Caffeinated Clint – 9/10/07


The Brave One

Watched “Commando” again last night. Watched “The Brave One” a few days earlier. Are those two flicks related? I reckon so. They’re at least second cousins. One might me marketed a little differently to the other but for all intents and purposes they’re swimming in the same canal.
I really enjoyed “The Brave One”. It has some fantastical elements about it that might rub some up the wrong way, but all in all, it works. As I said in my review, it’s exactly what you’d expect a film that combined the forces of Neil Jordan and Joel Silver to be.
Though writer Rodrick Taylor’s pretty proud of the film too, he’s keen to make sure people know that those fantastical elements of the film weren’t in his original script.
I received an email from Taylor about an hour ago. Here it is :

[note : this is an abridged version of the email]

Hi Clint. I was just settling down with my cleaning kit, caressing my .9mm Walther with a tenderness usually reserved for my pet Mamba — when your review came floating in. Reluctantly I set aside my precious piece of cold black German steel to check out your critique. See, for some of us The Brave One is a manual for cleaning up the streets, resolving disputes and generally bringing the light of some righteous muzzleflash to this dark realm Hollywood, in case you’re wondering which dark realm. Yes, a ritualized remembrance of Travis Bickel was what I was up to”, says Taylor. “We think the film is really strong and the several implausabilities that glare out at us are not native to the original screenplay. These lapses of intuition and reason are the contribution of …… well, I’m not naming names here. But I will say that all the lefties who love to loathe The Brave One for committing the sin of self defense would’ve had a more difficult time disrespecting the script if our original vision had remained intact. They would’ve still put it down, but their stupidity would’ve been even more thunderously obvious. Still, the 85% survival rate of the original material is extremely high by Hollywood standards. And Joel is to be credited. In fact, at one time the script had been mutilated beyond recognition but Joel Silver I think was responsible for demanding that the original be restored. (Without a rabbi to protect it, an original screenplay is like an orphaned newborn creature and will definitely be devoured by the predators that range about looking for anything to kill. That’s their job, after all. Aren’t movies insipid these days? Do you seriously think that our species has lost the ability to mythologize or story tell? Or is it the fault of the methodology perfected by thousands of MBAs driven by the hunger for power and equipped with magnificent ignorance and blunt stupidity? < Now I sound like Bogart in the Caine Mutiny.> Anyway, I think you got it right in your review.”

Here’s an interesting titbit. “Originally Erica Bain didn’t go buy a gun and learn to use it by wishing. Her father left a pistol in her nightstand because she could no longer sleep, had become agoraphobic and was generally tortured. She had grown up in Montana before becoming a New Yorker to the core — and so she knew how to shoot. She had no intention, in original or even in current script, of seeking vengeance. It wasn’t an option. She was seeking to survive. What pompous hypocrits these idiots are, speaking of the critics like the one for [media outlet removed]. To which murderous attacker would they have Erica Bain succumb? Oh, well….. Audiences, however, generally love the film, are moved by it, and applaud at various points and at the end. Neal Jordan has created a very Irish thing here, a poem about a woman who survives grief by transmutational powers, finds courage to live when she wants to die, and finally must continue forever on a dark road pursued by her own remorse. He’s okay, Mr. Jordan. Jodie and Terrence were truly brilliant, conveying such pain that few of the strained logic points that you might have observed are not noticed at all. So God Bless The Brave One. God bless courage, wherever it resides. And God damn the cowardly liars who want to pervert our nature so profoundly that even self defense is viewed as abberational, immoral, not nice. Clint, you did a good job. I’ve got to go back to my Walther now. Guns are like snake bite kits. You never know when you’re going to need one, but when you do — you need it very quickly — and very badly.

Very insightful, entertaining and welcome!

Don’t ask this.

Don’t ask that.

Ask This.

Ask That.

Don’t look the talent directly in the eye.

Don’t ask the talent to autograph your ass.

