Self-Loathing Pinko Pacifica Jews
Khunrum writes: I am listening to the local Pacifica station which we all know is pinko oriented. However, for a while they were coming around. Playing Texas music all day and broadening their listener base. Recently there was a coup and now they are back to Gay & Lesbian Forum and discussions on the benefits of free range chickens vs. vegetarianism...This morning there is some young woman on rattling away like she is being paid by the word, denouncing Israeli massacres ......What's more she is actually there physically shielding Yasser and dissing Sharon. Turns out she is an Israeli Jewess from Canada....This perked my interest on the psychology of self loathing Jews..There is only one man who can help us out on this subject, Mr. Amalek. Come Chaim, enlighten us..Why do these people support the Yassers of the world when it is obvious the last ass into the frying pan will be theirs should Israel come up short in this conflict.?? Give us the mind set...
Chaim Amalek writes: Because the Jews Killed Christ.
Khunrum replies: Self loathing Jews are anti Israeli because their ancestors killed JC? ...How interesting....I think they need therapy...actually this subject was just covered minutes ago on the Nightly News Hour (PBS) Perhaps I should start feeling guilty about the Southern Plantation and the slaves my family never owned...
LA Night Life
Actor David Spade lost his car Sunday morning at the sushi restaurant Koi, a big Hollywood hangout at 730 N. La Cienega. After waiting 90 minutes for the valet guys to find his car, he eventually took a taxi home. Actor-director Andy Dick is a regular at Koi along with other celebrities.
I don't know much about Los Angeles night life because I am not a club guy. But I gather that the techno club The Garage (Vermont and Santa Monica Blvds) is big among the early morning rave crowd. They pile in high on Ecstasy, Coke, GHB, Crystal Meth and a drug I've never heard of called K.
The Garage opens at 6AM on Satuday and Sunday mornings and starts serving alcohol. It was written up in GQ magazine as the place to go for after hour partying in LA. It's mainly kids 18-23 years of age. People come to dance to house music and techno because "they're Xing. [High on Ecstasy.] They're coming from another club, The Palace, a huge warehouse techno in Hollywood place that's open from midnight to 8AM. From 6-8AM, the Garage gets their people.
I don't know why I am talking about this goyisha nonsense when there is so much more worthy material in the Torah.
Amalek18: I saw some great flicks this weekend from Germany, ca 1946.
Khunrum writes: You guys are so f------ DEEP ....I could mull over your conversations for hours..But why don't you update a bit........... What are the Jews going to do about those 18 year old girls who walk into the market......flic the switch ..........and KABOOOOOOOM! ......It appears that nothing seems to be working.....and from seemingly fair minded people I converse with, the propaganda war isn't going well either...What better place to discuss these issues than LF.Net...
Chaim writes: The options are these:
More Active Measures:
Chaim Amalek writes: Please discuss this at the Museum of Tolerance. What is the proper response to the following (found on the web)? How can you both be jewish and ethical in light of this?
According to tradition (and the fanatical belief of many) Moses wrote the first five books of the Bible himself. If true, then we have Moses telling us how humble Moses was.
Numbers 31: 13-18, 32-35, "13 Moses, Eleazar the priest, and all the chieftains of the community came out to meet them outside the camp. 14 MOSES BECAME ANGRY with the commanders of the army, ... who had come back from the military campaign. Moses said to them, 'YOU HAVE SPARED EVERY FEMALE!' ... 17 Now, therefore, SLAY EVERY MALE AMONG THE CHILDREN, AND SLAY ALSO EVERY WOMAN WHO HAD KNOWN A MAN INTIMATELY; 18 But spare every young woman who has not had intimate relations with a man. ... 32 The amount of booty, other than the spoil that the troops had plundered, came to ... 35 and a total of 32,000 human beings, namely the women who had not had intimate relations."
OBSERVATION: (1) Moses the humble, becomes angry because his army had spared the women and children. (2) Moses the humble, butchers the male children; imagine the situation, the prepubescent boys, some no more than infants, murdered wholesale; no effort to raise them as Hebrews is made, conversion is not an option, only genocide satisfies the Prophet and the Priest. (3) Moses the humble, then murders the widows; imagine, in the ancient world people rarely lived into their forties, yet these women who have had their husbands and children killed are also murdered wholesale; no effort to convert them is made, Moses is determined to exterminate the memory of this people, so only genocide satisfies the Prophet and the Priest. (4) Moses the humble, then hands over 32,000 virgins, the prepubescent girls, to his army for raping, and to be reduced to sexual slaves forced to service the same men who murdered their fathers, brothers, and mothers right before their eyes. In the ancient world girls were married off as soon as they reached pubescence; so picture the scene, 32,000 young girls put through the horror of watching their people subject to genocide, and themselves given over as booty to be raped by the murderers. They suffered all this evil, at the command of "a very humble man." In a sense, this is no better than what the Nazis did in Russia when they dug mass graves and filled them with dead Jews, Russians, Poles, and others.
The truth is that Moses was a genocidal maniac, he was determined not to allow anyone or anything to stand in the way of his tribe, the Levites, or his family and their control of the High Priesthood. Caesar boasted that his legions had killed a million people, and every decent person is appalled at such a statement; yet Moses was no better if these stories are to be believed, conversion was not an option for the victim group, genocide was the only alternative. Like Caesar after him, Moses rewarded the troops with sex after a battle, and women were a successful motivator for lusty soldiers. Thomas Paine had touched upon this subject in his "The Age of Reason". Moses' transparency is apparent, a wicked man in the guise of a humble man; a wolf in sheep's clothing. But even a wolf would not commit the atrocities of this "very humble man."
I leave the last words here to Thomas Paine, who remarked in The Age of Reason: "Among the detestable villains that in any period of the world have disgraced the name of man, it is impossible to find a greater than Moses, if this account be true. Here is an order to butcher the boys, to massacre the mothers and debauch the daughters." Continuing in this vein: "People in general do not know what wickedness there is in this pretended Word of God. Brought up in habits of superstition, they take it for granted that the Bible is true, and that it is good; they permit themselves not to doubt of it, and they carry the ideas they form of the benevolence of the Almighty to the book which they have been taught to believe was written by His authority. Good heavens! it is quite another thing; it is a book of lies, wickedness and blasphemy; for what can be greater blasphemy than to ascribe the wickedness of man to the orders of the Almighty."
Crying at the Movies
I read an interesting review of Harry Knowles book by Time magazine movie critic Richard Schickel in today's LA Times:
"There are, obviously, other ways to take your traumas to the movies and deal with them. For example, Madelon Sprengnether's. She also suffered a devastating childhood trauma, her father's death by drowning when she was 9. She sought the usual escapes from tragedy's impositions--books, films--and became, eventually, a writer and professor of English. But as she relates in "Crying at the Movies," one day in the 1970s, she found herself weeping at the death of the young girl in "Pather Panchali." These were not the misty-eyed snifflings that happen to all of us occasionally at the movies. They were great, racking, uncontrollable sobs that went on for hours, a startling outburst of long-suppressed feelings about unexpected death."
I remember bawling my eyes out through the last half of 1994's Legends of the Fall. I guess it was from the death of the young mother that I could not stop sobbing, obviously it touched too close to my own experience. Or was it because my date wouldn't sleep with me, so I sobbed out my frustrations? I also cried through the movie Love Story. Terms of Endearment closely mirrored my family's story and brought my sister to tears. What Women Want (the 1996 version) was also a tearjerker.
Amalek: Law Schools are Tribal Suicide
Amalek18: How many jewish children are never born because jewish women try to become men and go to law school? Amalek18: In the aggregate, law schools are the Katzenlagers of the United States, places that are responsible for the absence of millions of jewish children.
Fascinated With Israel Shahak
I've become fascinated with the late Israeli human rights activist Israel Shahak, after reading his 1999 book JEWISH FUNDAMENTALISM IN ISRAEL. Here are some links, I'd love your feedback:
Jewish History, Jewish Religion by Israel Shahak.
I'm disturbed by how Israel's enemies use Shahak against the Jewish state. I'm also disturbed that Shahak appeared with Noam Chomsky at various events.
Fred writes: Regarding Maimonades, as Gibbon says, the evils of a man are the evils of his age, but his virtues are all his own.
History lionizes all sorts of folks--merely by way of example, Helen Keller, the Philosopher Kings (Trajan, Hadrian, Marcus Aurelius, Nerva and Antoninus Pius), Woodrow Wilson, Isaac Newton, Thomas Jefferson, etc.
