Archive for November, 2012

Thanksgiving, Brought To You By Beatmaster Flash

Saturday, November 24th, 2012

I tried to come up with a top 10 list of Thanksgiving movies.  I could only think of one.  I started looking around and realised its not good to put things none of us have seen. That and Thanksgiving movies are shit.

However, its time for a commercial break. From da beatmaster.

Small Town Stars

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

I guess the secret is out, The Havenots is not the first screenplay any of us here have written. However, getting back into the swing of things helped me dig in the crates and skim through many screenplay’s past sitting in the hard drive (yes, as much as the image one would like to conjure as a writer is that of one surrounded by reams of paper, its also not the 1900’s anymore either). Many of these attempts to write what one random night was a great idea (while intoxicated probably), perhaps never quite made it, got abandoned 50 pages in, or never got that rewrite.

Some of them might be worth a revision now.  I dug up a screenplay I wrote not too long ago called Small Town Stars and found a past logline/synopsis and even notes from a couple of contests that were entered with it. The screenplay managed to make the quarterfinals where it was entered which was not bad for something I felt needed a bit more polishing, but wanted to get feedback on. It certainly isn’t as polished as the Havenots, but definately worth opening the file and making some edits.  And seeing it in the files sort of reminded me of The Havenots, as its a very middle of anywhere city plot where futures look far from bright.

The plot focuses on a couple of students who dream of making movies one day, but all they see are the grim stories within their own town. But they start to lose track of what’s fictional and whats real?  Surrounded by dead end life in a dead beat middle American town, two teenagers (Ferdinand and Charlie) use their love for film as a ticket for their escape.  But with scars from the past and the town they are in, sometimes it is hard to escape.  Golden opportunities in life become downward spirals, as Ferdinand’s life becomes connected to incidents that happened a generation prior.

With knowledge starting to build of what is going on in the movie scenes, Ferdinand becomes a grown man behind the lens, but also realizes he has no way out.  As a result, there’s only one way to go from here. If he can’t beat them, join them. Sort of a dark thriller/drama perhaps.

Back To Our Regularly Scheduled Programming

Sunday, November 18th, 2012

Top tens and random ideas aside, one of the things we want to do with this website is take you through what we do, our journey so to speak as this evolves. So not just about short films and screenplays, but what we did with them, and how we went about them. Hopefully it at the least can give you a bit of advice too.

We’ve been working on promoting and/or finalizing our new pieces and here is where you have to make the most of your contacts, your network, various events, contests and more.  So we’re going to try to devote some of that time to start putting some commentary here in the coming weeks.

You’ll find more about who’s involved on this project now that this site is starting to evolve itself…. (no one cares for a site with nothing on it, so currently we’re working on keeping this at a good pace for starters), but the next gear, next step, etc is taking you through not only what we’re doing, but what we do with it.  So stay tuned.

Top Ten Stoner, Reefer, Pot Movies

Sunday, November 18th, 2012

Earlier this month, voters in Washington and Colorado voted to ease the laws on smoking trees. I’m sure there won’t exactly be Amsterdam-esque cafe’s opening up tomorrow or anything, and public use is still banned in these states, but it was surprising to hear of this. My second thought was of making another top ten list, which is no way related i’m sure. Should also say, this isn’t necessarily just stoner comedies or anything like that (some are), but flicks with it as a key component of the story.

1. Up in Smoke (1978) – Cheech and Chong’s first full length film, enough said.

2. Dazed and Confused (1993) – Black Sabbath echoing through the neighborhood as high school seniors swat down mailboxes.

3. The Big Lebowski (1997) – “The Dude”. Great twisted comedy only slightly dampened by everyone saying “The Dude” in the year or so thereafter.

4. Reefer Madness (1936) – Twisted, an old propaganda film that’s plot-wise pretty useless. It got popular many years later for reasons that differ from what the group funding the original project probably intended.

