no place on this list. Active lighting, great story, great action (in fact any action fan will come in their pants upon witnessing some of these scenes) great acting.

12. GoodFellas. "But, I'm funny how? Funny like a clown? I amuse you? I make you laugh? I'm here to fuckin' amuse you?" It's a classic, but I didn't really care for it.

13. Fight Club. "I am Jack's smirking revenge." I'm not gonna talk about it.

14. The Cooler. "That guy is kryptonite on a stick." Damn it's good. That is all.

15. 28 Days Later. "The end is extremely fucking nigh" The protaginist's introduction. So alone. So very...alone.

16. Star Wars. "Vader's about to smack a bitch up in the hizzy!" Preferably the classics, but you might as well see the prequels too. Um. I made up the quote. I admit it.

17. The Lord of the Rings. "I see in your eyes a fear that would take the heart of me!" Obligatory.

18. Ferris Bueller's Day Off. "The sportos, the motorheads, geeks, sluts, bloods, waistoids, dweebies, dickheads - they all adore him. They think he's a righteous dude." This is an excellent example of fucking good timing as applied to editing. Especially the scene where Ferris is running home. And the bit with Charlie Sheen..."There's someone you should talk to." Jeannie says, "If you say Ferris Bueller, you lose a testicle." Sheen, deadpan: "Oh, you know him?"

19. Another John Hughes film, The Breakfast Club. "Eat my shorts." Fuck the establishment!

20. Buffalo Soldiers. "There's basically two types of guys in the army- the motherfuckers and the motherfucked." I like a good fucked-up movie. This is one of those movies.

21. Full Metal Jacket. "I'll bet you're the kind of guy that would fuck a person in the ass and not even have the goddam common courtesy to give him a reach-around. I'll be watching you!" The first half is the best.

This post will be linked on the sidebar and updated as I see fit. I have no intention of putting any of the Godfather films on this list, because I give less than a shit about them. I don't know why; it's just that I rented one and turned it off because it was so boring. I'm probably wrong about this whole trilogy, and I'll see them at some point through some diabolical Clockwork Orange scheme. But they're not going on the list. Sorry. Only I'm not.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004
Thumbs? We don't need no steenkin' thumbs!
Hello, my name is Collin. I'm a long time reader, first time poster. Thank you, Justin, for inviting me to be an occasional contributor to your blog. I hope I don't screw it up.

Since I need to stick to a movie theme and don't work anywhere near the movie industry, I figured I would offer my opinion of movies I've recently seen. You people may not agree with my reviews, but as long as we can all agree to disagree there's no need for a straight razor fight in a dark alley. Fair warning: I'm nimble for a fat man.

First up is "Lemony Snickett's A Series of Unfortunate Events" (2004)

Rotten Tomatoes Rating (at time of review): 69%

I've been a fan of the 'A Series of Unfortunate Events' books for over a year now. I bought the series for my son last Christmas and had read up to book 7 myself before getting sidetracked.

The movie incorporates the first three books into a single telling and that required a certain amount of fiddling with the story lines. Essentially, the movie starts with the beginning of book one, goes about halfway then jumps to book two, then three, then back to book one for the ending. It sounds a bit confusing, but unless you've read the books you won't even notice. And if you have read the books you might find it somewhat annoying. That's one of the problems with book to movie conversions. You can't please everyone.

I really enjoyed the movie though. The pacing was good, the art direction and the effects were wonderful and really appealed to my taste and the casting was overall spot on. Especially Jim Carrey's performance. I'm not much of a fan of Carrey, but he handled the character of 'Count Olaf' perfectly.

My rating: Very Good-Great. I will be buying this within a week of when it comes to DVD.


And last night we saw "The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou" (2004)

Rotten Tomatoes Rating (at time of review): 48%

I'll lead this one off by saying that I LOVED Wes Anderson's movie "Rushmore" (1998) and on the strength of that love I purchased "The Royal Tenenbaums" (2001) on DVD without having seen it. I wasn't as thrilled by that after watching it. It was a good film overall, but at the end I was left with a feeling of, "Eh."

I would place "The Life Aquatic..." between those two. I enjoyed the playfulness of the film. Some of the scenes really worked great while others were not so good. Bill Murray helped save the movie for me and Willem Dafoe's performance also stood out. Also the few occasions when Jeff Goldblum was in a scene it was quite amusing. The scene with Jeff, Bill and the three legged dog ("What's your dog's name?") was as funny as it was unexpected.