The truth is that Keller was a communist, all of the Philosopher Kings were ruthless antidemocratic, conquerers, Woodrow Wilson was a racist, and Isaac Newton was a mean, rotten no-good son-of-a-bitch who enjoyed tormenting his enemies. I recently read a compilation of the writings of Thomas Jefferson, and was rather surprised to find an antisemitic crack in one of his letters.
So Shahak is able to delve into Maimonades' writing and show us some evidence of racism. Big deal. There are no saints in this world, and the mere fact that you can find flaw in people of an age is not the best standard by which to judge them. By that standard, everyone is a schmuck. Gibbon advises us to judge a person against the age in which he lives.
BTW, if you want to find bad character among great Jewish personalities, I recommend that you consider reading the Book of Joshua (6th book of the bible).
Regarding Shahak, I have no doubt that there were instances of bad or antidemocratic behavior toward the Palestinians. I also have no doubt that there were instances of bad behavior by Washington's army in the Revolutionary War, the Union army during the Civil War, and the Allies during the Second World War. (Note, for example, that the U.S. army was segregated until the Truman administration, and racism continued on for a good long time thereafter. Also note that the Japanese were interned in the U.S.) I have no doubt that there are instances of atrocities and/or bad behavior by all sides in all wars. The mere existence of instances of bad behavior is not a damning measure of the merit of a nation or an army.
If there were someone in the U.S. from 1941-45, who spent all of his time haranguing about the treatment of Japanese internees, segregation in the military and elsewhere, etc., I suppose we might say, O.K., this fellow was an uncompromising moral character. Or alternatively, we might say that given the nature of the peril the nation was facing, he was a counterproductive nut. Or he may have been both. (Having great moral character is not inconsistent with being a nut.) Nonetheless, history fairly judges us as having the morally superior cause (vis-a-vis the Nazis and the Japanese militarists).
If you compare the big bad Israeli acts of undemocratic behavior with, for example, the behavior of the Iraqis to the Kurds, or Assad's behavior toward the city of Hama (where he murdered lots and lots of folks because of a suspicion of disloyalty), I think you'll have a slightly better frame of comparison.
BTW, I note that there have not been mass executions of Israeli Arabs, the Dome of the Rock has not been demolished, there have always been Arab members of the Knesset, etc. The big bad Israelis are not so big and bad.
The line between a hectoring moralist and an unfair, unreasonable crank is often a thin one. Sometimes, it is a non-existent line.
BTW, Luke, I hear you have been sinning in thought, word and deed. What is it with you. Have you been thinking impure thoughts again? And saying bad things about people? Luke, what have you been up to? Imbibing intoxicants? When was the last time you cleaned up your apartment? Luke....?
After I wrote my little rant, I thought for a while about Gen. Sherman. During the civil war, Sherman engaged in a strategy which today would have been called "scorched earth". Basically, he marched through Georgia, burning down farms and plantations, ripping up railroad tracks, burning down Atlanta, etc.
Query: was he moral as a fighter against slavery, or was he immoral? Was it justified or was it unjustified? Bear in mind that the destruction of Atlanta was probably the difference between the reelection of Lincoln and a victory in the Civil War, and the defeat of Lincoln by McClelland and a loss in the civil war and a continuation of slavery. Would a hectoring moralist have been right in condemning Sherman?
On another note, on what subject are you meeting with your rabbi? On yet another note, congratulations on leading a pure and moral life. The next time I'm in LA, I'll try to fix that.
Shahak was clearly a hypocrit. If he thought Israel was so illegitimate, what the hell was he doing there? Why didn't he go back to Poland instead of being a colonizer? At least Chomsky is in Massachusetts--he has eschewed being a colonizer (except insofar as he feels free to colonize land belonging to the Indians). What possible justification could there be for Shahak's actions?
I went browsing through the Radio Islam web page. The guy who runs it is clearly off the deep end. Tons of racist cartoons. He also posts Mein Khampf and the Protocols of the Elders of Zion on his web site. I assume that his mindset is typical of arabs. There appears to be an instinctive visceral tribal response such that no claim, hatred or racist belief is too ludicrous for this guy to pass up. It's fairly easy to ascertain why dealing with the arabs is well-nigh impossible.
Col. T.E. Lawrence (i.e. Lawrence of Arabia) observed that Arabs are easily given to obsession. This photograph [A protestor at an anti-Israeli demo in Berlin dresses his daughter up as a suicide bomber - her tiny body strapped with sticks of pretend TNT] illustrates the point--obsession with a tribal hatred which, in point of fact, has no direct impact on virtually any Arabs. It doesn't effect their unemployment, inflation, the price of tea, the crime rate, pollution or anything else that affects their daily lives. It only affects them through this incredibly focused tribal obsession and hatred, which dominates their existance. They do not do themselves any favor by succumbing to this obsession.
Chaim writes: Far more troubling is that tens of MILLIONS of these people were admitted into europe over the last forty years to do the work that the europeans felt was beneath them. For the comfort of a single generation did Europe sell the welfare of her children.
OK, let us judge the jews of THIS age by the moral standards of this age. Hassidim take the shulchan orach very seriously, and do not believe that Rambam (Maimonodies) was wrong on any count. Ditto the present day application of the words contained in the Talmud, which, as "oral law" they regard as the word of God. The loathsome sentiments noted by Shahak remain in these texts, and so far as I know the Hassidim still teach these books to their young without moral qualification (how could it be otherwise, when they say these words are really God's?). So by the standards of THIS age, how are we to judge hassidic jews?
Luke, why are you jewish? You were not born to it, clearly you reject it intellectually, and the orthodox want nothing to do with you. So why do you continue to be "jewish"?
Israel Shahak resources on the WebJorn Barger April 2000
1933: born 28 April in Warsaw (parents Polish middle-class, orthodox Jews who became Zionists and forbade their sons to speak Yiddish)
1940-43: Warsaw ghetto
1943: Poniatowo concentration camp (escapes w/mother) (father dies in the camps)
1943? bribe way onto register for Jewish citizens of foreign countries
194?: brother joins Royal Air Force, killed in Pacific
1943?-45: re-arrested, sent to a compound for foreign nationals at Bergen-Belsen extermination camp
1945: arrived in Palestine at the age of 12
1945-61: studies culminating in doctorate in chemistry
Israeli military service
1956: shocked by Ben Gurion's claim "to establish part of the Kingdom of David and Solomon"
1963-1981? professor of chemistry at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem
early 1960s: critical of Zionism "for both Jewish and general human reasons"
"After 1967, when I ceased being just a scientist and became a political being, my first reason was that after 1967 the Israeli aim was to dominate is the Middle East, which every rational human being knows is impossible. My second reason was that there must be a Palestinian state. It can come into being with a minimum of bloodshed, or a maximum of bloodshed. Even if the intifada were defeated, it would only cause a delay."
1970: elected chairman of the Human and Civil Rights League
?: chairman of the Israeli League of Human Civil Rights
?: monthly "Translations from the Hebrew Press"
1991: "Israel Will Withdraw Only Under Pressure" [article]
1992: "Yitzhak Shamir, Then and Now," Middle East Policy (Washington, DC), Vol. 1, No. 1, (Whole No. 39), 1992 [cite]
1993: "Oslo Agreement Makes PLO Israel's Enforcer" [article]
1993: "Can Religious Settlers Scuttle an Israeli-Palestinian Peace?" [article]
1994: Jewish History, Jewish Religion: The Weight of Three Thousand Years [Amazon] forward by Vidal, full etext [alternate toc] [mirror] ditto [German language] [Swedish] excerpt [review] mirror review [critique]
1994: appears with Chomsky at MIT [account]
1994: "Involvement of the pro-Israel lobby in the Inman affair," Report No. 133, February 11, 1994 [quotes]
1995: "Analysis of Israeli policies: the priority of the ideological factor" [article]
1996: "The Real Israeli Interest in Lebanon" [etext]
1996? founds publishing house (Pluto?), publishes The Bible as it is; without a coat of holiness by Ya'akov Wolf [review]
1998: article "The Israeli Terrorist State and its Mossad Assassins" [etext]
1998? "Strategic Aims of the 'Grapes of Wrath' Operation" [article]
1998: speaks in support of Vanunu [announcement]
No date: translation about POWs
I spoke to producer Nick Loeb, cousin of Edgar Bronfman Jr, the other day.
Nick: "I came out here in September of 1988, soon after I graduated from Tulane. I wanted to be a producer. I had no idea what the fuck I was doing. I needed a script. I decided to write a script, with a girl I'd met over the previous summer. It was a fictional account of my life with a lot of truth thrown in. I thought I should write what I know. And I fictionalized it to make it commercial.
