Lions and tigers and snow…

I don’t know how clear I can make this – I HATE the cold.  And with the cold, comes the snow.  I like playing in the snow, but if it means that it is cold out when it is snowing then I can live the rest of my life without ever seeing snow again.

75-85 and sunny.  Blue skies.  Clean streets.  Freshly cut lacrosse fields.  That is happiness.

Notice the beach in the background.  Heaven.

Gay Marketing

AOL ran an article today discussing the Valentine’s Day trailer and how it eroneously omitted the relationship between Bradley Cooper and Eric Dane’s characters.  Claiming that it was wrong to do so.

I understand the argument… which can be two-fold.  First, it is somewhat false advertising.  False advertising may be a bit harsh, it is more like half-truth advertising.  Although the article would have you believe the former… because apparently we the audience should believe Cooper and Julia Roberts are linked because they are sitting next to each other on a plane.  Secondly, and the one I’m sure they’re more pissed about, the gay storyline is the one that got omitted from the trailer.  What if he wound up with some other chick, would they be writing an article about how Cooper’s storyline wasn’t in the trailer and this was misleading to audiences?  Clearly they believe that society is at a point where gay men and women should be accepted, and not only accepted but embraced.

This is ridiculous on a few levels.  The reality is that they are just not as accepted across America as they would like.  I don’t agree with this, as a person’s sexuality is exactly that – theirs.  Who cares who someone else is sleeping with or decides to fall in love with?  Unfortunately, a lot of people do.  Acceptance has come a long way, but we’re just not there yet.

Straight men just absoultely, 100% do not care about nor want to see homosexuality portrayed onscreen in a romantic comedy.  Being accepting of homosexuality and embracing it are not the same thing.  So, of course the studio is going to downplay this aspect of the film.  It may very well be the most intriguing and interesting relationship in the film. That is all well and good, but it will not sell tickets.  It will only hurt box office.

We make movies to make money.  When you are lucky enough to make a film, you have an obligation to that film and whoever finances it to get as many eyeballs on the film as you possibly can – and that usually means putting forth the most effective marketing campaign (or trying to at least).  Anyone that is doing this strictly for art is either fabulously wealthy or obscenely poor.  And chances are they are making movies no one will ever see.  That is not a judgement on them or their films.  It is just an honest opinion.

Big Nana… Nana Gertie… I will miss you forever.

On December 22, my nana passed away.  I don’t want to write anything about how great she was or who she was or what she did – because that will only cheapen what she meant to me.

I will just say that I loved her with all of my heart and will miss her more and more everyday.  The world already seems like an emptier place.

Love you Big Nana.

Movie Review: Blindside

Not much to say about this somewhat bland, but well-done feel good movie of the year.  I can’t stand Sandra Bullock, because she is always playing the same character – but I found myself a big fan of her in Blindside.  And that is ultimately what made me like it.

I couldn’t stand the token precocious and outgoing little kid.  I wanted to punt him.  This little rat is making his highlight reel?

Some liberties were taken with the story in terms of logic to make for a better movie, and these bothered me.  Besides the little rat, there are stacks of mail and voicemails from coaches and the husband doesn’t realize this is going on?  Seems far-fetched.

He’s at practice, his first day – and they are going right into play calling?  No drilling for him?  No assistant coaches offering instruction?  This kid has never played a down of football before and the head coach is yelling at him from up on a scaffolding?  He’s been in school for half a year and he hasn’t done a single thing related to football?

Also, what the heck happened to his boy from the first scene?  The one he’s playing basketball with?  And the guy that gets him into school?  WTF?

Movie Review: Freddy vs. Jason

I wasn’t going to write about this complete piece of shlock, but felt that I needed to vent.  Wasn’t there a studio executive, or multiple studio executives on Freddy vs. Jason?  Did they read the script?

At no point, at any second was this scary or even close to scary.  It wasn’t even that gory.  It was just lame. Complete with mediocre chicks, the Jay and Silent Bob stoner clone, the fat drunk/smoker who somehow thinks he’s awesome but in real life would get beat up for being this big of a douchebag.