My rating: Good. I liked bits of it, but not enough of the whole experience. I may rent it or borrow it from my brother if he buys it to see if it has grown on me over time.


And there you go.
Monday, December 27, 2004
"There's children throwing snowballs / instead of throwing heads / they're busy building toys / and absolutely no one's dead!"
The last quote was from "The Great Escape."
No one really ever asks me questions. If there's anything you want to know about me, what I do, how I feel about whatever, favorite movies--wait, there's a top ten post coming for that--or anything else, ask me via comment, e-mail or IM and I will put an answer in the FAQ as well as tell you on the spot. Unless I don't.

This is a little late, but I was over at Jack's reading about his nostalgia for the days of long past, lost in the mists of time, a forgotten era--yes, when Jack was a child. Hard to imagine I know. This got me thinking about why I still enjoy Christmas to a large degree, even though I've grown out of believing in Santa and I'm rather annoyed by the commercialism surrounding the holiday.

I've definitely gotten over Santa Claus. It happened when I was about four or five, I just had this suspicion...number one, this whole Santa Claus thing sounded like this thing I was learning about in school, a "metaphor," or a "story," also called a "lie," and number two, I knew my parents had the presents, 'cause I was a nosy little bastard and I'd seen them. There was a little room I wasn't allowed to go into at a certain time of year, especially after I went in to check it out (told you I was a nosy little bastard). One year I was followin' my dad around and he let me watch him wrap up a present for my mother, a pair of very nice scissors. That sentencce was not well-constructed, but if you're any kind of idiot you should be able to tell that the present was a pair of scissors, for my mother, who is not a pair of scissors. Anyway...

The night before Christmas, I was just so full of the knowlege I was privy to that, to be frank, it overflowed. I pointed at the present and extrapolated to my mother about it. "Hey Mom, guess what? That's your present. I'm not going to tell you what it is, but, on Christmas, you'r going to open your present, and, and, and--OUT POPS THE SCISSORS!"

Thus was born our family's version of "he spilled the beans."

"And...out pops the scissors."

But back to Santa Claus. Obviously the jolly fat man didn't exist, but I wanted to be in on the whole thing. So I simply transferred it to my dad, who had the beard and seemed to be the supplier of presents. The phrase "Shouldn't Santa and Mrs. Cluas be getting up to the workshop (attic) to wrap some presents?" gets pretty common around our house in the weeks preceding Christmas. Not that I say it. Not anymore, I mean.

So that's why I never really had a problem with the holiday due to loss of belief--I knew the facts of the matter in the first place.

Christmas still means something to me. It means being together with friends and family, celebrating the fact that we made it another year by showering each other with gifts. I gotta admit that I am fond of all the loot.
Sunday, December 26, 2004
"I'm going... out."
Re-published with respect to Jon's Jail Journal. Last movie quoted was Pulp Fiction. Obviously.

Twas the night before Christmas
And all through the cells,
The convicts were locked down
Madder than hell.
Except for the lifers
Kicked back on their bunks
With heads filled with visions
Of all of these grumps.
When suddenly from the roof top
There arose such a roar
That the cops thought
It must be a riot for sure.
The goon squad came running
Ready to hit
And the Sergeant yelled out,
"Who started this shit?"
"It came from the roof,"�
Sniveled some low life snitch.
"Must be a break out.
Oh! Son of a bitch!"
They climbed to the rooftop
By way of the stairs
And found a fat freak
In bright red underwear.
"Ho! Ho! Ho!"� said the dude,
"I'm here on the scene�."
"Good Lord," said the Captain
"We've captured a Queen!"�
They yelled, "Hey you in the sleigh,
Get your hands on the wall."�
Then slapped on the cuffs
And searched him an all.
They booked him, and threw him
In the hole with a kick;
Well, so much for Christmas
They've busted St. Nick!
Saturday, December 25, 2004
It's Here...Inside My Mind
I went to see Andrew Lloyd Weber's The Phantom of the Opera last week and have been unable to get the music out of my head. I wouldn't categorize myself as a "phan" and I would probably have been better served not to watch it with one, as he sang along under his breath the whole time. But on the whole it was a good movie, bravo!

(I'm sorry I don't know anything about movies, editing, cinematography, lighting, etc. but Justin assured me this was not a prerequisite)

The main story of The Phantom of course is of a psychotic genius (Opera Ghost, OG, Eric) and a rich, young viscompt (Raoul), both in love with a beautiful opera singer (Christine), torn between her innocent childhood love for Raoul and her desire for the dark side. You know the story; it's one of the basics.