"I had no idea how to write a script. And neither did this girl, Christina Peters, who'd never written or directed anything before. I submitted it to Universal and the comment that came back was: 'This sounds more like a psycho-analytical case study than a screenplay.' So that ended my screenwriting career.
"Do you mind if I smoke?"
Michael snorts and pulls out a cigarette. "I shouldn't even be smoking.
"I didn't know the difference between a good screenplay and bad screenplay.
"Christina had been trying to get her screenplay (The Smokers) made for ten years. I read it and I was not that interested in it. She kept telling me how all these people wanted to do it. I decided there might be something to it, so why not produce it? I borrowed $500,000.
"There's a funny story how I met Christina. I was a PA on Primary Colors. And on my last night working there, I decided to take the cast out for drinks at the Sky Bar. Billy Bob Thornton, Emma Thompson, Adrian Lester, were there. I'm the only non-celebrity at the table. And I go to the bathroom. I'm very naive. And this guy approached me in the bathroom. He obviously thought I was a big shot. I told him that I wanted to do a movie when I graduated from college. He said he was a writer. I told him to send me material. I needed to meet writers.
"I read his material and I wasn't interested in any of it. I knew five people in LA. And one night I called him up and I said, 'What goes on in LA?' I was from New York and New Orleans where things happened all hours of the night. Here everything closes at 2AM. I thought there had to be a secret party scenes that goes on after 2AM that I had to find out about so I could go meet people.
"He said, 'There's not much that goes on here after 2AM. But there's a great girl I should set you up with. I was confused why he would set up one of his girlfriends with a guy he met in the bathroom at Sky Bar. I thought that was amusing. And the girl went out on a blind date with me. It was the most expensive blind date of my life."
Luke: "Where did you go?"
Nick: "Chaya in Venice."
Luke: "Why was it so expensive?"
Nick: "Because it cost me a movie.
"She had a producing partner already, Kenny Golde, who produced some TV. He'd helped her develop the script. He'd gotten her to register the script with his name attached as the co-writer. After I got the money, it took me nine months of contract negotiations to make the film because of him. He wanted sole producer credit. He wanted this and that. He wanted money. He wanted points. We couldn't afford him. I wasn't going to give this guy sole producing credit when all he did was give her some producer notes.
"Our three leads were Domonique Swain (Lolita), Busy Philips (Dawsons Creek), and Laura Birch (American Beauty) as well as Oliver Hudson, Kate's brother. We were set to shoot in Wisconsin.
"Remember, we had a director who had never directed. All the producers had never produced. None of us had done anything."
Luke: "Was Christina ever your girlfriend?"
Nick: "For a week, then we ended up just becoming friends."
Luke: "And why did you want to make this project? Just for her?"
Nick: "Yeah. I didn't know any better. Everyone seemed to like it. All these actresses wanted to do it. I thought they were going to be huge stars.
"I had a tough time dealing with agents. Nobody wanted to take me seriously. So I called the biggest producer I knew at the time, and the most famous person I knew at the time, Quincy Jones. I'd met him and he'd said, 'If you ever need help, give me a call.'
"I called him. 'I would like you to be a producer on this. You don't have to do anything. Let me just say that you're the executive producer on this movie.' He said, 'Send me the script.'
"I sent him the script. And he said, 'Make me an offer.' I said, 'We'll give you three points [three percent of the gross revenues].' He said that's fine.
"He'd read the script. He said, 'This is some fucked up shit.' [That's a compliment.]
"The movie's about three girls at a boarding school who bring a gun back to school and decide to rape guys at gunpoint.
"Two of my leads had pulled out and I panicked. I barely even got the agents to return phone calls. I called an executive. I said, 'What should I do?' He said, 'Well, you could sue them. And you would probably win. But you will win the battle and you will lose the war. It's not what you want. But let me think about it and I will see what I can do.
"I also talked to a lawyer. He said, 'We'll see. Let me make a call.'
"Five minutes after that phone call, Jason Barrett called me. He said that Thor Birch did not pull out. Ok. So Thor was back. I said, 'What about Domonique?' He said, 'I know nothing about Domonique. It's not my business.'
"I don't know what calls went on. Jeff said, 'I don't know what they're doing but I advise you to get an attorney.'
"So I spent three or four hours a day panicking. She [lead female actress] had all these demands. Her name can't be on the box. Then what's the whole point? Then she's not doing it. They strong-armed me into saying that at the end of the day, if we get a theatrical release, we had to pay her $150,000. At the time, I didn't care. If we sell the movie at a festival, the distributor will pay it. I had no choice. I was losing a lot of money.
"She wanted a trailer. She wanted two first-class plane tickets. Finally, we came to an agreement. I had no choice. The day she's supposed to arrive, she misses her flight. And the reason she missed her flight was that nobody sent her a car. The reason we did not send her a car was because we did not have her address. Because her agency would not give us her address. They said that wasn't their fault.
"We eventually got her to the airport by saying we'd reimburse them if they got her a car. We booked her on another flight. She misses her second flight. We had to buy her another First Class ticket to get her to Kenosha, Wisconsin. We got through to the gate agent. We're talking to the agent. 'Yes, she's here. She just checked in.' She missed her third flight. She went back to call a friend on the telephone.
"She finally arrived and she hated me. One day she asked for a second First Class plane ticket for her sister to come on the set. We said, 'We already bought you three. You have to give us a week's notice. And the production is over in five days.'"
Luke: "Did she turn in a good performance?"
Nick: "She was ok. I'm not going to comment on that.
"We finished the shoot in 18 days with a lot of fuckups. It was the first time for everybody on set. We made a lot of mistakes. It took us nine months to edit the film. I was the post-production supervisor and I didn't know the first thing about production. I thought it would save costs. It would've saved costs if I had hired a post-production supervisor. It was another mistake I'd made. I should've also gotten a director to help Christina on set.
"When it came time to do ADR (Audio Digital Recording), Domonique refused to do ADR. She was too busy.
"ADR is when the actors come in to do their lines so we have a clear track. When you have dialogue on a set, with a guy with a boom mike, a lot of it won't come across. So you have to go back and watch yourself on screen and redo it on a microphone on a clear track. On Titanic, 90% of the dialogue was done in ADR. In most films, it is done like that.
"Domonique's lines ended up sounding like crap. We didn't get the film into Sundance. We notified all the distributors and had a screening of the film in LA. We got a bunch of offers from foreign sales companies but no studios. And I wasn't about to give my film away to a foreign sales rep. So six months went by and I said fine. I gave it to one foreign sales rep and I decided to keep my domestic. Another six months went by before I got a domestic distributor. After begging, I finally got MGM to buy the film. I would've expected help from Universal but they did send 11 people to my screening. MGM distributed it two weeks ago. It's in Blockbuster."
Luke: "Any reviews come back?"
Nick: "They're all terrible. The film ended up not being a success. But it was a great learning experience. I made a lot of relationships. I got a film done. I'll never do it again without having a distributor beforehand."
I talked to Christina Peters by phone April 12, 2002.
Christina: "I talked him into it? Let me give you the real scoop. Yes, I was a blind date. And I joked him with that it was probably the most expensive blind date he ever had. We dated for about a month. Then we were just friends. He graduated college and wanted to produce a movie. And he asked me to produce it because I was going through ups and downs and all other shit..."
Luke: "How did you feel about how the movie turned out? [It got harsh reviews.]"
Christina: "It's a lot like life. I feel happy and not so happy. I was extremely happy that MGM picked it up and it went out to video stores and people can see it. That's the ultimate dream of an artist - that people see your work. I was disappointed in seeing how everything works. It's no longer your movie anymore. There are so many cooks in the kitchen and everyone changing something.
"I haven't seen the final product. I was so excited when I first made the movie but I did so much with it, it became like my firstborn child that I had to let go of. I know that they cut it from an NC17 to an R. I know that my favorite line in the movie is no longer in the movie."
KAREN: "It sucks being a woman. The guy pushes you down until he's done, then fingers you like a brillo pad and tells you that's an orgasm. And just before he turns to leave, he says you should have swallowed. And you want to know the worst part of it all? (a pause) You want him to do it again."
Christina: "They changed the music. That was one of my biggest disappointments.
"But I am so not complaining. I am so grateful to have made my movie. I glow whenever anyone says, 'I saw your movie at Blockbuster. My daughter loves it.' Of course I'm ecstatic. Somebody enjoys it and got something out of it. A lot of people really do get the message that I was trying to convey. That girls can't be boys. Women can't fuck like men and I don't think they have to. A lot of times, women in a men's world feel that they have to become a man. I'm saying there's an alternative in that route. There's power in being a woman and in being honest with what you want. Lisa realizes that she's not such a great person but that's who she is. And Karen wishes that she had a boyfriend."
