Sunday, March 04, 2007

Are you happy with your detergent?

Here’s the meme that went around the screenwriters' blogs. I've been 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. I still haven’t recovered.

TWO (2) favorite lines from movies:

From ARTHUR by Steve Gordon:

Arthur: Do you know what I'm going to do? I'm going to take a bath.
Hobson: I'll alert the media.
Arthur: Do you want to run my bath for me?
Hobson: It's what I live for.
[Arthur exits]
Hobson: Perhaps you would like me to wash your dick for you... you little shit.

From THE LADY EVE by Preston Sturges:

Jean Harrington: They say a moonlit deck is a woman's business office.

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 (I used to throw Neil Young out of the Wallich's Music City listening booths for smoking pot in the store's front window)
Comic strip artist (I had to come up with one joke a week, the pressure was unbearable)
Broadcasting teacher ("today I'm going to teach you how to announce the weather.")

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, author of ARTHUR. And tomorrow I'll tell you all about him.

In the meantime, one more quote from the movie.

Hobson: Normally, someone would have to go to a bowling alley to meet someone of your stature.


Anonymous said...

One of my favorites:

Susan: A real woman could stop you from drinking.
Arthur: It'd have to be a real BIG woman.

I once fell in love with a guy as we traded quotes from Arthur.

Anonymous said...

Earliest film-related memory: the heroes (William Holden, Mickey Rooney, Earl Holliman Jr.) all died in "The Bridges at Toko-ri" - never seen that before, didn't realize it happened (age 9). Coming back from my own war, that movie only made more sense, as it's a tale of a guy who doesn't want to be there, who's afraid of what he has to do, and does it anyway, and of other guys who do their job. The truth of war and war-related heroism.

2 favorite lines from movies:

"Why not?" (Ernest Borgnine at the end of "The Wild Bunch")

"Round up the usual suspects" (after Julius J. Epstein told me he came up with the line while driving down Sunset Blvd past the Hollywood Athletic Club with his brother, looking at the denizens on the front steps - the same types are there today)

3 jobs I would do if I couldn't work in "duh biz" - historian, mystery writer, old airplane restoration specialist

4 jobs I actually held outside the biz: hired killer (Vietnam), hired political killer (Sacramento in the 70s, and we left all the victims still walking around like good political killers are supposed to do), professional rock 'n' roll performance photographer, professional aviation photographer (taking pictures of old airplanes from other old airplanes) which is how I got into the movie business, but that's another story.

3 book authors I like: James Lee Burke (like him well enough to be friends); Michael Connelly; Elmore Leonard; Harlan Ellison (also a friend from whom I learned much)

Two movies I'd like to remake: "Top Gun" (do it right and have a script by a writer - me - who knows it should be a movie about human beings who happen to fly airplanes, not about airplanes in which bipeds ride around); "V.I. Warshawski" (after machinegunning all Mauschwitz "development" executives, writing it like the novels, and being able to go back in time and let Kathleen Turner play V.I. without being demoralized by the script and the moron who directed it)

One screenwriter I think is underrated: my writing mentor, the late Wendell Mayes (go look him up in the IMDb, he did great stuff) who taught me everything I know about how to be a writer (which isn't the same as how to write).

Anonymous said...

Hey, Ken....

You say you like Philip Roth.

And you say you like baseball.

But you didn't like THE GREAT AMERICAN NOVEL??

Something wrong there.

My favorite line from a movie everyone else in the world hated:

Movie: "Streets of Fire"

Line: Michael Pare, telling his sister not to worry as he goes out to single-handedly rescue Diane Lane from 300 murderous thugs:

"Don't worry. They always send a bum like me out on a job like this."

Anonymous said...

Nice line from The Lady Eve, but not as good as

Jean Harrington: I need him like the axe needs the turkey.

Anonymous said...

It's a damn shame Steve Gordon departed from this costume party so early. Could have used more comedies from him.

Anonymous said...

Blues Brothers:

Elwood: It's a 106 miles to Chicago. We got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark and we're wearing sunglasses.

Jake: Hit it!

Anonymous said...

Sorry, but you've missed the boat. There is no way anyone in The Ten Commandments was worse than Edward G. Robinson. You can just see his pinstripe suit and tommy gun throughout the performance.

Anonymous said...