Just several requests that’ll be made of you before you interview a “star” – and a star, mind you, can range from Brad Pitt to the guy that played the 15th lead in “Narnia” – in this day and age. Nothing’s really changed, you’ve never been able to ask about an actor or actresses private life; they hate people asking the stars for autographs, and getting a photo with the stars just seems inappropriate (and lame, in my opinion anyway – what are we fan boys, or professionals?).But things are getting tougher and studios are expecting a lot more from you in addition to the blatant free advertising you’re about to give them for their film.

I did a ‘favour’ interview recently. Went well. Until, of course, I discovered that the publicist wasn’t happy because we – the talent and I – talked about “other” movies in the interview. That’s right, other movies (“Oh god no, they talked about movies that were better than ours! Shit!”). Despite the fact the actor/actress was keen to talk about those “other movies”, in addition to the one he/she was spruiking today, I was apparently supposed to cut him off and tell him to “Stop! Right away! Return to Topic Please! Don’t you know those other films aren’t from the same studio paying for this phone call?”

“That’s the reason”, a PR pal tells me. “It’s the fact that they’re talking about another film that might belong to a different company.

“But look…In my opinion, if someone is complaining that the talent hasn’t talked about the film they’re supposed to be talking about enough it just shows that the studio isn’t confident with the product. How many general interviews do you read that are supposed to tie in with a particular movie’s release? And what about when actors and actresses go on TV shows? They might talk about their new film for a minute. Bottom line though, they’ll always have something to complaint about – as soon as the talent gets off topic. Doesn’t matter if they’re the ones that went off-topic, you’re supposed to be the one to get them back on it.”

I mean, come on! Of course an actor is going to talk up his ‘other’ films – especially if he’s known for a particular role. Are you going to interview Daniel Radcliffe and not talk about “Harry Potter”? Can you possibly not include a “Star Wars” question in an interview with Carrie Fisher? And can you imagine interviewing the late Christopher Reeve say about “Switching Channels” and not asking him about his trademark part “Superman”? I bet it happened too. I bet many a journalist were told not to ask Chris about Superman – and not because he wouldn’t have talked about it, but because they, the studio cooks, didn’t want a great big thing like Superman overshadowing their article on their little shitty Burt Reynolds comedy. Doesn’t matter that readers would be miffed by it. Nope. As long as they get their 700-word plug.

In my opinion, It may be an interview for the studio’s film – but since we’ve both (the talent and the journalist – especially if he’s doing this interview as a favour; usually when there’s no other takers) taken time out to do it you have to give a little back. You have to let us ask the actor about their upcoming films or something they’ve done in the past, if only because the actor wants a chance to “sell” himself as well as his latest film. And you’ve a duty to the readers too – if you didn’t ask say Carrie Fisher about playing Princess Leia in an interview, you’d be blasted from your readers.

Sometimes I wonder whether we shouldn’t just all run generic interviews. That’s what they want after all. Same old Same old.

I know what my readers want to know. I know what makes a good interview. I know the balance. You do your job. I’ll do mine. And next time I want to ask about another film I will.

“You have a duty to your audience Clint”, a fellow journalist says. “This irks me too. This subject. Because it happens too often. Your audience is going to want to know what that actor or actresses is doing next, so you have to ask it. Bad luck if it’s eating up into time that could’ve been used for another boring question that the talent has been asked twenty times that day.”

In this particular case, the interviewee wasn’t really anyone of note – and only has a small role in the film they’re plugging – so it would have been a very short and very boring interview if we’d stuck soley to the movie. It makes no sense. I can understand sticking to the movie if you’ve got ten minutes with Tom Cruise for “Mission : Impossible 3” or Gerard Butler for “300”, but even then, you can’t guarantee they’re not going to start talking up their next project… if even briefly. It’s out of your hands.

But the bottom line here is “If they didn’t ask you in advance to stick to the movie, then it’s their fault and you’ve done nothing wrong.”

What’s pissing me off this week……

…….People that don’t say thanks, or aren’t appreciative of gifts. When you send a friend a T-Shirt you’d think you’d at least expect to get a fuckin’ email informing you that that package arrived safely (the amount of times I’ve complained to Australia Post about packages that didn’t arrive – – when they actually did, man), or get a ‘thanks’.