I got a call Friday afternoon and it sounded like Walter Matthau, who died about two years ago. It was his son Charlie, now a producer and director.
'My history seems to be that I hook up with a company, bankrupt them, and then move on.'
"My history seems to be that I hook up with a company, bankrupt them, and then move on. I never deliberately do this. I bankrupted Sandy once or twice. I got hired by Bob Shaye at New Line and made one of the Nightmare on Elm Streets. I thought they were about to go bankrupt, so I hopped over to DEG (De Laurentiis Entertainment Group, everybody in the '80 was an entertainment group) before I drove another company to extinction. And what do I do? I bankrupt DEG. Then I went to Cannon and bankrupted them. Then I worked with MCEG and bankrupted them. I did this horrible movie called Boris and Natasha. That was MCEG's last gasp. I don't think they ever made another movie. I don't think DEG ever made another movie after Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure .
"Then I stopped bankrupting other people's companies and came close to bankrupting my own when I started Neo Arts & Logic in 1989. But we've held together for 12 years now. We've tottered a couple of times. People suggested that I call my company 7/11 Productions because I'm always considering which bankruptcy option to take.
"I'm holding on with Miramax now. I haven't bankrupted them yet. I gave them an off year or two. But I think I've turned the corner."
Producer Joel Soisson is my most amusing interview yet. We spoke at his office on Beverly Blvd April 11, 2002.
Joel: "For many low budget producers, the process of filmmaking becomes more important than the result. For them, a film is a sexy thing until you finish it. Then it's like yesterday's hooker. They don't even want to think about it. I can never be that way. I can't divorce myself from the agony of living and dying with a movie.
"Producer Lynda Obst says the only word that a producer should know is 'Next.' I find that something to aspire to.
"I'm locked into making low budget movies that are not meant to be permanent. They are not meant to be revisited at in ten years. They are not meant to be paragons of art or social commentary. They are just meant to entertain somebody for 90-minutes and then they go on about their day.
"You grow old making these things and blow out your health... I want to evolve into that kind of producer who can just enjoy the process. The deal. I hate the deal. I despise the deal. I'm the reluctant producer. I came to the job through the backdoor."
Luke: "Tell me about your childhood."
Joel: "It's that typical Cleveland, Ohio story. And I'm sure you've heard it from all the Cleveland filmmakers [Luke only knows one - Mathew Rhodes].
"I came late to the film bug. My father was a commercial and fine artist. I would have become a fine artist had I been convinced that I could be as good as him. I went to an art institute in New York where I was exposed to film as animation for the first time. I thought, 'Wow, this is cool. You can make drawings that move. I can smoke the old man. He's never done this shit.'
"I came out here in 1979 to make cartoons. I went to USC and then AFI (American Film Institute). Five colleges in all. I didn't graduate from any of them.
"We [Neo Art & Logic] have a little digital effects studio that's the last remnant of my artistic pretensions. I can go back and weigh in on 3-D animation, matte paintings, etc...
"I hopped around schools because I never found what I was looking for, aside from a sense of community and making contacts. The only way you learn is by picking up a camera and doing it. At school, I found everything was too theoretical."
Luke: "Your first credit was for writing and associate producing Hambone and Hillie."
Joel: "I worked for Sandy Howard, who was in the Roger Corman mold of: 'Screw the film, just get another one made. If it doesn't work, just make sure you have two more in the hopper.' By the time I left him, he was drafting his 12-14 Plan, which was to make 12-14 pictures, any pictures, a year. Just get them ground out. We had a slow year in my last year there. In 1986, we only made six films.
"With Hambone and Hillie, Sandy said, 'We need to do a family movie. Let's get a dog. Everybody loves dogs. We haven't done a dog movie.' I was a camera assistant at the time, on the verge of getting fired. So I knew that this was my chance to get another month of employment. I pitched him this dog idea. He said 'Write it up.' So I became a producer-writer. In those chaotic days, you did everything. And as long as you were willing not to get paid for anything, you were like gold. It didn't matter if you had talent as long as you had initiative.
"This was about a dog who went from New York to LA. Because I was new, they only let me take the dog from New York to Philadelphia. Other writers took him the rest of the way, without any idea of what I had done. Sandy wanted to put his stamp on it. So he wrote the last leg where the dog got involved in a gang rape. I said, 'I thought we were setting out to do a family film.' He said, 'Yeah, but we still need drama.' I thought, 'Well, this man is pushing the envelope. I'm impressed.'
"I got to write the part where O.J. Simpson picks the dog off the turnpike and drives him a ways. They're sitting there motoring along. It was in the days where dogs didn't talk. And O.J. was lamenting that he was a lonely trucker. His wife ran off with another guy. Thinking back, it's precious.
"I told an interviewer from the LA Weekly that the movie premiered on a TWA flight to China. I believe so because that's the only record I have of it being screened anywhere. A friend of mine flying to China saw it. Then I got this horrible letter back from Sandy saying that real producers don't denigrate their own work. He gave me that rule, which I have since broken at every chance. I've got a kiddie movie with a gang rape [rated PG] and I'm thinking, 'Thank God it premiered on a flight to China.'"
Luke: "Did anyone jump out of the plane?"
Joel: "I don't know but I'm sure it opened up a whole new world for the Chinese view of American culture.
"By the way, the dog didn't participate in the gang rape. He was a little dog so all he could do was nip at the heels of the assailants."
Luke: "What was Sandy's company called?"
Joel: "Many independent companies during the 1980s, including Sandy's, went bankrupt for a year and then came back under a new name. He had Sandy Howard International, Howard International, Sandy Howard Productions, Republic Pictures... If you stumble five times, you can go quiet for six months and then come back with big new fanfare. 'New astounding international company has a 12-picture slate for next month.' That's a salesmanship that I don't see as much anymore."
Luke: "It sounds like Menahem Golam and Yoram Globus of Cannon Pictures."
Joel: "Showmen. I worked with those guys for a while. I remember one time I went to Cannes and they had this big poster selling, 'Mitchum, Wayne, Taylor.' And it was Chris Mitchum, David Wayne, John Taylor. Those guys would do anything. And they're all cheap.
"I got involved after Menahem and Yoram split up and had this holy war against each other. Yoram Globus was my guy. Yoram was more the producer/financial side and Menahem was more of the creative guy.
"I got involved at the time of the Lambada dance craze. I had gone to Cannon Pictures from Dino De Laurentiis after making Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure. Dino had phoned up his pal [Giancarlo] Paretti. [Fortune magazine article] And we got a call, my partner Michael Murphey and I, to head up the new Cannon Pictures. We were totally jazzed to run a studio. We get there and meet with Chris Pearce, Yoram's backroom manipulating guy.
"We asked, 'So, what do we do?' Chris said, 'I'm not sure yet. There's another guy who wants to run the studio with you.' He sent us down to the script library to see if there was anything we wanted to make into a movie. Something to kill time.
"We come back up after lunch. Chris said, 'We'll figure this all out later. Just go down and get your ID cards so you can get a parking pass.' And I am so passive on these things. I say ok. So I went down and the screening guy asked for my title. I said, 'Story Department.' That got me the Lambada job.
"They had this new dance wave coming. They didn't have a script. So they gave me this old script that had nothing to do with dancing about a math teacher in East LA. 'Just put some dancing in it. Make it the Lambada. I don't care if you know how to dance or not. Just say, whenever they dance, that it is the Lambada. Just put a sexy girl in there and lets go. We've got to beat Menahem. They're shooting now.' They wanted to totally destroy the other guy's company.
Writes a critic on Imdb.com: "This film [The Forbidden Dance] that was hastily made to cash in on the short-lived 1990 Lambada craze is entertaining, to a point. Don't expect great dancing or a great film; this is basically an exploitation flick, what with those scenes of the Brazilian princess, who is trying to enter a national dance contest in the U.S. No, see it for nostalgia's sake, and because one of the things that makes this film entertaining is all the corny dialogue. Not only the Lambada, but also the save-the-rainforests subplot, were timely topics in 1990; remember just how hip an issue ecology was in 1990?"
As for Lambada. a poster on Imdb.com writes: "J. Eddie Peck smolders as Kevin Laird, a high school math teacher who lives in 2 worlds, the Beverly Hills school where he teaches and the east LA world where he came from. Delicious to watch, the dance scenes with the pulsing sexual undercurrents showcase J. Eddy Peck's attributes beautifully as does a voyeuristic butt shot as he writes on the blackboard in front of his Beverly Hills class. The classic themes are all here: there are no bad kids they're just misunderstood (West Side Story), we have more in common that we have differences, acceptance of diversity, you can't judge a book by it's cover. This movie will entertain, it has music, dancing, competition, overcoming obstacles, family values and a happy ending. Great date movie."