I remember Arthur coming out when I was, I think, 11, and I also remember paying to see it 11 times. I loved it. And I practically squealed like a little girl when I working at WB and was able to order a copy at cost. Ahh... the only fun part of working for the WB was the vast movie catalogue we were allowed to order from every Friday if you ask me. The rest of it was pure torture. Oh, and while I was one particular shopping spree, I ordered the Pam Grier box set. Hee. Couldn't resist. She was just so cool and stylin' back then. She's still cool, actually.


Anonymous said...

If Robinson was bad in the Ten Comandments, he made up to it in Soylent Green.

Unfortunately, Charles Hestson, couldn't make up for any of his acting - ALL BAD.

Most of the world gets along with cheap heros. Just give them face and a voice...

And now, Oscar winning screen writer, Ben Affleck! He should team up with "the next Orson Wells, Quentin Tarantino".

Anonymous said...

Hilarious. I thought of Edward G. Robinson right away, too. He was fun in gangster movies, see? Yeah, see? Where's your messiah now, see? It's so bad that Chief Wiggum isn't a parody, but all too accurate.

The other memorable bad movie moment is John Wayne as the biggest Roman soldier ever delivering "Truly this man was the son of Gad" like he's sitting on a horse.

It took true grit to keep him in there for that cameo. John was awesome in so many movies. I try hard to block out that image and remember the good ones.

Anonymous said...

The most quoted movie of all time - Young Frankenstien.

"This could be the beginning of an enormous schawnsticker."

Oh, wait! That's from the sequel.

Anonymous said...

"That's Fronkensteen."

Anonymous said...

Two favorite lines from movies?
This exchange from My Darling Clementine always comes to mind:

Wyatt Earp (to Mac the Bartender): You even been in love?

Mac: No, I've been a bartender all my life.

...And the best part is that Henry Fonda just nods sagely at that answer.

Anonymous said...

Favorite line from a movie, came from an obscure little 70's flick, "Mother, Jugs and Speed".

"People never suffer the way you want them to"


Warren Fleece said...

Mother, Jugs and Speed!

Which one did Raquel Welch play again...?

Anonymous said...

I had just finished rewatching The Ten Commandments about two hours before reading this entry. The worst performance in that film? Geeze, there's over 70 speaking roles to choose from. Robinson, normally a GREAT actor, is certainly terrible. (And Rob, it's "Deliverer" not "Messiah". Messiah's are for Jesus movies.)

Anne Bancroft looks so incredibly beautiful in every shot,and sounds so deep, low, and sexy whenever she speaks, that one forgives her anything. And YOU try saying "Oh Moses, Moses, you stubborn, splendid, adorable fool." without sounding ludicrous! She didn't write that dreadful screenplay.

John Derek was never a great actor, and even less so here. Charleton Heston, always dependably bad, and about as Jewish as Kristen Chenowith.

John Carradine: "Dathun and the others MADE me do it!" Whine, whine, whine.

Nina Foch to Judith Anderson: "Your tongue will dig your grave, Memnet."

The way, when Moses visits the brick pits, everyone talks to him like he's a senator on a fact-finding tour, when he's pretending to be one of them. "Beauty is but a curse to our women."

And Heston INSISTED on also playing the voice of God. Talk about megalomania; Moses wasn't enough. He had to be God too.

No, I can't pick a worst performance in that picture. But I can pick the best performance: Fraser Heston. As the infant Moses, I completely believed him every moment. He acted his father right off the screen.

Oh and Ken, that film was in Vista Vision, not Cinemascope. Fox owned Cinemascope. Commandments is a Paramount film.

The wedding night on the train scene in "The Lady Eve" is one of the single greatest comedy scenes ever.

Anonymous said...

I saw the goddamn movie when I was ten, not just two hours ago, so cut me some goddamn slack.

Anonymous said...

You sold Amway, Ken? Gee--I happened to read a book once excoriating the company for being...well, I wouldn't say a "cult", but definitely encouraging a controlling mindset among its people notable not simply for a severe political and social conservatism, but outright avarice, as well. One image I have never gotten out of my mind: the company instructing salesmen to have their children post a picture on the fridge, of something they want their dad to buy them, in order to motivate them to succeed.

Anonymous said...

At one of my former jobs we used to quote "10 Commandments" lines to each other to help the day go by faster. Try as I might, I never did get the handle on just what his wife -- was that Yvonne DeCarlo? -- said about not having lips as soft as a pomegranate but having strong hands that do work or some such thing. O, the overdoneness of it all!!!

