Mr. Big and the Writer

The big Hollywood producer looks up from the papers on his desk and recognizes the writer across from him. From behind the producer’s desk, a large painting of Mr. Big smiles down on the two of them. Being new to the Hollywood scene, this is the writer’s first meeting with a Mr. Big. He sits stiff in the chair and hopes this will be his big break.

“Sam?” Mr. Big says. “I can call you Sam?” Without waiting for a response, the producer continues. “Just bought a Broadway hit. Think you can handle the adapt?”

Sam starts to say yes. Before he can, Mr. Big goes on, “A fellow named Shakespeare wrote it. Ever hear of him? Me neither. Well, we paid big bucks for the play. It’s called Macbeth and it’s got everything. We think it can be one of our blockbusters next summer.”

“No problem,” Sam says. “I can handle it.” He takes out his small notebook to take down his orders.

“Of course you can. That Pulitzer you won last year says it all. Anyway, Sammy Baby, we need some changes.”

“Changes?”

“The play starts off with three witches. Well, witches aren’t in this year. Wizards are. So three wizards it is.”

The writer writes down “three wizards” in his notebook.

“Macbeth, or Mac as he will be named in the movie,” Mr. Big’s voice rises as he becomes excited about the production. “He will be a second string quarterback. Played by Johnny Up-and-coming.”

A question appears on Sam’s face.

“You know the guy who was in that movie about tin cans.”

“Tin cans?”

“Yeah. The cans turn into big ass trucks. He’ll be perfect. And what’s more. We can get him for a song. Anyway he’s a second string quarterback.”

“So he kills the first string quarterback?”

“No, no, no.” Mr. Big shakes his head and frowns that the writer doesn’t get the direction he’s going. “Can’t have Pretty Boy killing nobody. He’s our hero.”

There’s confusion on the writer’s face.

“It’s his cheerleader girlfriend who does the murder. Mac would never do that. First String is his best friend. And, oh yeah,” Mr. Big’s voice goes into flight with excitement, “I forgot to tell you the really good part.”

Writer can’t believe his ears. All he can say, “The good part?”

“She’s a vampire. Call her Selene after the vamp in Underworld.”

“Vampire?” Sam asks, totally confused by now.

“Yeah, vampires are big these days. So she’s got to be a vampire. And remember those wizards. They’re zombies. Got to be zombies.”

“Zombies?”

“Yeah, Sammy Baby, add zombies and we have an extra hundred mil in profits. Zombies are really in, you know.”

Before the producer can continue, the writer stands up.

“I don’t think I am your man to do this project.”

“What?” Mr. Big rises out of his chair. “Listen, you don’t take this, you’ll not work in this town.”

“If this is Hollywood, I don’t think I want to work in this town. I’m goin back to Omaha.”

Shaking his head, Writer turns and walks out of the office. With his dignity.

It’s Oscar Night

Tonight Hollywood will walk down the Red Carpet and let us ooo-and-awe at the egos going past the cameras. Those egos will be following a tradition that goes back to the Way Back When. They’ll be walking in the footsteps of Bogie and Marilyn and Dietrich as they make their way to the seats reserved just for them. We’ll see women in dresses with most of the parts missing. And so stiff the women can hardly sit down in them.

We’ll see a lot of speeches which will go on way too long and say absolutely nothing. But maybe will get some speeches we really want to hear. And in case you’re wondering, here is a preview of some of the speeches we may hear.

Best Picture Producer: Thank God. Now I can make my money back. I will never hire that director again. Everything he touches turns into manure.

Best Director: How would you like to be stuck on an island for two months with the cast and crew I had to work with?

Best Actress: I knew I was mahvelous in this film. (Notice. They never call it a movie.) Of course, I am always mahvelous. Especially when I look mahvelous. Aand I did look mahvelous in this film..

Best Actor: Just a second. (He takes out a mirror and checks himself out. He spends a full minute admiring himself. Then he sighs.) I have to admit I am one handsome guy. No wonder I have so many female fans. If I wasn’t me, I would be after me.

Best Supporting Actress: How come I never get nominated for Best Actress? I do all the work. She gets all the credit. The Bitch.

Best Supporting Actor: Finally.

Best Screenplay: (Shaking his fist at a director.): I’m going to kill that s. o. b. of a director for taking my awesome screenplay and dragging it through the dirt.

Best Makeup: Do you know how hard it was to take the ugliest cast ever and make them even uglier?

Best Costume: Can you believe some of the dresses worn tonight? And they are all my creations.

Best Song:This makes up for not winning the Grammy.

Best Editing: Has anybody seen the missing eighteen minutes?

Best Documentary: Smile. You’re on Candid Camera.

Best Foreign Film: How do you say “You like me” in Japanese?