Joel: "The two versions came out a week apart. One had something like a two week post. The other had a three week post. Both were awful movies. The box office on ours was $1100 per screen [not good]. But Yoram was triumphant because it was $200 more per screen than Menahem's made. It didn't matter that they were both abject failures. It was that we won. I just realized that so much of this business is all about ego."
Luke: "How long did you last at Cannon?"
Joel: "My history seems to be that I hook up with a company, bankrupt them, and then move on. I never deliberately do this. I bankrupted Sandy once or twice. I got hired by Bob Shaye at New Line and made one of the Nightmare on Elm Streets. I thought they were about to go bankrupt, so I hopped over to DEG (De Laurentiis Entertainment Group, everybody in the '80 was an entertainment group) before I drove another company to extinction. And what do I do? I bankrupt DEG. Then I went to Cannon and bankrupted them. Then I worked with MCEG and bankrupted them. I did this horrible movie called Boris and Natasha. That was MCEG's last gasp. I don't think they ever made another movie. I don't think DEG ever made another movie after Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure.
"Then I stopped bankrupting other people's companies and came close to bankrupting my own when I started Neo Motion Pictures Arts & Logic in 1989 (later became Neo Art & Logic). But we've held together for 12 years now. We've tottered a couple of times. People suggested that I call my company 7/11 Productions because I'm always considering which bankruptcy option to take.
"I'm holding on at Miramax now. I haven't bankrupted them yet. I gave them an off year or two. But I think I've turned the corner."
Luke: "Do you think it is because you're working with your own money."
Joel: "Partially. But we still do things with other people's money, like Dimension Films."
Luke: "Is it your free spending ways?"
Joel: "Exactly the opposite. I'm the tightest. I'm cheap to a fault."
Luke: "Are you Jewish?"
Joel: "No. But I've learned enough that sooner or later, I am going to join the [Jewish] faith. I think it is only fair.
"It is physically impossible for me to squander money.
"I have made some turkeys in my career. But what has really done all these companies in is hubris. They have made far too many movies and sold too many rights away. The whole '80s was about overextension and greed. They'd make these giant monolithic companies with huge overheads, making movies that were completely antithetical to their original vision. Cannon was making an over the top $30 million Stallone turkey Over the Top. These companies suddenly want to be A list. It's an ego thing.
"Being successful making $3-5 million movies only gets you so far and then you need more gratification. In one year, Dino was making huge movies that were all $30 million out and one million in. The irony of my career is that the most successful movie I ever made bankrupted Dino. Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure . We made the movie for about $10 million and Dino sold it for a million because he thought it was a turkey. He didn't even test it. Orion picked it up and it tested through the roof. And it was a huge box office success. I don't know that I can shoulder all the blame for these bankruptcies. I just find it peculiar that I am attached to so many of them.
"Bill and Ted can be accused of stupefying the world but it contributed to the American idiom. When the president spoke about his excellent adventure... It's an ego thing to make a movie that has actual cultural impact, even if it is negative, you go, 'That is so cool.' A friend of mine in distribution informed me that the movie tanked in your home country of Australia.
"I've had a good clean run for the past 12 years. I've forged a reputation for being commercially viable. My last unsuccessful movie was Phantoms, 1998. Miramax was on a roll that year, so it didn't affect the balance sheet too badly. But I was in the doghouse for a year on that one.
"You never anticipate failure. You go into every movie thinking it will be a $100 million blockbuster. You have to think that way to work your ass off. You don't set off to make a bad movie.
"What's allowed me to survive some of my stumblings is that I've always behaved responsibly. During the 1980s, a lot of people were spending money wildly and blowing it up their nose, and the cars, and the lifestyle and all the trappings... That's what it was all about for them. And they had no respect for what they were given to do.
"When tax shelters fell away, and video [sales] fell away in the early '90s, it made what I do [independent films] really risky. That's why for much of the '90s, I found myself making films for less than I did in the early '80s. It took me awhile to get back to making a $3 million movie. That's one of the glories of working with [Bob Weinstein's] Dimension Films. They are one of the few companies willing to gamble in that $3-10 million zone. That's the gray area between a typical direct-to-video movie and a theatrical level production. Being owned by Disney, they have Buena Vista underneath them. Buena Vista is one of the few video distribution companies that can put out video product and make money on it. You can buy Buena Vista videos."
Luke: "You make a lot of sequels."
Joel: "There's a chapter in William Goldman's last book entitled, 'Sequels equals whores' movies.' Because there's nothing original about them. It's about money over passion. You're working a concept until nobody will pay you anymore. I don't think any producer in history has done as many sequels as I have."
Luke: "Does that mean that you are the biggest..."
Joel: "Whore in history. I think I should say it before you did it. I have made a concerted effort to start focusing on original material."
Luke: "You sound like a whore who goes to church."
Joel: "And I do have a heart of gold. In my defense, because I'm not sure that you will come to my defense... It is so hard to make movies in this industry. And it is even harder to make new or good movies. It is very hard to close the door when someone is pushing through a bag full of money to make a movie. So yes, guilty as charged.
"And it is not like I am running laughing to the bank. These movies are like ripples on water. Their budgets get smaller and smaller. They're pretty much invisible to the rest of the world but we still see them and that little chunk of change left to make them. And we still even care. We have never set out to make a bad movie. Honest. How they come bad, I haven't figured that out yet.
"And we've never set out, as many producers have, to go: 'They'll never know. It's just a box with shrinkwrap on it. If they open it up, that's not out responsibility. Our responsibility is getting it off the shelf.' Those are what they called in the '80s the poster movies. The box movies. Forget the script and the movie, get that art work. Get that picture on the cover of that cute chick with the gun. Even though we've been asked to do that. 'Nobody's going to care. They're buying the picture on the box. The roman numeral.'
"That's what we call sequels - roman numeral movies. It gives it more of a gothic feel."
Luke: "What are the Weinstein brothers like?"
Joel: "You must have heard many stories about them over the years but they are nothing if not unpredictable. They'll blow up at the slightest things. But I've done scenes that came out hideous, or a movie that was a big disappointment, and when things are at their worst, when you want to jump off a high bridge, they are the most gracious guys on earth. They'll tear you down, but they'll never let you fall. Even when they are on one of their tirades, I know that it is just energy dissipation directed at the world.
"Harvey Weinstein fired me off a show [Mothers Boy] in the mid '90s when I was supposed to be a supervised hitman for Miramax. I was supposed to shake down the production and get it back on track. I didn't do a good job and I got fired. After I got hired to make movies for Dimension, I used to avoid Harvey in the hallways in case he said, 'What's that guy I just fired doing back in my building?'
"Miramax has the art house mantel and Dimension the genre popcorn movies like Spy Kids, Scream, Dracula. The adage in the industry is that Harvey scarfs up all the statutes and Bob makes the money. And yet Miramax is always considered the bigger."
Luke: "Do you get a lot of beautiful women throwing themselves at you to be in movies?"
Joel: "Daily. That's why I have a casting couch here. No, again I am an anomaly. I've been happily married and living with the same woman since 1981. That whole thing has never been part of the game for me. I'd like to think that is because I have dignity and scruples. But a case could be made that nobody thinks that I have enough juice that I am worth sleeping with. I think I was flirted with in 1988 but it may have been a mistake in communications.
"You should interview this guy Don Phillips. He works with us. He's the most fascinating man I've ever known. He produced Melvin & Howard. He cast Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Dazed and Confused. He's the antithesis of me. He is Hollywood Babylon on wheels. Or was. He's a good boy now."
Don Phillips walks in the room.
Joel: "I don't know how I could've interviewed that any better. This guy is the good, bad and the ugly of Hollywood."
Luke to Don: "Do you have a card?"
Joel: "We don't do that."
Don: "Quick story. I got off the plane in Tel Aviv to prep a movie. I've got long hair. I get off the plane and the first thing that happens to me is that they point two Uzis at me and ask me to put my hands up. My friends look the other way. They take me to this tent and ask me why I am in Israel. I say it is to scout locations. They say, 'Well, do you have a card?' I said, 'No, we don't do cards.'
"They said, 'You don't have a card? You can't be in the business.' This went on for about 15 minutes. And the only reason they let me go is that I had just produced a movie called Melvin & Howard. It won some Oscars. And I was donating something to the Cinematec [large Tel Aviv film assocation]. And I had a letter from this great agent Lucy Collins. She represented Carl Sandberg. And she'd written a letter to Teddy Kollek, the mayor of Jerusalem."