When I was a kid in Catholic school, I had to write a report on Moses and used the movie as my basis of knowledge. Busted by the nuns!

Anonymous said...

Anyone who shares my love of the hilariously wretched dialogue of The Ten Commandments deserves to be rewarded. Here's the full text of the Sephora-Moses romantic scene between Heston and a long-winded Yvonne DeCarlo.

Sephora: She was beautiful, wasn't she, this woman of Egypt who left her scar upon your heart? Her skin was white as curd, her eyes green as the cedars of Lebanon, her lips, tamarisk honey. Like the breast of a dove, her arms were soft, and the wine of desire was in her veins.

Moses: Yes, she was beautiful, as a jewel.

Sephora: A jewel has brilliant fire, but it gives no warmth. Our hands are not so soft, but they can serve. Our bodies not so white, but they are strong. Our lips are not perfumed, but they speak the truth. Love is not an art to us; it's life to us. We are not dressed in gold and fine linen. Strength and honor are our clothing. Our tents are not the columned halls of Egypt, but our children play happily before them. We can offer you little, but we offer all we have.

Moses: I have not little, Sephora, I have nothing.

Sephora: Nothing from some is more than gold from others.

Moses: You would fill the emptiness of my heart?

Sephora: I could never fill all of it, Moses, but I shall not be jealous of a memory.

I love "Our bodies not so white." Very Borat-speak: "White women, not so much."

And "Strength and honor are our clothing." If only, but Miss DeCarlo was fully dressed, out shepherdessing in immaculate white. Very CLEAN shepherdessing.

One wonders of DeMille ised that "Nothing from some is more than gold from others" line when negotiating actor's contracts.

Oh, and Rob, even if you'd never seen a movie in your life, simply being reaised in a Judeo-Christian culture ought to be enough to teach you:

Jesus=Messiah (except to Jews and other non-Christians)

Moses=Deliverer of the Israelites.

Paris Hilton=Culture Whore.

Anonymous said...

Argh! I hate noticing the typos after posting. I meant of course "One wonders IF DeMille USED..."
And "Simply being raised..."

Anonymous said...

I am amazed at the arrogance of your cultural imperialism that you would assume I was raised in a Judeo-Christian culture. And now you sully the good name of the virginal Miss Hilton.
You have no heart, sir.
Have you no shame?

Oh, and Seymour, kiss my Shinto ass. Pickiness and condescension are unbecoming.

Anonymous said...

> 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.

My wife and I have always loved Volunteers. ("What did you learn, Dorothy?" in Gedde Watanabe's inflection is frequently heard around our house, especially when one of us has screwed the pooch in some way.)

We'd love to have a copy of your screenplay -- would you be willing to sell us one?

(This isn't a joke, I'm serious. I'd love to read your script as you meant the movie to be.)

Anonymous said...

"Pickiness and condescension are unbecoming."

True, and my big belly and double chin aren't very becoming either, but I work with what I have. Pickiness and condescension may be unbecoming, but who says I have to be becoming? The important thing is to be the best picky guy, and display the most expert condescension I can manage.

But no matter how fat, old, picky and condescending I appear, it doesn't turn Moses from a Deliverer into a Messiah.

Anonymous said...

Seymour, may Jesus deliver you, you poor sod.

Anonymous said...

Oh yeah, and Seymour, really, I assure you, that's not the important thing. Movin' on.

Anonymous said...

I will pray for you both.

Jesus said that He would come to the Jews AND the Gentiles. Was Jesus a Gentile? Did He say "first to the gentiles, but not at all to the Jews?"

Your arguments are not basied upon logic, but upon opinion and falsehoods and half-truths.

I would advise you to actually study the Bible before bringing in the heros and foundations of an entire world's faith and salvation into arguments.

The lives of so called "stars" are not for us to squabble about. If the media wants to cover up something, or hide something, they will. It's called "freedom of speech". Lies will be printed. Both of you have to realize that.

If you want to have valid arguments, too, and actually gain other people's respect, I suggest you use civil language. If you deteriorate into using language that can't be spoken in society, people will discredit your arguments and dismiss you as an uneducated animalistic person. Humans are meant for higher purposes than to behave in such a fashion.

Please don't degrade yourself by doing so.

~ One who strives to follow Christ