Monday, July 30, 2007

Sandwich Job

Today on England's Movies 4 Men network...

18:00 Tunes of Glory
A new tough commanding officer of a British regiment confronts his predecessor in this Oscar nominated movie. Alec Guinness, John Mills & Susannah York star. 1960.

20:15 Black Thunder
When the world's most powerful stealth jet fighter falls into enemy hands, only one man can get it back. Starring Michael Dudikoff.

22:00 The Glasshouse
Alan Alda is a mild man thrown into the toughest prison ruled by a ruthless gang leader. This award winning influential movie was written by In Cold Blood writer Truman Capote.

- - - So, my flick is sandwiched between an Oscar nominee and one of the best TV movies ever made (written by Capote) about the brutality of prison. I'm pretty sure someone got an Emmy on that film. Man, what the hell is BLACK THUNDER doing between those films!

- Bill

Script Tips on BLACK THUNDER:
* Tip 1 - Theme
* Tip 2 - Story Keys


Yesterday’s Lunch: Blueberry Muffin.

Movies: THE SIMPSONS... I laughed many times. They managed to parody big stupid summer movies... and still have more real emotional moments than TRANSFORMERS had... and then, just when you're feeling the emotions, they break the mood with some cynical smart ass line or event. You know, it's the Simpsons.

Without spoiling - there's a gag in the film that's funny... but it's not the gag. It's the set up for the real gag. I thought that was clever - to disguise the set up as the punchline.

They also had a great gag used a few times in the movie where Homer is in *big trouble* and looks around for a solution, and we see two or three items. One item will get Homer out of the trouble, but in a strange way. We imagine how he will use the item, how it will backfire, how much collateral damage it will cause, and after we have imagined all of this... Homer reaches for an item that has zero chance of solving his problem, but uses it anyway.

You can argue whether it's better or worse than the TV show, or whether it should just have been a 3 part TV episode, or whatever. I had a good time, and the movie really was more genuine than TRANSFORMERS and more clever than anything else out there. I think the reason why it made so much money over the weekend is because it was the safe bet - even the worst episode of THE SIMPSONS was still pretty funny.

DVD: Last night I watched an old thriller, PANIC IN THE STREETS with Richard Widmark as a CDC doctor. A guy is murdered... but he would have died anyway because he had the plague. The plague! Now it's a race-against-time search for the killer (Jack Palance)... who also has the plague and is spreading it with every person he touches. Doctor Widmark and Detective Paul Douglas have 48 hours to find Palance before creates a city-wide epidemic.

There are chase scenes and shoot outs and fight scenes and a plane chasing a plague ship and... well, it's danged exciting. It's a thriller. But it also really gets into police vs. doctors vs. city politics vs. freedom of the press vs. the public good. Because this crisis - the killer roaming the streets with the plague - requires all kinds of difficult decisions - and as they argue in a speeding car whether they should kill this guy (because he's a menace to society) or make sure they don't kill him (because they need to know everyone he came into contact with) we get to examine the way society works - and why our version may not work.

We get to look at what's right, what's wrong, what works and what doesn't work. Should they give the press the story to possibly save lives... even though that will force the killer underground and they won't capture him in time? Is freedom of the press more important than capturing a criminal? The film really digs into issues.

It also digs into character - Widmark is a low paid government doctor who hides in his work, causing problems with his wife Barbara BelGeddes and their kid. There are some great family issues going on during the crisis, including Widmark's decision *not* to get his family out of town as they get closer and closer to the crisis point. (Some of the detectives gets their families out of the danger zone).

Plus a great pair of scenes between Widmark and Douglas, where Douglas completely takes responsibility for something Widmark did - to the point of endangering his future. Because it's what Widmark wanted, he doesn't notice the sacrifice. Later, when he realizes what Douglas has done, he kicks himself a bit... then later makes everything right by taking responsibility for something Douglas has done - that could really screw up Widmark's future. (They do something similar in THE SIMPSONS MOVIE, with Marge making a big sacrifice for Homer, then later Homer must decide to do the same thing for Marge... and guess what he does?)

This is a really well written thriller, and when Widmark explains to the cops how Palance could hop a plane and spread the plague nation-wide within a day, it's really frightening. That's what could happen in the mid-40s... imagine what could happen today?

Pages: Actually pumped out a great little scene for COWBOY NIGHTS, which I had already set aside... my subconscious was still working, I guess. Also did a scene for SLEEPER... but I'm way behind on the script. On the plus side, I finished the Naked Screenwriting Class CDs - burned a few sets, labeled them, burned the bonus CD and labeled it. The class is now 9 CDs, plus the workbook... but I want to make it 10 disks, just to keep it even. So I've been looking for some classic film on DVD to include. Because it's a bonus disk, it can't really be anything that costs much, so I was looking into something like Hitchcock's THE 39 STEPS or THE LADY VANISHES which often pop up in low cost DVD versions. Searched a few retailers, found nothing. Looked online - found both titles for sale by the *pallet*. Um, don't need that many. Search continues tomorrow.


Janet said...

Hi Bill,

I taped Black Thunder last night.
Let us know if any more are showing in the UK. There are multiple Film Festivals on in London at the moment so not sure when I'll get time to watch it.
Going to see Paul Schrader talk about his new film The Walker tonight!

wcmartell said...

Crash Dive Tuesday M4M2 around the same time as Black Thuner,

Anonymous said...

Q: What the hell is BLACK THUNDER doing between those films!
A: Get Vince Connors!

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