5. Halloween (1978) – Lighting one up while Blue Oyster Cult plays in the car as a psychopath follows in the rearview mirror

6. Friday (1995) – Puff puff give, puff puff give. Classic. Just don’t make a sequel too many. Too late.

7. Maryjane (1968) – Haven’t seen this, but the title says enough.

8. Grass (1999) – A modern day documentary that looks at how the US government has spent loads of time and money on drug policy strategies, hosted by who else…. Woody Harrelson.

9. Half Baked (1998) – Dave Chappelle co-wrote and carried the comedy here.

10. The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans (2009): Shoot him again, his soul is still dancing.

Other mentions.

The Trip (1967) – Written by Jack Nicholson (though more an LSD flick) back in his Easy Rider days (which also had Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda). Something tells me they “rehearsed” all parts many times….

Pineapple Express (2008) – Not sure what I thought of this movie, half of it is quite good, half of it is quite bad.  Many movies of all kinds in the mid 2000’s fit this sort of criteria, perhaps revised last minute to give the story more action.

Super Troopers (2001) – Bit of a “retro” movie in some ways, but a decent movie overall.

Grandma’s Boy (2006) – I didn’t know Adam Sandler was still making silly comedies after The Waterboy (or decent ones at least), but this one about a 35 year old pothead video game tester got good feedback from many places / and horrible feedback from others.  Sometimes that’s a good sign, better than if everyone says its average.  Haven’t seen it though, so can’t add my opinion.

Plenty of others I’m sure, but well…. I don’t quite remember.

Live From New York, It’s Saturday Night Live, Movies

Saturday, November 17th, 2012

I have to admit, its been a while since I’ve watched Saturday Night Live. In fact, I struggled to name three current cast members (had no idea Andy Samberg left). And there have been some horrible ideas come from this show when it comes to movies, a reason why five minute skits should not be 90 minute movies, maybe 80 if you discount the intro and credits. Which means you have 5-10 minutes to kill. So to fill those minutes… here’s a few movies that they maybe (should/could/probably better they did not) have done.

1) Wild and Crazy Guys: Instead of Night at the Roxbury. Ackroyd and Martin might have made this a good movie.

2) The Ambiguously Gay Duo: It’s animated, so easier to do. And they had about a dozen short versions of their stories, that one larger plot wouldn’t be too farfetched.

3) Toonces the driving cat: It would be a horrendous movie. You would already know the ending. And animal rights activists might complain. But done right, this could be hilarious. And it would allow nine crashes.

4) Mr. Belvedere Fan Club: This would be funnier now because it would make no sense to most and for someone to be into it now…? Surely there’s an online fan club, group, etc for everythinng.

5) Hans and Frans: Allegedly this was almost made and it even had Arnold cast for it. But it was never completed.

6) Matt Foley / Motivational Speaker: Because his life is more interesting than Pat’s. But no one could play this role other than Farley, so its perhaps a non factor.

It’s not a top 10 list, as well, most of these skits should not be movies (such as “Pat”) and largely Waynes’ World is to blame.  Will have to make up for it by putting 14 on the next list.

Alphabet Soup – Short Film in Progress

Saturday, November 10th, 2012

Now that the election drama has subsided and become less dramatic, we’re currently working on a short film this very weekend. It is a dark comedy titled Alphabet Soup and is centered around a day in the cafe where a wide variety of customer and staff characters make the day just “that” much longer. Within a matter of a couple of weeks, the script was written from scratch, we worked on storyboards and used local contacts to audition and get a cast together.

Ideally by this time next week, we’ll be finalizing it and making it the first of many short films to appear on this very site.

The Havenots

Friday, November 9th, 2012

We recently finished a full length screenplay called “The Havenots”. It took a fair bit of feedback and rewrites to get the flow how we wanted, but feel that its a good mix of current events, drams and dark (very dark) comedy. As we speak, it is being sent over to various contacts and entered in the odd competition here and there.

Here is an outline of the screenplay: Michael Rappaport III is one of the most prominent businessmen in the world who capitalizes on the misfortunes of others as if it were nothing more than a game in which the rules can be tweaked if need be. He has everything he could want, all within reach, yet also has nothing, losing track of why this was all being done in the first place.