Some kid gets killed at a house with another group of kids and they all go to school the next day.  Not only that, but they go to a rave that night.  Exactly.  Makes no sense.

Did I mention that the kid who gets killed’s best friend gets killed along with his dad before the rave?

And it just keeps getting worse from there.  Throw in Robert Englund hamming it up as Freddy and you have one of the worst films I’ve seen in years.

Oh… did I also mention there is a scene where Freddy plays pinball with Jason’s body in a warehouse?  Sound effects and all.


Movie Review: He’s Just Not That Into You

I spent a lot of time watching movies the last few days.  It’s one of the best things, for me, about the holidays.  When football or lacrosse is not on, family will sit through movies.  It’s better than playing charades.

So, I watched a movie I probably would never sit through in He’s Just Not That Into You.  And I can say it wasn’t a waste of my time.  It started off well, but then became a chick flick.  And I mean that in the worst way.  Obviously written by a female and/or gay guys, it became an ugly/nerd girl’s dating fantasy.  Particularly the Justin Long/Ginnifer Goodwin storyline.  Never happen.  Sorry nerds.

And I must say that Kevin Connelly was completely miscast.  How are we going to believe that he used to go out with Scarlet Johannson?  And after a date with Ginnifer Goodwin she falls for him?  He seems like a nice guy, but come on.  Seriously?  Besides that it was well-cast and well-acted.

I find myself wishing the guy who co-wrote it was more of a guy.  It would have been a much better movie, consistent with the Bradley Cooper storyline.  He was a guy who acted like a guy and had shit fall apart on him.  And kept on being a normal guy.

Special mention to film ‘living’.  Connelly and Long live together in what would probably be a multi-million dollar apartment.  Straight out of American Psycho.

Movie Review: Law Abiding Citizen

I have to admit, in the trailer/commercials when they tell us that Gerard Butler has been taking people out while still inside the jail – I was intrigued.  But I have a real distaste for Jamie Foxx.  I love him in certain roles, like Any Given Sunday… but him playing Denzel Washington doesn’t interest me.  And, although I’d say Law Abiding Citizen was okay and kept my interest throughout, it was Foxx that ultimately lost it for me.

To be fair, he was pretty good in the movie.  It was his character that bothered me.  He’s a lawyer.  A state prosecutor to be exact.  And he’s chasing Gerard Butler’s character.  However, Butler is only exacting revenge for the death of his family – a revenge he had to exact because of Foxx’s lawyering/deal cutting.  So, I never once sided with Foxx.  And then, as all of this is going down – he almost becomes a cop/SWAT team member/homicide detective.  Why is he investigating these murders?  Why is he the first one on these murder scenes?  Why is he even at a crime scene?  He’s a prosecutor.  It just didn’t make sense.  And this really, really bothered me.

Harbor Moon Artwork Finished!!

We’ve finished the artwork (and website) for Harbor Moon.  The only thing left to do is prep the book for printing.  I am still unsure when Arcana wants to release the book, but will let everyone know through here, the website and the Harbor Moon facebook page.

It came out great.  Really want to thank Karol Wisniewski, who runs the studio in Poland where it got done, for holding it together the whole way and being an invaluable resource.  You are truly a saint among hookers and thieves.

Love, Death & Family

I just went through one of the more harrowing experiences of my life and thought I would share it now, while it was still fresh in my head and heart.

Last night I slept at my grandparent’s house because they are at the point where they need someone there full-time.  It should really be a nurse or someone more qualified, but it’s just not that simple.  My grandma was in bed when I got there and my grandpa was watching Fox News, and we blasted the Democrats for a good hour before he decided to turn in.  I was pretty wiped out from Saturday night so I fell asleep during the fourth quarter of the Giant’s game.

At about 2:00am I heard some noise so I woke up.  I knew that my grandpa gets up a lot during the night to go to the bathroom, so I was ready for this.  So, he went to the bathroom and was fine.

