Saturday, January 14, 2006

Tag, I'm it

Here’s the meme that’s going around all the screenwriters' blogs. I’m the latest to be tagged.

ONE (1) earliest film-related memory:

Seeing TEN COMMANDMENTS as a mere tyke and being scared shitless. Not by the special effects or torture to the Jews but by the bad over-acting. Charlton Heston and Yul Brynner in the same movie? Even Cinemascope couldn’t contain them. Both had me diving under the seat. And incredibly, they weren’t the worst offenders. That dishonor would go to Ms. Anne Baxter. She gave maybe the single worst most overblown performance in the history of film…rivaling Butty Hutton in THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH. Even Nathan Lane would say, “Whoa, bring it down.” I still haven’t recovered.

TWO (2) favorite lines from movies:

Edward G. Robinson in TEN COMMANDMENTS: “Nnnyyeah, Moses, where’s your God now?”

And any line from TOOTSIE.

THREE (3) jobs you’d do if you could not work in the “biz”:

Morning man at W.O.L.D.

FOUR (4) jobs you actually have held outside the industry:

Amway salesman (Hey, that detergent really works)
Record store clerk
Comic strip artist
Teaching broadcasting

THREE (3) book authors I like:

Philip Roth
John Kennedy Toole
Kurt Vonnegut

TWO (2) movies you’d like to remake or properties you’d like to adapt:

VOLUNTEERS. They never did justice to our script. When the movie came out I wanted to stand in the lobby and just hand out screenplays.

The other movie that I’d like to remake is THE PRODUCERS. Come on. It’s time.

ONE (1) screenwriter you think is underrated:

Steve Gordon. Wrote ARTHUR then tragically died. No one wrote better funnier witty dialogue than Steve.

He also wrote a movie starring Henry Winkler and Kim Darby called THE ONE AND ONLY about a TV wrestler, directed by Carl Reiner. It shows up frequently on HBO. Since most of you with Tivo have Kim Darby on your wish list anyway, check it out when it pops up on your menu.

And TV freaks might vaguely remember a show in the late 70’s called THE PRACTICE starring Danny Thomas as a crusty neighborhood doctor in the Bronx (Becker meets Uncle Tanoose). Steve created and wrote that show and it just crackled. I’m hoping that someday it will resurface on DVD or at least on the Lebanese channel.

Steve Gordon was…and is…an inspiration to me.


Anonymous said...

"Morning man at W.O.L.D."

Is this a Harry Chapin reference? The world lost a great songwriter, storyteller and observer of humanity when he died.


Julie O'Hora said...

Speaking of VOLUNTEERS, Ken, when do we get to hear the story?

And yeah, ARTHUR had tons of great dialogue...

Pardon me-- Oh, you're a hedge!

You're a hooker?! I just thought I was doing great with you.

Perhaps you'd like me to come in there and wash your dick for you, you little shit...

It's the perfect crime -- girls don't wear ties.

Usually one must go to a bowling alley to meet a woman of your stature.

He's taking the knife out of the cheese... D'ya think he wants some cheese?

(Sigh... It's one of those "don't get me started" films.)

Anonymous said...

Nice to see Gordon being praised. I've always loved him.

I often drop his name when people ask me about great screenwriters, and it's so sad that this generation doesn't know him, and his generation has basically forgotten him.

He was brilliant.

Anonymous said...

Minor correction,
The line from Ten Commandments is "messiah", as has been drilled into me by my indy filmmaker friend Rob Reilly, with thousands upon thousands of repetitions.
One of my favorite moments in film history. It's much more effective as a gut buster with liberal "see here"'s a la Robinson.
“Nnnyyeah, Moses, where’s your messiah now, See here?”
Also on the list is Andre Gregory's John the Baptist and Harvey Keitel's Judas with their awesome modern accents in Last Temptation. Marty's homage to Cecille perhaps?

Jaime Johnson

mernitman said...

Totally with you on Gordon, who was a great loss -- I use Arthur clips to teach rom-com, keeping his name alive.

Hey and thanks for the 24 sum-up; I was a virgin until this premiere and am now an instant addict.

Anonymous said...

Yes, you obviously have a wonderful economy with words. I look forward to your next syllable with great eagerness.

I race cars, I play tennis and I fondle women, but I have weekends off and I am my own boss.

Steal something casual.

Good luck in prison.

Don't you hate Perry's wife?

It's a tiny little country in the West Indies. Rhode Island you beat the crap out of it in a war.

They've recently had the whole country carpeted. This is not a big place.

It's 35 cents in a cab from one end of the country to the other, I'm talking small.