Shiloh is a discontent young woman who has given up on the idea of “making something” out of her life. Forced to work two jobs (one of them at Michael Rappaport’s firm) to dig herself out of college debt and living expenses, Shiloh’s life has become a monotonous chore that she simply carries out. Day after day, she fades out further as life flies by her eyes.

But when she loses both of her jobs in the same day, she finds herself at a crossroads: does she continue to live the empty life she’s been living or does she awaken from her apathetic doldrums to seize control over her life? And what does that “control” even consist of?

Stephen is a homeless war vet who drifts from place to place, hiding from his past and surviving the present. On a chance encounter on the train, he sees Shiloh and follows her home. Once they realize that they have a shared past and contempt for the powers that suppress them, they team up against Rappaport to show them that it takes more than money to hide from the disappointments and shortcomings life has to offer.

In all cases, whatever you have, want, need, when you lose track of life, you truly lose it. This screenplay focuses on the lives of these three people – from different yet similar walks of life and how they cross each others paths in today’s world.

Contact Us if you would like any additional info or a copy of the screenplay (registered under WGA).

Election Picks 2012 – Movies That Is

Sunday, November 4th, 2012

Dead Red Eyes Election picks (2012). Well not the actual election, but something that we are a bit more fond of. Here’s our ten picks for election based movies, just in time for that election day marathon when you don’t need to watch the news on every channel to see the same commentary over and over. The work’s been done, let me know who wins…. the day after.

1. The Candidate (1972) Apparently politicians were so impressed by Robert Redford’s performance as presidential candidate Bill McKay, they actually wanted him to run. A landmark American film (or so film school says) that captured the dark political scene of the time. Plus I love anything Peter Boyle is in.

2. Wag the Dog (1997) A Presidential advisor (Robert DeNiro) and a Hollywood producer (Dustin Hoffman) make up a fake war to distract the public from the truth through the media. Don’t worry, it’s just a movie.

3. An Unreasonable Man (2005) Consumer advocate Ralph Nader discusses the role (or lack thereof) of third party candidates and other topics such as him introducing something called the seatbelt and airbags. He’s got nerve for being such a good person!

4. Bulworth (1998) An entertaining political satire that is worth a watch if only to see Warren Beatty rap and smoke a blunt. Warren has since disappeared much in the same way the title character of this film did.

5. Advise and Consent (1962) Two words: Burgess Meredith.

6. The Ides of March (2011) George Clooney AND Ryan Gosling?! No, no, no! Too sexy! That’s probably why I haven’t seen it. Jokes aside, it did get some good feedback from critics and people we know, if you count a friend of mine saying “suprisingly decent”….as a sort of thumbs up.

7. The Last Hurrah (1958) Haven’t seen it but I’m sure it’s better than State of the Union (see below). Even old movies were often based on a book, such as this 1958 film adaptation of the novel The Last Hurrah by Edwin O’Connor. Also made in 1977 as a TV movie, which I’m sure I couldn’t find even if I tried.

8. State of the Union (1948) Haven’t seen it but I’m sure it’s better than Primary Colors (see Dishonorable mention). For those keeping score – It is directed by Frank Capra and starring Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn about a presidential run.

9. Silver City (2004) I guess this was John Sayles’ attempt to mock George Bush and deter people from voting for him in 2004 when in fact it might have actually won him his second term.

10. The Campaign (2012) The last election movie before the end of the world? Almost hope so. Actually did see this quite recently, and while its not one of Ferrell’s best, Zach Galifianakis is brilliant in this movie. But flow-wise, it doesn’t compare to other similar “leader” comedies of the past year or so such as The Dictator.

Dishonorable mention: Primary Colors (1998) John Travolta as Bill Clinton? That detestable promo poster was enough for me to not bother. I’ll take Bulworth for 1998 political movies over this one any day.

Other more honorable mentions: Napoleon Dynamite (not exactly a US election, but Vote for Pedro gets half a point). Black Sheep, with Chris Farley and David Spade (plot not always necessary). Any others? Manchurian Candidate perhaps (which was remade in 2004)? I’m sure we’ve forgotten a couple, so let us know.