Friday, July 30, 2004

Fatal Seed Update

Sadly, after advancing three rounds, "Fatal Seed" didn't reach the winner's circle in the International Screenwriting Awards. But the contest had a really cool way of announcing the results online. An envelope opens up and shows the top finishes one by one -- very dramatic!

Tattoo Update

So it looks like the woman who got a skull-and-crossbones tattoo when she was 16 won that tattoo-removal contest. I can't say she was more deserving than the guy with a tattoo on his face (uh, it's on his face), but oh well.

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Bodyguard Redux

Well, the bad news is they're going to remake a "Bodyguard" movie. The good news is it's not "The Bodyguard" with Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner (how could you improve on that?) but rather "My Bodyguard," the 1980 coming-of-age story featuring Chris Makepeace, Matt Dillon and Adam Baldwin (no relation to the Baldwin brothers). As you no doubt remember, "My Bodyguard" depicted a high school kid who gets picked on by bullies (mostly Matt Dillon) and then enlists the help of a large, brutish teen (Adam Baldwin) to help protect him.

It will be interesting to see how they handle this subject matter in post-Columbine America, since picked-on kids can now simply shoot their tormentors.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Beantown Critique

Not sure I agree, but here's an interesting piece in Slate on how Boston used to be much better than it is today (if you ignored the racism, prudery, ugly freeway overpasses and terrible restaurants).

Monday, July 26, 2004

The Assistant

I've already been (erroneously) branded a reality-TV lover on another blog, and though I bristle at that characterization, I must heartily recommend the new reality show on MTV, "The Assistant." This show is freakin' hysterical. Basically these 12 kids in their late teens and early 20s come to Hollywood to try and become the assistant of an "A-List" celebrity and thereby break into the entertainment industry. Anyway, it turns out the celebrity is Andy Dick ("Newsradio"), who forces them to sleep in the garage, cut his grass with a pair of scissors, train his cat and repeatedly says, "It's elimination time, bitches." I can't really do the show justice, but it's definitely worth checking out.

Un-Tattoo You

This newspaper in Michigan is giving a free tattoo removal to whomever writes in with the best sob story. The submissions are pretty interesting. I think I'd have to vote for the first guy (who had a wedding ring tattooed on his finger, then got divorced). But I also like the woman named Cindy Lopez who thought she was Irish (Lopez?) and got a clover tattoo. She later discovered she was not indeed Irish.... OK, I just finished all the submissions: the guy with the villain tattoo on his face should win, hands down.

Hyfee

I received a delightful DVD for my birthday from Jon and Anh-Minh (henceforth referred to as Jon-Minh) by the name of "Hyfee." It's an "avant-guard" documentary about Oakland sideshows and other titillating urban activities ("hyfee" is Bay Area slang for the feeling of adrenaline; for instance, dancing on a car that happens to be on fire would qualify as "hyfee").

My favorite segment was called simply "That Drunk Shit." It featured a series of drivers -- ostensibly inebriated -- darting onto crowded sidewalks, losing control of their automobiles, etc. But perhaps the most useful parts (from a how-to perspective) were the doughnut demonstrations. I learned that it's important to slick the roads with oil before attempting a doughnut, that you should chose a spot on 61st Street in Oakland, and that doors should be opened early and often during your doughnut.

It's also evident that Oaklanders aren't afraid to carpool when attending sideshows. Often you would see four, five or 12 people per car. I'm not sure if these sideshows occurred during "spare-the-air" days, but these participants should be applauded for their ecological concern (though I wonder if the sheer amount of vaporized rubber mitigates these efforts).

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Chaucer Quote of the Day

From line 74 of the Canterbury Tales:

"His hors were goode, but he was nat gay."

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Fahrenheit Factoid

So I watched "Fahrenheit 451" last night — not the Michael Moore film, the 1966 adaptation of the sci-fi novel by Ray Bradbury. Turner Movie Classics aired the film, apparently to capitalize on 9-11 buzz, though of course the movies aren't related. I remember reading the book as a teen, but I don't think I'd ever seen this film before. Let's just say it doesn't entirely hold up (they are working on a remake, for release next year).

Before I get to my point, can I ask why 1960s movies are always so weird — but weird in exactly the same way? Women deliver bits of seemingly non sequitur dialogue in a sing-songy voice. The music is always grossly inappropriate and often confusing (as if the person making the score thought the movie was about something else entirely). Maybe it's because everyone wanted to be like Francois Truffaut, who directed this film. (I guess we can blame the New Wave.)