One of the delightful little gimmicks of the story is that it is framed, a flashback story. I shouldn't say much; I don't want to ruin it for those of you unfamiliar with the work. The brilliance of this adaptation for me lies in the difference between the past and present. First of all, the past is in color and the present in black and white; quite novel. And the cool thing about the black and white is the grainy quality of it, very old-timey (that's a technical term, dontcha know). And the initial transition between the two is spectacular. It's like magic rolling through the opera house, shining the statues and sweeping away cobwebs and restoring this dilapidated grey place to the splendorous and extravagant theatre of old. Oh, it gives me goosebumps.

The acting is good, the soundtrack is spectacular. Gerard Butler is everything the phantom could ever hope to be: sexy, sadistic, impassioned, ingenious, heartbreaking. The set is beyond comprehension. It's everything a stage show could never really have. Joel Schumaker directed it and has an uncanny understanding of perspective. Things appear to the viewer as they appear to the subjects in question. A corridor seems creepy when one person walks down it and magically mysterious when another does. The camera-work is sometimes frenetic, sometimes peaceful, always captivating and apropos. It's a masterpiece.

Anyway, it comes highly recommended by an actress/singer who watches too many movies for the well-being of her checkbook. If that means much to you, go see it. I know I will be there tomorrow and Tuesday nights. Come see it in Boise if you're nearby; we can say hi. If not, January whatever will be a good day for you all, I'm sure.
Wednesday, December 22, 2004
"Man, I don't even have an opinion."
I don't even have to identify the lasty movie quoted, it was so easy. Now--how come I don't see any pictures of Catherine Zeta Jones?
I gotta get someone on here who can talk editing and cinematography with me. At least story. We'll probably get to the story after a bit though.

I'm gonna do a FAQ/Glossary post and put a link to it on the sidebar, so you guys know what the fuck I'm talking about.

Where was I? Right. Fifteen minutes late.

To make up for being late, I busted my ass as much as possible. The area was some sort of weird hybrid of theater and sound stage, with exits on all for corners. Derek and I ran stingers (extension cords) to all available circuits (8). We had a sort of mottled forest green/brown backdrop out on a couple of bars with elephant ears on Hi-Hi's. Uhm...look, we had a backdrop. Surrounding the actor we put a shitload of Kino-Flos (color-corrected for film flourescents) and a couple of Chimeras (more soft light). Chimeras have a tent-like shade that directs the light from the bulb, and Greg had some flexible egg crate (grid) filters to diffuse it some more.

Once our lighting setup was done, it was time to eat. Not the best craft service I've ever had--the hoagies has been sitting in their boxes a while--but they were gourmet hoagies. Back to the set.

Derek and I had to slate the scenes and time the shots. On a commercial, time of your shots is crucial, since commercial spots do have a certain time limit. Whoever's running the commercial pays big money for every second of air time.

The slate is that clickity-clackety thing you see in front of deleted scenes or outtakes on DVD's special features sometimes. The guy running is is the clapper. the clapper is the loader as well, thus clapper/loader. Both tasks are simple, but there's just enough to it to make it challenging, and with one's reputation on the line, you've got to nail it every time. The clapper has to time the slate just so. On cue from the sound guy, "marker," and clap the sticks, hold it a fraction fo a second, get the fuck out of there and then freeze, so as not to affect the sound in any way. The sticks I was using in this instance had timecode that started whenever you lifted the top sticks.

The loader has a tent or a loading bag so as not to expose the film to light at all, which means he has to take the film out of the can and load it into the mag entirely by touch. I'm going to learn up on it, it's a job I want.

DAY 1: Smooth. Next we're at the hospital.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004
It's On!
I'm not eloquent or brilliant or capable of posting a plethora of images, but one thing I always have done is put myself out on a limb. I am quite contrary, you know. Anything to pick a fight. I was the communist in my government class and the mother who believed in spanking in my Home Ec class. I think Pro-Life and Pro-Choice are stupid terms...

That said, I think Sean Connery is a parody of himself, much like Snoop Dogg or Elton John. I also think Mel Gibson is overrated, Denzel Washington was hotter as a young man, Pamela Anderson is superbly sexy, and Cher has been having a farewell tour for nearly three years...enough said.

I agree with you on Robert Redford who was beautiful as a young man and is now devastatingly handsome as an older man. Meryl Streep is also fabulous.