Just after 4:00am, I heard noises again.  It was my grandpa getting up to go to the bathroom again, so I laid back down.  Then about 10 minutes last I heard a weak female voice saying ‘Help me.’  It was 4 am and no one is super sharp then, so it took me a second to get up.  As I was walking towards my grandma’s room my grandpa was yelling from the bathroom.  He was coming, but he was going to the bathroom.  And I guess he was at the sink and got his pajama pants soaked (did I mention he’s blind?) and was struggling in there.

I get to my grandma’s door and in the darkness she’s sitting on the edge of her bed… Her face pale in the moonlight and sunken in.  Her legs are so skinny they look like pipes.  Even at 83, she’s managed to keep her hair through radiation, and it wasn’t until this moment that I truly realized that my nana is very sick.  She’s got a blank look on her face and she has no idea where she is.  She recognizes me immediately, which is good.  I ask her why she’s trying to get out of bed and she has no idea.  But she weighs less than 80 lbs now and is very weak, so she can’t get back in bed.  So I help swing her legs over.  And she’s crying out, ‘Ow’ the whole time.  She has osteoporosis as well and it is mostly affecting her spine.  Her back pain has recently become unbearable for her.  It’s terrifying and sad all at the same time.  She’s clutching my hand and her grip is very tight for someone with zero meat on their bones.  I don’t know what to do, other than gently rub her back and tell her it is going to be okay.  But I’m not sure myself that it is.

My grandpa walks in, or tries to, about then and I tell him it is okay.  My nana loosens her grip and I slowly slink out of the room and help my grandpa back to his bed.

I make it back to the couch, but sleep doesn’t come.  I am afraid to fall asleep in case I miss her calling out.  Every creak, every thump of the heater causes me to jerk up.  My grandpa gets up another 3 times throughout the night, but I’m in a trance until about 7:30 when I finally hear it again… My nana calling for ‘help’.  I stagger to her room, but she’s standing in the kitchen.  She looks lost and in shock to see me.  She’s got her top on, but no pants and it is cold.  And her oxygen isn’t on her. I lead her back to her bed and help her get pants on.  I make her tea and she tries to eat, but can’t.  The pain in her back comes on strong.  She’s almost in tears and she wants to know where my mom or my aunt are.  I feel completely helpless.  I talk her back into bed and rub her back gently until she’s able to drift back to sleep until my grandpa wakes up around 9:00.

And then she’s up as if the last hour and a half never happened.  Ready for her morning tea and breakfast.

I appreciate and cherish every second I get to spend with her and my grandpa.  And in turn, have come to appreciate all the time I get to spend with my own parents.  I’m not the type of person who had a crappy childhood or ever rebelled against my parents. No one has supported me more or been there for me like they have. Everything I’ve ever accomplished on a sports field, in the classroom or in film/print – I owe to them.

Hollywood Black List – Congrats Dikran

Universal film executive Franklin Leonard released his THE BLACK LIST today. Compiled every year from the suggestions of 311 film executives, each contributes the names of up to ten of their favorite scripts that were written in, or are somehow uniquely associated with, 2009 and will not be released in theaters during this calendar year. This year, scripts had to receive at least five mentions to be included.

Link to full list courtesy of Deadline Hollywood Daily

Special congratulations to Dikran Ornekian, a 2004 Peter Stark classmate of mine and co-writer of Harbor Moon with me.  His script, The Ghost and the Wolf, written with Rylend Grant, finished with 7 votes.  That was good enough to put it 53rd out of 97 scripts.  He’s on his way to a huge career and this is only the beginning.

I have some reservations with this list – in that it is basically a marketing tool for your projects if you are an executive.  The idea is that you vote for the 10 best scripts you read.  But these execs are voting for and lobbying for projects they are associated with to catch the heat of being on the list.  Which makes it all the more incredible that a project that isn’t set-up at a studio or with a producer – or even has an agent – makes it on (such as The Ghost and the Wolf).