Best Special Effects: Isn’t it amazing that I could make that hamburger look like a real hamburger?

Uncle Bardie’s Spotlight Movie: Sam Mendes’ War Movie

Whether 1917 is a great film will take some time to determine. I can only say that director Sam Mendes has made a very good war film. And I would caution my readers that this is a war film, not an action film. If you go to see it and expect bang-bang-shoot-’em-up or a superhero movie, this one is not for you.

If you are looking for a good film about the realities of war, 1917 does that, and does it with six stars. If ever there was a war that was hell, it was World War I. The war has been going on for almost three years, and 1917 is not all quiet on the western front. At least, not in the trenches where men fight with the rats over food.

A battalion of 1600 British troops men are planning on pursuing the Germans the next morning as they retreat. But headquarters behind the lines have intelligence that it’s a trap. Unfortunately there is radio silence and the British cannot inform the advance company.

The British general sends two corporals, Schofield and Blake, on a mission to hand-deliver a message, warning the Dev Regiment of the trap. They have to cross the no-man’s land between the British and the German trenches, then make their way through the abandoned German trenches and through a town before the reach their comrades. They have less than twenty-four hours. And to emphasize the urgency, Blake’s brother is an officer with the Regiment.

In what could have been a boring slog of a journey, Mendes direction, Roger Deakens’ cinematography, the script by Krysty Wilson-Cairns and Sam Mendes, and Thomas Newman score heighten the tension again and again and make this film well-worth the two hours of viewing. There may be Germans ready to take the two down. As they make their way through a landscape strewn with the ravages of war, I was on the edge of my seat waiting for something to happen.

It has been said that combat brings out the best, and the worst, in men and women. And 1917 shows how true that can be. Schofield and Blake are two ordinary guys who swallow hard and face the unknown with courage. At the end of the movie, I was reminded of the Scripture that says, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). Schofield and Blake have shown that kind of love.

If there is a better film this year, I’m not sure what it would be. As for me, I give 1917 a big thumbs up and six out of five stars.

10 favorite moments in acting

Every so often I watch a movie or tv show and the actor(s) take my breath away with their performance. But it’s more than a performance. The actors have created life on film. This blog post recognizes ten of those incredible moments.

  1. Judd Hirsch and Wallace Shawn as brothers in Season 20, Episode 10 of “Law and Order Special Victims Unit.”
  2. Emma Thompson in the HBO film, “Wit.”
  3. Kate Winslet in the movie, “The Reader.”
  4. Al Pacino in the movie, “The Merchant of Venice.”
  5. Benedict Cumberbatch in “Richard III” of ‘The Hollow Crown” series.
  6. John Hurt as John Merrick in David Lynch’s “The Elephant Man.”
  7. Whoopi Goldberg in the movie, “The Color Purple.”
  8. Donald Sutherland in the movie, “Ordinary People.”
  9. Andy Griffith in the movie, “A Face in the Crowd.”
  10. Geoffrey Rush in the movie, “Final Portrait.”

Perhaps you have a favorite acting performance that moved you. Please feel free to mention it in the comments below.

Inquiring minds: 10 questions about Star Wars

Spoiler alert.

Now that I have seen “The Rise of Skywalker,” I have some questions:

1.We know that Star Wars always takes place in a Galaxy far, far away. Which far far away Galaxy is it?

2.Will Disney ever get rid of the Roman numerals and just use numbers? Like Star Wars Episode 9? I hope so. I am tired of saying Star Wars Eye Ex.

3.Is Finn named after Huck Finn? Poe named after Edgar Allan Poe? Could Rey be named after the science fiction writer, Lester Del Rey?

4.Since J J Abrams directed both “Star Trek” and “Star Wars,” did Spock show up incognito in “Star Wars.” If so, why didn’t Captain KirK do a cameo?

5.Is Poe the new Han Solo? If he is, will Rey get together with him the way Han Solo and Princess Leia got together? And what will their children be called? Anakin?

6.Since J J Abrams can resurrect Palpatine, will he resurrect Darth Vader in the next Star Wars movie?

7.Since J J Abrams was able to resurrect Carrie Fisher for “The Rise of Skywalker,” will he resurrect Iron Man?

8.Since Star Wars VII – IX was recycled IV – VI, will Star Wars X – XII be a recycled I – III?

9.If anybody directs Star Wars X – XII, it should be Christopher Nolan. Perhaps he’ll do a Star Wars trilogy like he did Batman: “Darth Vadar Rises,” “Darth Vadar,” and “Darth Vadar Begins.” I can see Batman as the Vadar now. Then perhaps Luke Skywalker will go over to the Dark Side and become the Joker.

10.The Millennium Falcon has about had it. Is it possible that it will retire in the next episode of Star Wars? I hope so. It deserves a rest.