I guess what I'm really trying to say is that yes, we have a lot of Dustin Hoffmans and Susan Sarandons and Pierce Brosnans and Renee Russos. But for every Bette Davis there's a Liza Minelli. Some people do their best films at forty, some people do their best films at fourteen. What's most important to remember with celebrities and life. Everyone ages; those who accept it with grace and dignity seem to be the ones who wear it well. But aging is a little like dying, so no one really gets around age spots, wrinkles, sagging, ear and nose hair, tissue paper skin, etc.

Anyway, enough of my babbling...Anyone seen Closer?
Monday, December 20, 2004
You're not getting older you're getting hotter!
Does it ever make you think?
When you hear tale of the 'Old Actors Home'?
Do old actors really have a 'Home'?
Well if there is... these are folks you can count on not making it there.

Here are some of the people that I think are getting older and hotter:

I think a perfect example of getting hotter is Sean Connery.
Did you ever see him in "Darby O'Gill and the Little People?"
Lord... what a dork!

I can't believe he turned into this...

And this...

Just think... who else would have been able to handle Pussy Galore or Gold Finger?
Sean is the man!

And Robert Redford...
I'm beginning to get warm fuzzies in my... uh... socks just thinking of him.

And just look at the work he has done to help movie students achieve their dreams.

And through it all... he manages to act and direct.. my hero!

Denzel Washington:

Mel Gibson

Johnny Depp

Meryl Streep

And not Pam Anderson either! She's getting older and hotter (and has the doctors bills to prove it)

No problem... but shouldn't she have invested in some acting lessons too?

Look at this girl...
SHE spent her boob money on acting lessons!

That offends you?
Look I don't see anything wrong with eye candy, but I don't think we'll be looking at a 50 year old Pam nominated for her first Academy award at the age of 105.
But Cher did that... also very surgically 'enhanced', but Cher has more talent in one of her fake fingernails than Pam has in both of her fake boobs.
Yes they are fake... she had them removed, then she had them put back in, like a week later. Apparently she was miserable with her real boobs, but still being health conscious, she has opted for saline over silicone this time.

I really would like to see Cher try that... "I want the ribs the doctor removed put back in NOW"!

"Sorry Cher, my dog buried 'em in the back yard".

Okay, Cher didn't really have any ribs removed, but that is one of the most gruesomely awesome tabloid lies I have ever heard... I love it.
They just don't make up enough stories about celebrities removing body parts.

OOOOPS... Well maybe she should just stick to the acting.

So tell me this, who do you think is getting better with age?
And who do you think will be the next Redford, Gibson, Meryl Streep or Cher?

Come on tell me... don't be chicken.
You can't be wrong... it's just your opinion.
Well... except for Justin... this will be on next weeks test.

Sunday, December 19, 2004
Makeup final

bloody horns, originally uploaded by TheWrathOfKuhn.

Remember when I talked about Maekup class? This was the final that I did. Joey rolled his eyes back in his head all by himself. It's a demon-possessed black Civil War-era Hitler.

Yeah...I planned it that way.

Saturday, December 18, 2004
"Dodgeball is a sport of violence, exclusion, and degradation."
This one's a gimme. Previous one was "Mallrats." I need to watch some more obscure movies or get some more obscure quotes.
Well, I've got one member so far. I don't think that's quite enough to initiate a discussion yet, but don't worry Sam--when I get just a few more volunteers to participate in this little experiment, it's on.

I was on a paid crew recently. Here's the lowdown.

I was working on my wardorbe project last Thursday, an attempted replica of the coat from Equilibrium (quoted in previous posts), when I recieved a phone call. I didn't recognize the number. I went out in the hall and answered it. Those magic words:

"I've got work for you."

He was looking for a PA at $150 a day, which is pretty much standard unless you're unionized like those Charlotte boys at $200 a day. In fact he was looking for two PAs.

"Hey, Dollar. Want a job?"

Derrick "Dollar" Brown was the person nearest to me, so he got it. In retrospect I feel that you should only bring someone on a show if you trust them implicitly to work hard, know their shit, and not have an attitude. Also in retrospect I made a good choice with Derrick.

What it boils down to is that when someone does a bad job, they make you look bad, because that shows that you have bad judgement. No shit. Derrick and I worked together on the school project, "Uriel" (what happened to the fucking link button on this damn thing?) as Gaffer and Key Grip. I believe I've mentioned I was Key Grip. We worked together quite well. Derrick is a hard worker with something between his ears. Now that I think back, we made a good team on Uriel. Likewise we made a good team on the commercial (it was a warm-and-fuzzy spot for a hospital).

