the main thing…

“That celluloid, the actual film that runs through the camera, is dead. That’s gone, and now digital is here. But storytelling with cinema never will die–ever, ever, ever. The way stories are told may change, but it will always be.” David Lynch




story, it’s the most important thing in any creative process. you have to convince people to care about the artistic endeavor. from painting to film, to music, people have to connect with what you are feeling or experiencing. that can be something simple or complex. it’s why people who have no interest in sports watch the Olympics. NBC has become great at telling the stories that go along with the games, and that is what draws viewers and compels them to root for the underdog or the favorite. same is true for shows like American Idol. it’s not about the music as much as it is about the hard luck story of the contestant who is struggling to make it in the music biz.

my favorite Academy Awards are the acting awards followed by the screenplay awards. i think performances and writing are the true test of a beautiful film. in essence, the best original screenplay or best adapted screenplay is an important award to me. i love great writing and great interpretation of that writing. if a movie is nominated for best picture, and doesn’t have any acting nominees, or it isn’t nominated for screenplay, then i question it’s validity. there are nine best picture nominees, but between original and adapted there are 10 nominees for screenplays, so I believe that if you have a Best Picture nomination, then you should also have a Best Screenplay nomination.

story is what drives everything. even in our ever present, day-to-day doings. we have to live a bigger story than the meager existence that many of us call life. who are you compelling with your story? how can our stories impact others? how can our stories impact the world?  what story are you living today? would a movie of your life be nominated?

Film thoughts…

It’s always a question of high aims, grandiose dreams, great bravado and confidence, and great courage at the typewriter; and then, when I’m in the midst of finishing a picture and everything’s gone horribly wrong and I’ve reedited it and reshot it and tried to fix it, then it’s merely a struggle for survival. You’re happy only to be alive. Gone are the exalted goals and aims, all the uncompromising notions of a perfect work of art, and you’re just fighting so people won’t storm up the aisles with tar and feathers- Woody Allen



i really like the films of Woody Allen. i think he’s an absolute genius in the way he gets performances out of actors. some of his films i like far better than others and i think it has to do with that quote up above. sometimes his pictures seem incomplete, but always have amazing performances. i think as i read that quote, the thing that strikes me is that, not even Woody always believes in himself and i think that glimmer of doubt is what pushes him to greatness. one thing i found out recently was that all of the actors in Allen’s films work for union scale. they get roughly $60,000 for a picture. now to me, that is more than a years salary, but it’s no $20 million which is what most A-list stars get for movies. they want to work with him. they want them to bring out the best in them. and he does. we watched Blue Jasmine a few nights ago, and both Cate Blanchett and Sally Hawkins are amazing. hard to believe that Blanchett is Australian and Hawkins is English from the affected accents and characters they play. add in bang up performances by Alec Baldwin, Louis CK, Bobby Cannavale, and Peter Sarsgaard and you have an amazing stable of talent.  i also love that Woody was able to pull an amazing performance out of Andrew Dice Clay, i never would have seen that coming.

Cate Blanchett definitely deserved her Best Actress Oscar for her portrayal of Jasmine. i love how Woody ties in her flashback scenes as she relives them by talking to herself. i actually related to her and her pain in a very real way. i found myself thinking how stupid it was as she self-destructed, but at the same time felt sorry for her. i couldn’t really tell if her insanity was what caused her to blindly look the other way, or it actually lent itself to the downfall. the breakdown in her apartment solidified some but not all of my questions. i loved the performances, but wish that Woody had really shown San Francisco like he does other cities. i also was a little let down by the ending, but i’ll let you watch and decide for yourself.

so i watched the Oscar’s last night…


i was very excited for the 8 wins for “Slumdog Millionaire”.  any time a low budget Indie film about real people can beat the Hollywood machine, i’m all for it.

i thought the actor awards were pretty much ok.  i thought Heath Ledger was great in “The Dark Knight” but if he had still been alive, i don’t think he would have won.  posthumous is a big deal to the Academy’s.

i figured that Kate Winslett would win, and i probably could have told you that Sean Penn would win because controversial roles always, always, always trump GREAT performances.  that being said…Frank Langella, you have a Tony for your performance as Richard Nixon, and i would say that is a REAL acting award.  you don’t need an Oscar although your performance was by far the most outstanding of the group.

my low points of the night were the shameless plugging of Bill Maher by Bill Maher and Sean Penn’s self-serving acceptance speech…why don’t you just thank yourself for being so you?

my favorite parts of the night were basically when Steve Martin and Tina Fey did the whole screenwriter thing and the Hugh Jackman “musical” number.

alright. that’s all i have.  let’s all go get Slumdog when it comes out on DVD.  more Guitar Greats tomorrow.