Born March 25, 1971, producer Randall Emmett already had 19 feature credits to his name when I interviewed him in his office April 10, 2002.
Brash and fast talking, Emmett is in the mold of such producers as Avi Lerner, Joel Silver, and Don Simpson.
Randy: "I grew up in Miami, Florida. I had no entertainment connections in my family aside from a distant cousin, Jerry Bruckheimer. I had always known about him. My mother grew up with him in Detroit.
"I started in the acting thing when I was young. I went to New Worlds School of the Arts high school in Miami. I got a hold of a video camera and got into making my little video shorts.
"I spent my first college year at Delphi University in Long Island. I had a full scholarship for acting. I became mesmerized by the process of production. I loved being in that magical environment. In summer, I worked as a PA on the  movie The Hard Way, starring Michael J. Fox and LL CoolJ. I slept with my walkie talkie. It was the coolest thing in the world. As a PA, I got to lock up streets. I thought I'd arrived. I thought I was the big baller of PAs. At that point, I knew I had to be in movies.
"I wanted to go to film school and the only one I could get into was City College of City University of New York. I had no idea it was on 138th Street in Harlem. Here was this white Jewish kid from Miami, living on the Upper West Side. 'Oh, 138 St. It's just up 50 blocks. But once you pass Columbia University, it's a culture shock. I grew up in a sheltered environment. I had an 11:30PM curfew. I was a little momma's boy. And now I'm on a subway in Harlem and I'm in gangland. That was my growing up year. I was one of the few Caucasians at the school.
"When I look back on it, I was crazy. I'd stay in the editing room until 10PM and then walk a quarter of a mile to the subway. But that quarter-of-a-mile was gang infested. I guess I was blessed that nothing happened. It was extreme.
"Then I transferred to the School of Visual Arts on 23rd Street. I graduated in 1994. Everybody there wanted to be a director. I liked taking people's money and then budgeting it. These kids would have $15,000 and they would blow it. They'd never finish their projects. I became known as the production manager/producer. Every weekend for two years I was out shooting with these seniors. We did about 14 short films.
"We made a feature (Eyes Beyond Seeing) for $76,000. We went out to Long Island for four weeks. I put the crew up in a dorm. I had to have a star in the movie and the biggest one I could get was Henny Youngman. I called local TV stations to come out and cover us. We sold it for domestic release to UPN and we sold it foreign as well. And I knew that I wanted to be a Hollywood producer.
"I was in my dorm room drinking a 40 [ounce beer] and eating a slice of pizza, with three dollars in my pocket, when Jerry Bruckheimer returned my call. I remember what he said to me. He asked me what I wanted to do. I told him and then he replied, 'People will tell you what you do best. Instead of you deciding what you do best, people will tell you. And you'll find your thing.' And I found it in producing.
"I moved to Los Angeles. I worked as a development intern for Jerry Bruckheimer. I got a taste of Hollywood. I got to go to the editing room of Bad Boys and watch [director] Michael Bay. Unfortunately, I was jaded, because this was the highest level for a producer. I knew this was where I wanted to be but I didn't know there was a whole [spectrum] between Jerry Bruckheimer and nothing.
"One of my best friends was Mark Wahlberg. I met him the day I moved to LA. We hit it off. He loves film. I love film.
"Aaron Spelling wrote me a letter of recommendation and I took that to ICM with other letters of recommendation and I got my first assistant job, working for talent agent Nick Stein. Agencies are the nucleus of the business. If you want to learn how to be a producer, you need to go to an agency. That's where everything starts.
"I worked for Nick over a year. Then I left to work as a personal assistant to Mark Wahlberg for two years, leading up to his appearance in Boogie Nights. After 18 months, I left to work in foreign sales. I'd get on the phone and cold call people.
"A bunch of us producers started around the same time - Matt Rhodes, Tucker Tooley, Vincent Newman, David Glasser... We're all good friends. We all came up together. We'd all been burned by fake money guys. We'd met people who said they had $400 million to invest...
"Then I met my partner George Furla. He's a financier from a Wall Street background. I remember when he came into the room. He proves that you can't judge a book by its cover. I'm more of a stylish wear-it-on-the-sleeve kinda guy. My partner wears sweatpants and a T-shirt. If he's going to meet with the president, that's what he wears.
"He sat down in the room and I thought, 'Oh no. Another bullshitter. Another guy who knows a guy whose uncle in Kansas has $400 trillion.' I said, 'This movie's [1999's Speedway Junkie] going. I need this amount of money to hold the actor. I need this amount of money to hold the script.' Maybe a total of $30,000.
"He reached into his pocket, no contract, nothing, and pulled out crumpled up checks. They were balled up. And he starts writing checks. I thought it was a joke. He gave me three checks and then said, 'Ok, we've got to work out the deal.' I thought the checks would bounce like the NBA but they all went through. We opened up production offices and made the movie.
"During the production of that movie, we decided that we should partner up. We have a similar work ethic. Different people. I'm loud and obnoxious and in your face. George is reserved and calculating. If I go over the top, he's there to pull me back. And if we need to step forward, I'm there to say, 'Let's go.'
"George took us public [in year 2000. Emmett/Furla is owned by Familyroom Entertainment.]. We've made 19 movies."
Luke: "Someone told me that you're a mini Joel Silver."
Randall: "I've heard that a lot. I don't know Joel personally. To me, that's the biggest compliment in the universe. People say that I'm a mini Don Simpson. If I could have one tenth of the success that either of these producers had, I could die happily. Yeah, I yell and scream a lot. But it is all for a movie. I don't go down the street and yelling at the guy selling hot dogs. I'm yelling because I am a perfectionist and I want that movie to be the best. I have a partner who will sometimes say, 'Get back in your cage.'"
Luke: "What are some of the things you've learned from producing movies?"
Randall: "If you are fighting from day one with someone over little things, it will only get worse. These are not the type of people you want to work with.
"My biggest lessons have come from being fucked over. It's a good learning curve. But for me to say that there is anything bad about this business, about making movies, I'd have to reconfigure my answer. There is nothing bad about this business. I love making movies."
Why I Didn't Marry A Jewish Woman
Glenn writes: "Why didn't I marry a Jewish woman? The reason I lost interest in many Jewish women was the generally contemptuous, belittling, and bigoted attitude that so many of them have towards men. My family and I spend the Jewish holidays and many other occasions with a large group of Jewish relatives, friends, and acquaintances. During the dinner conversation one can be assured that, whatever couple just argued, broke up, separated, or divorced, it was all the man's fault. If we're discussing a woman who has chosen to be a full-time homemaker, the conversation will be about how poor (insert female name) suffers having to do the child care. No attention will be paid to the contributions of the husband, who's working a 50 hour week (or more) so his wife can have the time to love and care for the kids she chose to have."
Chaim Amalek writes: You should find a nice woman to whom you are attracted who is healthy and who loves you. Then marry her no matter her religion.
It may surprise you, but I do not know that I buy into this articles premises. Maybe it is because I no longer know many jewish women, maybe it is because I do not pay any heed to what any of them have to say about men, but I cannot say that they are any more likely to be hostile towards men than any other group of similar education and outlook. Of course, them's some pretty big qualifiers at the end. If you date women who think that "Sex in the City" is a template for life, or who is a liberal or a feminist, you know that you are going to get screwed. On the other hand, if you avoid all such women, you are also avoiding disproportionately many jewish women. But that is what you ought to do.
I'm throwing my full support behind this proposal as it is likely to get more dates for me and my 15 readers.
Khunrum writes: Don't believe it guys.....The bitch will treat you like a cab driver, at the end of the evening there will be no satisfaction and you'll still end up paying the check.....a large one.
Chaim writes: Contrary to all conventional wisdom, I have found that the more I pay, the less I get, and the less I pay, the more I get.
Say It Ain't So, Chaim
Aghast writes: Dear Mr. Ford: I am a daily reader of your page. I read it not for your tedious interviews with over-the-hill producers, but for the keen wit and profound wisdom of one Chaim Amalek. I generally find Amalek's commentary on religion, politics, and miscegenation to be right on target.
I recently purchased from a NYC street vendor a video cassette entitled, I Am Chaim: Up Close And Personal With Chaim Amalek. I had assumed it would be an indepth biographical profile of the learned Manhattanite. Imagine my shock and disgust when I discovered the video was actually a shaky homemade video of a morbidly obese man posing on a bed. Are these screen captures actual nude photos of the Chaim Amalek? And if they are can Mr. Amalek continue to set the high moral tone of lukeford.net? Sincerely, A Former Amalek Believer
Fred writes: Sir-- I must insist that you stop sending homoerotic photographs to Luke. Luke is already trying to end his addiction to such masturbatory imagery, and you are not helping any. I fear for Luke's eternal soul, and your efforts to lead him into temptation are highly counterproductive.