Some people know their shit, but they have an attitude. I'm not even going to attempt to disguise that I'm talking about Red here, because he'd know who he is. He knows his shit, as far as I can tell. I'm not the Grand Grip Poobah or anything, so maybe someone like Greg (gaffer on the commercial) would judge better. Red likes the gaffer position.

Red's problem is that he has an attitude. His dad worked as a camera op and 1st AD. The 1st AD is the set boss. Isn't that the director? No. The director is the set god. The AD greases the wheels of the production so the director doesn't have to, and has considerable power. After you do it for a while you're used to the power, and maybe it can go to your head. Maybe you tend to take charge in the wrong situations at the wrong times. Whatever. All I know is, Red's dad took a teaching position. Last resort? I don't know. I'd like to teach a few young bucks (more on that phrase later) a few tips of the trade...when I've done enough to prove that I know 'em in the first place. But I'd much sooner work. My point is that Red has the exact same tendancy. He bogarts shit incessantly. My computer; my camera; and my kitchen, by not cleaning up, which especially pisses me off. On set, that kind of behaviour could get you fired, or at least not invited back, since once you're on board it's often too late to hire someone else, especially on a three-day commercial shoot. In Red's defense, he was 2nd Assistant Camera (AC) on Uriel, and he had his shit together and didn't step on anybody toes. In rebuttal of that, I wasn't around him that much, and more importantly I wasn't in his department. So...

The jury is out on Red. I'll keep thinking about it. I'd rather he prove himself one way or the other without my reccomendation.

Working on a shoot is a harrowing experience, most especially if you're a newbie. Every time you fuck up, no matter how minor the fuck up, you die a little inside, expecting the guy forking out the money to come over and tell you that the crew is actually "overmanned" and that you can "take the next three days off." Then the only option is to move a few states away, because no one will hire you now. So you see, freelancing is by definition unsteady work, if well-paying. So if you fuck up, you've fucked yourself.

Now, punctuality especially is prized in the film business, and by my dad as well. So, I too consider it a fine thing indeed to be punctual, since it was badgered into my tonker at an early age. With all the preceding information in mind, imagine how I felt when I pulled up a whole fifteen fucking minutes late.
Sunday, December 12, 2004
"What, like the back of a Volkswagon?"
Ok, I'm liking this group blog idea. So. E-mail me at justinkuhn@mail.com and request to join the blog and in all likelihood, if you're request e-mail is well-composed, I'll get you on this thing. Writing a lot is not neccessary. Like if you want to contribute like one post a month, that's perfectly fine. Just make it interesting and related to the film industry somehow. It could be a review, it could be your personal thoughts on the people who make the movies (like, an article detailing the top ten hottest actresses of the [pick a time period] is just fine. I'm gonna try and hook up some photohosting), it could be something on the making of a film or a particular aspect of filmmaking--damn near anything. It just has to have something to do with the film industry.

Saturday, December 11, 2004
"You're the kind of guy who would beg for sex. And I should know, we can smell our own."

Last movie quoted was "The Maltese Falcon." I can't believe I haven't seen it before now.

I think that it'd be fun to start a group blog about movies. Maybe I'll turn this into a group blog and then I won't have to post so much. Naturally I would be the moderator and thus have the power. The topics covered would include anything about filmmaking, like your experience crewing such-and-such a commercial the other week, or movie reviews, or movie ideas, or bitching about stuff that you hate in movies, It'd be awesome. I just need some people who are interested.

If you know anything about the blog world, then you know Steve the Mildly Unwell Bastard. Steve told me a very amusing story the other day. He made me swear not to tell anyone else, and so I immidiately decided to blog it, since nobody reads this damn thing, in fact they avoid it like the plague. So naturally it was the best way to keep my word.

Here's how it went: Steve is visiting with an older friend. They're talking for a while and then this friend, Issac, asks him a favor.

"My feet are cold. Would you be so kind as to go get me my sneakers please?"

Steve doen't run errands for just anybody, but Issac has been very good to him in the past, a mentor even. So he goes upstairs. On his way to his friend's bedroom he passes the room that Issac's daughters share. Steve notices that they both have great big tits. Steve always notices great big tits. They're both freckly redheads, and Steve can tell that baby and baby have got some serious back.

Steve being the adventurous and and quick thinking sonofabitch that he is, he strikes up a conversation instantly.

"Hi, ladies! Your daddy sent me up here to have some sex with you!"

They're both rather nonplussed, but at the same time intrigued. Of course. The one says doubtfully, "I think you're full of shit."

Steve grins. "OK, let's check!" He shouts downstairs at Issac.


Comes the reply: "YES, BOTH OF THEM DAMNIT!"

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