……Granted, it’s the same reason why my wife has asked me not lend out any more of our/her DVDs – but more so because we don’t get them back. Hardly Ever. It’s sending me broke because I always have to replace them. One particular woman asked to lend some of my wife’s kids movies a while back. I did so on the promise that she would return them the next week. She didn’t. We then discovered that she had lent them out to her friends – don’t you hate it when people you lend a movie to lend it to other people? – and one of those friends had left overseas with them. She didn’t care less. I did – I’m the one that then had to go out and replace all my wife’s DVDs that she’d lost. I’ve had to do that so much this year – replace her movies because people I’ve lent them to don’t want to send them back. The ones she got for Christmas last year were borrowed out to friends about a fortnight after – — and she hasn’t seen them since. She’s been giving me grief big time about it.
I can’t tell you how furious the Mrs is with me for lending her stuff out – and I totally understand; it’s costing us money – so much so that she’s banned all loaning. I think the final straw was when I lent someone her “Friends” box-set. The friend said she’d send it back. But didn’t. She just kept saying she’d “give it back sometime”. It never came back. So we had to drive two hours to pick it up ourselves. And even then, the set was scattered across the woman’s lounge room… discs atop of dust… sleeves out of their casing. I’m sure you can all relate to this one. It’s funny, a friend was here the other day and asked whether he could borrow “Star Wars”. Knowing it took the last person three years – yes, three fuckin’ years! – to give it back to me, my wife flat out said “No. You can watch it here. I know you won’t bring it back.” Now that’s a mean-ass mother…. Don’t fuck with Mrs Clint.

….My back. It kills. Most nights I – no, don’t get time to watch movies anymore – do laps of my house, carrying my daughter around. You see, between the hours of 6pm and midnight she just won’t go to sleep. They call it the witching hour. The only thing that seems to work is if I carry her around for about 40 or 50 laps of the house. I tell ya, by the time I’ve finished I’m exhausted but more so… my back is aching. It’s so sore that one side of it is inflamed and even looks swollen. I think it’s time to conquer my fear of the big Chinese masseur…

…..Having to wear so many hats just to make a crust. For those that don’t know, not only do I run a website by night – or in my lunch hour – but I’m a journalist, co-own a production company in Los Angeles, and work in DVD acquisitions locally. Three totally different jobs. It’s hard to know how to split your time between them all, yet, of course, your boss/editor/co-workers expect you to put them first. There has been times when I’m literally triple booked – I’ll have a conference call on a film but at the same time supposed to be interviewing an actor for this website, whilst having my boss breathing down my neck to tie up the sales rights on a DVD I’m the sales chief for. Now I know how actors that strip on weekends feel.

…. People that don’t return emails that you consider important. Fuck You. Eat some Almonds. Inspire the shits.

…. Financiers that are wanted by Interpol (not a story for here).

….. The amount of time it takes to drive to my place to the city. I knew what I was getting in for when I decided I wanted to buy a nice big house at the foothill of the mountains, but boy does it get annoying some days driving in and out of town. It’d be quicker to watch the “Police Academy” series than to do a ‘quick’ trip into town.

….. Nicole Kidman’s paycheck. Has the woman even had a successful film in the past five years? Does she really deserve that fat-ass wage she gets for doing such drivel as “The Stepford Wives”, “Bewitched” or “The Invasion”? Things have been on the down and down for Nickers since she stopped bumping uglies with Lenny Kravitz and turned down the lead in “Panic Room”.

….. Not foreseeing a holiday in the near future. Unless of course anyone wants to look after my cats? (that’s ‘cats’ not ‘pussy’!) One needs medicating twice a day. Maybe I’ll just arrange a week-stay for us ‘all’ at the cattery. (Yes, that’s right mate – where there’s plenty of ‘pussy’ for everyone! [in best ‘Ford Fairlane’ voice] ‘Ooooh!’).

And I’ll let my daughter Charisma have the final word…

“Bburap, The0pf, Bur, Nah, Nah, Nah….!”