Goddess writes: I just saw that picture of Chaim on your site. WHOA!!! Why am I **wasting** time stalking Mike South?! I should just go after that hunk a hunk a hunk a hunk a burnin' love, Chaim.......I'm even willing to overlook the fact that he's not a Gentile....
No Sex, No Violence, No Sale
I met movie producer Mitchel Matovich at Starbucks April 8, 2002.
"Lightning in a Bottle [1999 $1 million movie starring Lynda Carter] was a hard movie to sell," says Mitchel. "The response I kept getting from the distributors was, 'No sex, no violence, no sale.' I couldn't get a good theatrical distribution or a cable TV sale. They told me that if I'd put some heavy sex scenes in it, they would've bought it.
"The movie has a strong message against drinking and driving. And the distributors would say, it's such a message movie, we wouldn't know how to handle it. Some would quote the old line attributed to Louis Mayer, 'If you want to send a message, use Western Union.'"
Luke: "But G and PG rated movies make more money than R-rated movies."
Mitchell: "That's what I tried to tell people. I did a lot of studies on that. PG and G movies make double what R-rated movies make. But there's a mentality in this town that the rest of the world lives the way they do, talks the way they do, acts the way they do. If they see a movie that portrays a lifestyle that is not theirs, they don't understand it. They don't understand that most people live between Los Angeles and New York. All those people who would never go see an R-rated movie come out of the woodwork to see a PG-rated film.
"Because I ran into this mentality when I tried to enter my film in festivals, I founded the Santa Clarita International Family Film Festival, which only allowed films for family viewing. It's frequently difficult to get a family film into a film festival because they look for cutting edge visuals and language - more profanity, more sex, more violence rather than good solid well-told stories.
"I was asked to talk to a Congressional committee about the use of drugs, including alcohol, in the media. I don't think I am too popular with many of the people in town because of what I said. The people who control a lot of the money of the industry also have a large interest in drugs, including alcohol. They're not happy about seeing products they're selling portrayed negatives on the screen. In spite of what they say, people are really impacted by what they see on screen. They lead their lives, in part, by what impresses them on screen.
"They [Hollywood] say, no, no, no, people don't really act out what they see on screen. If that is true, then why do they spend millions of dollars for a few seconds on screen in product placement and advertising? They bury their heads in the sand."
A native Californian, Matovich dropped out of college to become a rocket scientist. "I left college to work fulltime as a mechanical designer when I found out that I was making more money doing that over the summer than my college professor."
In his early 50s, he moved to Los Angeles in 1990 to make movies.
Luke: "Tell me about your first movie, 1991's Social Suicide?"
Mitchel: "Social Suicide just happened. My first movie was supposed to be one that I'd written, The Image Machine.
"I was in the aerospace business. Some of my friends say I was a rocket scientist. I worked during the 1950s at the computer lab of the Stanford Research Institute. I was hired away from SRI by Lockheed. I worked on the Polaris, the Poseidon, the Trident missile systems and the Discover and Samos Spy-in-the-Sky satellite system. I also worked on proposals for Skylab and the Space Shuttle. I went to the engineering systems division of FMC Corporation and got them into the aerospace industry when I won a major contract on the Space Shuttle program. I left them and bought my own company, the Morton company. I won contracts on the Space Shuttle and other government projects. I got ahead on what I could do, not on where I went to school.
"When I had my company [around 1986-88], I lived in Menlo Park, a small community behind Palo Alto. My plant was across the bay in Hayward. I had a 90-minute commute every day across the San Mateo Bridge. I decide I'd use this time to write a book. I bought a tape recorder and dictated my story as I drove. Then I'd give my secretary the tapes to transcribe. She'd have them ready for me before she went home at night. Eventually I had a manuscript (The Image Machine) put together, which I let some friends read. They liked it and said, 'Gee, this would make a tremendous motion picture. Better yet, a television series.'
"I took a class at a local college in screenplay writing and wrote the screenplay. When my instructor, a Hollywood screenwriter, said, 'This will sell,' I had my attorney send it to a few people in Los Angeles and immediately it got some interest.
"It's uncanny how we sometimes predict the future. The storyline of The Image Machine was about Arab terrorists coming to the United States posing as students. When I put together the various episodes for television series, one of the episodes had the Arab terrorists commandeering an airplane and crashing it into Washington D.C.. In other episodes, I had the terrorists using methods and implements that can do just as much damage. To insure the technical accuracy of the devices, I did the engineering on them and I know they can work. I'm scared to tell anyone about them because they can inflict so much damage. I've tried to contact the FBI to tell them to watch out for similar concepts but they won't answer my calls.
"I had meetings with Friese Entertainment about making it into a TV series. They wanted to do it and we got close to signing a deal. Then they wanted to see my credits. My writing credits are all engineering technical stuff. So they said, well, we'll have to put a known writer on it. I said, you mean it is good enough to do it but the name on it isn't good enough? Sorry, but I'll do it myself.
"I haven't done it yet. When I first wrote it, I wasn't that good of a writer. You improve as you go along. I haven't published the book published yet. But I've had two other books published, Webville and The Last Discoverer [available on Amazon.com]. I've got another one ready to go into print - The Fourth Reich.
"For my first movie, I'd agreed to work with a young couple [Larry Folders and Victoria Myer] who'd made a couple of low-budget movies. We agreed that each of us would raise half the money and we would co-produce The Last Discoverer. When it came down to the wire, I'd raised my half and they hadn't raised any. My half was not enough to make the planned movie. They had this screenplay they thought we could do inexpensively [Social Suicide]. They said that if we made that one, we could make the money to make my The Last Discoverer. I went along with them. Social Suicide was supposed to cost $200,000 but wound up costing over a million dollars. It did not do well.
"Larry and Victoria had been taken by the Hollywood ripoff artists and they thought everybody was out to get them. We had some real problems. It wound up in litigation. They sued me and I won. We are now friends again."
Luke: "Tell me about your 1992 Jason Alexander film, I Don't Buy Kisses Anymore?"
Mitchel: "I knew the writer, Johnnie Lindsell, and she asked me to produce it.
"We initially selected Stephen Furst for our lead. Then one day the the production secretary came into my office and told me that casting was having another reading for the lead. I asked the director [Robert Marcarelli] about it and he said they hadn't signed a deal with Furst. He wanted to look at Jason Alexander of Seinfeld fame. I went to the session and Jason read with Nia Peoples. He did look good. Rob kept assuring me that nobody had made a commitment to Stephen, and they gave Jason the part.
"As soon as the word got out about Jason getting the part, I got a phone call from Patricia O'Brian at SAG (Screen Actors Guild). She said, 'Mitch, you're in trouble. Jason was given the part promised to Stephen. And Stephen is upset. You will have to pay him the full amount whether you use him or not in the movie.' This was a low budget picture - $1.5 million. There was no way that there was enough money to pay Stephen and Jason and still make the picture.
"I called a meeting in my office and questioned everyone involved. They all swore up and down that no firm commitment had been made to Stephen. I specifically asked if anyone had put anything in writing or even made a verbal commitment to Stephen and I was told no. Feeling confiendent that I was on firm ground, I went to SAG and presented the facts to Patricia as they had been presented to me. Patricia said, 'Mitch, somebody is lying to you. Something was put in writing.' She dug into her desk and pulled out a letter that had been written to Stephen, telling him that he had the part.
"So I asked her for Stephen's phone number. I called him and I said I was sorry and I would like to get together and talk about a solution to our problem. We had lunch. He was upset and he could see that I was upset too. We talked about it and immediately liked one another. I told him that if he hit us for the full amount of what he would have been paid to do the picture, he'd kill the picture. He said, I don't want to do that. What's the most I can hit you for and not kill the picture? I thought about it for a moment and I told him. I gave him an honest answer. He saw that I wasn't trying to lowball him and he said ok. So I met him for lunch again, gave him the check and he signed a release. We became good friends and we're working on a project today.
"There's another story about this picture that appears in the book Tales From the Casting Couch by Terrie Maxine Frankel. When we were in pre-production for the picture, my friend Les Baxter, who did the music for the film, came down to the production office for a visit. His car was being repaired, so he asked his neighbor Larry Storch to drive him [veteran actor born in 1923]. While Les and I were talking, Larry wandered around the office. He picked up a copy of the script and started reading it.
"After a while, he comes into the office and says, 'This is a terrific project. Can I have a part in it?' I told him that we didn't have any money. He said he didn't care. He'd work for scale [lowest wage allowed by union law]. So when he said that, we increased the number of lines in one part and gave it to him.