Anyway, as I was looking up the movie on IMDB.com, I learned a fascinating fact. Apparently the star of the film, Oskar Werner, had a major falling out with Truffaut. So he cut his hair before the last scene in order to create a continuity error. I have to admit, I didn't notice when I was watching, but still. How cool is that? As far as I know, this is the only time an actor has deliberately created a continuity error. What a bad ass!

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Fatal Seed

"Fatal Seed," a horror script I co-wrote with Sue Levin, was just named a finalist in the Hollywood International Screenwriting Awards -- selected from almost 1,300 entries! They name the winners on July 30.

I'm a bit surprised to see it advance so far because the premise is a little ludicrous...we wrote it as a b-movie horror flick. Here's the logline: A young woman escapes a religious cult only to find that she’s pregnant with the cult leader’s child. As her health deteriorates, she begins to suspect her unborn baby of trying to kill her.

As you can see, it's closely modeled on "The English Patient."

Sketchy Shows

The Screenwriter's Voice site had a good rundown of the 11 best-written sketch comedy shows of all time. It seems pretty accurate, though I'm not sure I'd put "Mr. Show" so high (Kelly hates it; I just think it's a bit overrated). And where's "Velvet Soup"?

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Parallel Parking Controversy

So apparently California driver tests no longer require you to parallel park. I have to say, this seems like a mistake. Is it really true -- as attested by people in this column -- that no one needs to parallel park anymore? I mean, I know San Francisco is a bit of an anomaly in California. But I parallel park all the time in such places as Mountain View, Palo Alto, Berkeley and Oakland. Are these people only going to shopping malls??

There's also some question as to when the parallel parking requirement was removed from the test. I can say that it was part of the Capitola DMV's test back in 1989/1990.

Friday, July 09, 2004

Family Guy

There was a nice piece on the return of "Family Guy" in the New York Times recently. I was amazed by the fact that the first "Family Guy" DVD set was the No. 3 best-selling TV DVD set ever. (Of course, No. 2 is the David Chappelle show, which is pretty surprising in and of itself... No. 1 was "The Simpsons" first season.)

Police Academy Back In Training...Again

Since I know you're all big fans of the "Police Academy" series, you'll be thrilled to hear that they're going to revive the franchise. I assume they'll go the "Starsky and Hutch" route, where they put new actors in all the lead roles while offering cameo appearances to the original cast.

So in case the producers are reading my blog, I had some suggestions for current actors to play these classic celluloid roles:

Cadet Carey Mahoney (originally played by Steve Guttenberg): Jason Biggs, or maybe Breckin Meyer.
Cadet Karen Thompson (Kim Cattrall): Rachel McAdams
Lt. Thaddeus Harris (G.W. Bailey): Ben Stiller
Cadet Moses Hightower (Bubba Smith): Shaq
Cmndt. Eric Lassard (George Gaynes): Leslie Nielsen
Cadet Eugene Tackleberry (David Graf): Will Ferrell
Cadet Larvell Jones... the sound effect guy (Michael Winslow): Michael Winslow... could anyone else replace this man? And plus he probably needs the work.
Sgt. Debbie Callahan (Leslie Easterbrook): Jenny McCarthy
Cadet Laverne Hooks (Marion Ramsey): Reese Witherspoon
Zed (Bobcat Goldthwait): Jack Black

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Make it stop!

Ack! Spurred apparently by the runaway success (???) of the "Garfield" movie, they're now going to do a "Heathcliff" film. I would ask if Marmaduke is next, but I actually think there's already a Marmaduke project in the works (seriously).

The writer incidentally worked on the recent "Stepford Wives" remake and is also scripting a remake of "Auntie Mame."


Heathcliff
Animation, Comedy
An orange cat always gets into trouble. (07/06/2004) [Comic Strip]
Buyer(s):
Production Company: Laureate Films
Producers: Gabriel Grunfeld, Barney Cohen, Ivan Cohen
Seller(s): Writer: Gabriel Grunfeld

Thursday, July 01, 2004

Casting Call for 'The Swan'

So Fox is casting for next season of "The Swan," the plastic-surgery makeover show. And apparently you can nominate a friend or loved-one to be a participant. In fact, you don't even have to be that close with the person: "If you have a friend, a rival, a cousin, a sister, mom, daughter, aunt, sorority sister, neighbor, bridge partner, golf partner a relationship of any kind with someone who also is interested in being a Swan, send us an e-mail now."

I'm thinking that if your "rival" found out that you entered them to be a contestant on "The Swan," they might not be too psyched.