View from the Cheap Seats

View from the Cheap Seats

Here’s What’s Wrong with Movies...

March 28, 2017 - 1:03 pm   |   by

I’ve figured out what’s wrong with movies.

This thesis prevailed on me as I went to see the 3-D Imax version of a new picture called The Great Wall. This picture opened to dismal reviews, but the previews had made it look righteous and the effects, I knew, would be fun, and they were and the whole experience wasn’t bad.

And on the way out, I was thinking of all these feckless movie reviewers who get published and why they would trash this movie. I thought to myself: “Why were they so hard on this movie? It’s just a fun “B” picture?”

And then I figured it out. They all are. 90% of what we see in the theaters are “B” pictures with “A” budgets.

Let’s discuss... [Read on here...]



Movie Begats and More

November 30, 2016 - 2:30 pm   |   by

I’ve about decided that a full book could be written regarding just about every produced movie – Lord knows there’s always enough behind the scenes drama to fill a daytime soap. But I love it. Who was supposed to be in what? Who wrote the script? That stuff. The success of X movie produced Y.

OLIVE FILMS

And here’s a story about a Robert Redford motorcycle picture called Little Fauss and Big Halsey, recently released for the first time on home video by Olive Films.

Al Ruddy came to Hollywood in the early 60s and as a young pup sold what has become a classic sitcom called Hogan’s Heroes. Ruddy and Charles Eastman wrote the script for Little Fauss and sold it to Paramount with a then hot director named Sidney Furie (who was bankable because of The Ipcress File and The Naked Runner). Redford was brought on board in the process as was my friend and lifelong Ruddy partner Gray Frederickson. [Read on here...]


I think it’s time we caught up. Walking outside during this Oklahoma summer is like tasting something after it’s been in the microwave about eight minutes. The heat and stupidity started even before Memorial Day and has not abated. It’s like we’re living on Mars – I’ve been pricing those spacesuits which protected Matt Damon.

But thank goodness for the movies. Especially the kind one watches in the comfort of one’s own home. Let’s discuss.

Here’s a serious complaint – as I learned over the years, watching a great film is a multi-sensory experience – you see, you listen, you emote. And for me, always a major component of that experience is the music score. For those who pay attention, music is usually the heart of the movie – name a classic up through about 1990 or so for which you can’t hum a main theme. Or name a dud or two with a score that is better than the picture. [Read on here...]


I’m trying to remember when I put it all together, when it dawned on me that there were these wonderful movies, shown, at the time, when there were only three local stations and local guys programmed the movies, after the last late show. They were cheap, even I could see that, but there was just something about these black and whites that kept me fascinated and many a long night I would suffer through local commercials just to see either justice done or perverted.

And the titles – Private Hell 36, Shack Out on 101, Kiss the Blood Off My Hands and Five Against the House. And the actors, has-beens and wanna-bes, but they were just terrific. Tom Neal and Ann Savage and Dennis O’Keefe and Preston Foster and Lawrence Tierney. And this was the “B” list.  [Read on here...]


The Biggest Movie Story in America

August 27, 2015 - 11:57 am   |   by

I had to sit on maybe the biggest movie story in America. For a long time. And now that it’s been completed and is over, I’m shocked that the whole thing hasn’t been on the front page of The New York Times.

I’ve perhaps casually mentioned that I helped create (didn’t get in the way of) a film school here in Oklahoma City, actually at Oklahoma City Community College. The idea was, unlike film degrees that are based on watching and studying themes and points of view and reading scripts, the creative side, so to speak, to offer a technical, hands on degree program, why a community college was selected in the first place. And to enhance the experience, we got the finest equipment in the world – Avid editors and cameras and lenses and lights and then, through a lot of hard work from a lot of good people, here came the ultimate – a full end studio, built to the specs of an actual Hollywood soundstage. If another state funded school has a facility like this, I’d like to see it.  [Read on here...]


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