Thursday, August 11, 2005

You see, Timmy....

You go, Jim.
"My criticism of Hollywood is not that they make films that way, or that films are commercial products in their minds. That doesn't bother me. That's the nature of the 'entertainment industry,' or whatever. My real criticism is that they're so timid. They just force shit down people's throats because of their very conservative marketing analysis and all that. But it's always mysterious, what people are going to like. Even just on a business level--wouldn't it make sense to have a wider variety of products that cost less to produce? Wouldn't you have a better chance of increasing your profit margin? But I don't know. I'm not a business guy, so maybe I'm completely wrong."
Jim Jarmusch/ LA Weekly

Movie Idea?
The Afghan hound cloned in South Korea is named Snuppy, for Seoul National University Puppy.

Back to Hollywood!
From the International Herald Tribune:

Tucked away in the Hollywood hills, an elite group of scientists from across the country and from a variety of disciplines rocket science, nanotechnology, genetics, even veterinary medicine gathered last week to plot a solution to what officials call one of the United States' most vexing long-term national security problems.

Their work is being financed by the U.S. Army and the Air Force, but the Manhattan Project it ain't: The 15 scientists are being taught how to write and sell screenplays.

At a cost of roughly $25,000 in Pentagon research grants, the American Film Institute is cramming this eclectic group of midcareer researchers, engineers, chemists and physicists full of pointers on how to find their way in a world that can be a lot lonelier than the loneliest laboratory: the wilderness of story arcs, plot points, pitching and the special circle of hell better known as development.



Fewer and fewer students are pursuing science and engineering. While immigrants are taking up the slack in many areas, defense laboratories and industries generally require American citizenship or permanent residency. So a crisis is looming, unless careers in science and engineering suddenly become hugely popular, said Robert Barker, an Air Force program manager who approved the grant. And what better way to get a lot of young people interested in science than by producing movies and television shows that depict scientists in flattering ways?

Mysterious happenings.
From Harper’s Weekly:

A surprising number of dogs were jumping to their deaths from a bridge in Milton, Scotland, but no one knew why. "Everything dogs do is for a reason," said a perplexed animal behaviorist. "They're not stupid like we are."

A man fell off the same building twice in Darwin, Australia.

Because we can’t get enough scare quotes.
From Ars Technica, Andy Martin, from the group he founded, The Committee To Fight Microsoft, is quoted:

"Windows 95 was a disaster; it took three years to correct the major deficiencies. But the 95 fix, Windows 98, only created new vulnerabilities, and required yet another round of fixes for Windows 98. On and on it goes. No other company in America gets away with selling defective products and then expecting its customers to wait years for proper product operability.

"Two other unacceptable scams that Microsoft has used over and over again are to encourage people to 'upgrade' unsuitable old computers, and to encourage manufacturers to sell underpowered computers. XP was authorized for 128 RAM, which was clearly inadequate. Who would buy an inadequate TV set? Or an inadequate stove, that didn't get warm enough? Or an inadequate refrigerator that didn't get cold enough? No one. Why should someone buy or 'upgrade' an inadequate computer on Bill Gates' say-so? The Committee to Fight Microsoft is launching a legal action effort to bar such practice, in advance, for Windows Vista. Bill Gates, you are on notice."

And he’s quaking in his squishy shoes.

Back to Hollywood!
I don’t think that scientists should write screenplays, frankly. (If they do write screenplays, I should be allowed to be a rocket scientist. It’s only fair.)

What is needed is a return to the golden age of film (the fifties) when scientists were heroes, battling giant pre-historic leeches, mutated locusts, and frozen carnivorous carrot-men from Mars. They wore either lab coats, or jackets with leather patches on the elbows. They smoked pipes. They said things like, “It’s crazy, but it just might work.” And, “You see, Timmy, when exposed to enough radiation, it’s possible for arachnids to become very large indeed.” And don’t forget, “That’s right, General, you heard me. I believe this thing is a creature believed extinct for a hundred thousand years!”

I’ll write the screenplay if you want. Pentagon? Any more of those grants lying around? Jim Jarmusch? Want to direct? Let’s throw in Snuppy for comic relief! If he hasn’t jumped off a bridge.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting choice of movie monsters!
You haven't been watching Mystery Science Theater 3000, have you?

I'll bet you could write a rip-roaring screenplay that would be simultaneously both a homage to those great old films, and full of the cynicism that permeates today's coffee-shop generation.

I can't wait to buy a ticket!

-D.E.

2:02 PM  
Blogger Merle Kessler said...

I love monsters! And cynicism! And coffee!

6:23 PM  

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