"That's what happens when you have a nice clean project that is story driven and does not depend on explosions and sex and profanity to hold its audience. People kill to work on it.
"When we opened the picture in Los Angeles, we got fantastic reviews. [Los Angeles Times movie critic] Kevin Thomas, who's normally critical, didn't have a single negative in his review. When the picture opened, you couldn't get a seat in the theater. Audiences loved it but not many got to see it. The distributor [Skouras Films] got a substantial sum of money from Paramount for P&A [movie prints and advertising] in exchange for video rights. The distributor's daughter was getting married up in the wine country [Napa Valley] and he was throwing a multi-million dollar wedding and he needed a lot of money. So, I've heard, he pulled the picture from the theaters and spent the P&A money on his daughter's wedding. That is what I've been told. The financier of the picture [Chuck Weber] sued Skouras Films and won the lawsuit. Skouras declared bankruptcy and because there were no visible assets, it never paid any of the judgement.
"Even though I own 20% of the picture, I will never see a penny from it. I didn't even get all my wages. I put it on the screen."
Luke: "Do you have any good stories from the production of the film?"
Mitchel smiles: "There are a couple of things I could tell you but I might wind up getting sued. This is a rough town when it comes to putting things in print. I would definitely get sued if I told you about some of the things that went on."
Luke: "Suffice to say there were people in it that you don't want to work with again?"
Mitchel: "That's right. It's a funny business. If you know what the person is capable of, you can work with them and guard against it. If you know they lie, you take that into consideration if they have other talents that you need."
Luke: "Tell me about 1993's Lightning in a Bottle."
Mitchell: "Writer Jonnie Lindsell called me to say that she'd seen Lynda Carter on television seeking a good solid female-driven project. I got my casting director to send the script to her agent. Three weeks went by and we didn't hear anything. We called the agent. He said he'd sent it to her. Time kept going by. Finally, I found out that the agent had never sent the script. He was waiting for us to make a pay or play offer [meaning that you have to pay the actor even if you never make the picture]. I found out Lynda had an office in the area. I called her secretary and asked if they'd heard about the screenplay. No. She asked me what it was about and then said she hadn't but would call Lynda and see if it had gone directly to her. She called me back in less than an hour and said Lynda hadn't seen it but that she loved the concept and wanted me to send a copy to her home. So we did. And we hand delivered a copy to Linda's manager Melissa Prophet at the old Warner Brothers lot on Melrose Blvd.
"It was the morning that the LA riots started, and the crowd was moving towards Warner Brothers. Melissa had to evacuate the studio and she left the script behind. I heard that she got a call from Lynda asking if she'd read the screenplay. And when she explained that she'd left it on the lot, Lynda tried to fax it to her, she was so excited about the part.
"When we were raising money for the film, Lynda flew out from her home in Virginia to Northern California where Johnny Lindsell threw a big party at the Los Altos Country Club for potential investors.
"During the making of the film, Lynda's husband was being prosecuted for something he didn't do. The scandal sheets were after her. They printed articles that had no basis in fact. Lynda was always on the set on time and she always knew her lines and she was just a delight to work with."
Luke: "Your next film was 1999's Deadly Delusions."
Mitchel: "A friend called and told me that she had a wealthy widow friend who wanted to make pictures based on screenplays my friend had written. Could I make a picture for $250,000? I said I could but I would not if the investors took half the ownership of the picture as they normally do [and the producer takes the other half].
"The cast and crew on a low budget picture always gets screwed. They work their buns off for nothing and then, if the producer makes a ton of money on it, they don't see any of the profit. I think that's unfair. On a low budget picture, it is only fair that the cast and crew own half of it. The couple agreed.
"Because I was producing and directing the film, I needed a reliable line producer to manage the production details. [Mitchel hired production manager Renee Roland.] The lady I hired was recommended by my director of photography but she was unable to perform to expectations. In my opinion, her primary interest was to make me look bad so she could the ladies to let her producer the rest of their pictures. And she did. According to my accountant, she wrote many checks that should not have been written, putting us over budget. Instead of staying in the office to take care of details, she was on the set every day talking to the two lady investors. They were swayed by her and they later made a film together, Storytellers."
I found this suspicious review on Imdb.com: "This film is wonderfully acted by Mitzi Kapture and Tippi Hedren. It presents the first effort of a really good up and coming producer, Renee Roland. The story centers around a young man who takes credit for the writing talents of his Aunt. He is ultimately discovered but it is an interesting ride through out the picture."
Mitchel: "Instead of $250,000 they gave her a $500,000 budget and I understand that she went over by more than 100%. In my opinion, they got taken for a ride.
"It took me a while to find a distributor for Deadly Delusions. Distribution is a funny business. They can really screw you. If you let them, hey'll take your picture away from you and you'll never see a dime. I found a distributor who was hot to handle the picture. I went to the lab to get the negative and they didn't have it. It'd been picked up by employees of the post-production house where we were editing the picture, and it was never returned to the lab's vault. The post-house went bankrupt. Nobody knew what happened to the negative. We're in court about it. I've got a completed video of the picture that I took off the Avid [editing system] but it is not good enough [quality] to sell.
"Here's a good example of how people renege on their word in this business. I've got a screenplay based on my book The Last Discoverer. A company told me they would fund the project if I could get Tom Selleck to play the lead. So I go through the hassle of getting a letter from Tom Selleck's manager expressing interest. And then company backs away, telling me that they don't think Tom Selleck is a big enough name. Now I was going to do this picture, comparable to Air Force One, for $6 million. Tom Selleck isn't a big enough name for a $6 million movie?
"The problem that all independent producers face is that major studios won't work with you unless you have your cast in line. You can't get your cast in line unless you make a pay or play offer [to stars, which requires financial backing, preferably from a studio]."
E-Mail The President About Israel
Or Just Trust In God?
Luzdedos1: I trust in God and wait humbly for him to send the Messiah.
Returning To Orthodox Judaism
Marc W. writes: According to the latest statistics (the 1990 National Jewish Population Survey), 17 percent of the more than 260,000 American Orthodox Jews‹some 44,200 Jews‹had a non-Orthodox upbringing. Rabbi Yitz Greenman, executive director of the New York branch of Aish Hatorah, a Jerusalem-based Jewish educational and outreach organization founded in 1974, puts the number slightly higher. Greenman estimates that 1 percent of America¹s 6 million Jews, roughly 60,000 people, are baalei teshuva.
If becoming orthodox ba'al teshuvah is regarded as an ideal way for youngish jews on this continent, how come we're not hearing about a wave of secular israelis becoming more observant? Wouldn't they be thinking that'd make things better over there? to spread more monotheism around? Might be proof that the BT business is BS.
From the March 14, 2002, Chicago Daily Herald:
The book has no pictures. It is 350 pages long, has more than 400 footnotes and an eight-page bibliography. Yet one Elgin resident says it is borderline pornography.
The book in question is titled "A History of X: 100 Years of Sex in Film" by Luke Ford.
Ronald Milner saw the book, which documents the history of cinematic pornography, one Sunday while browsing through the film reference section at the Gail Borden Public Library in Elgin.
Milner said the book is "appalling" in its description of the subjects of those films. "It's not something I want my 6-year-old or any 6-year-old reading."
Milner stood before the library's board of trustees Tuesday evening and asked that the book either be removed from the shelves or be placed under restriction so young readers would not have access to it.
The board, minus President Joan Berna and Trustee Sandra Wegman who were absent, unanimously rejected both requests.
The demand pitted the 34-year-old Milner against library Trustee Mike "E.C." Alft, a 76-year-old historian who argued over the book's alleged offensiveness and said he had found recent novels more vulgar.
Alft defended the library's selection process, which depends on reviews by standard sources. He also challenged the possibility of censorship. "(The library) provides information for the entire community, even the 'sickies,'" he said.
Under the library's bill of rights, resources are made available to everyone, regardless of age.
"We're not going to have books in a locked case," Alft said. He suggested parents censor their children's books.
Having exhausted the library's three-step process of opposing material through the library, its director, and, lastly, its board, Milner said he now will bring his fight before the city council and rally citizens for support.
Although "A History of X" is standard in local libraries, including those in Arlington Heights and the library at McHenry County College, Milner said Elgin residents should choose whether they want it on their library's shelves.
Khunrum writes: Luke, This is excellent news....With the publicity being generated you could possibly sell another 6-10 copies of The History of X ....BTW, isn't it time for an updated edition?
Fred writes: Sir-- You beat me to the punch. This is excellent news indeed. I suggest that the updated version include details concerning efforts by an outraged public to ban this nasty, evil prose. And you call yourself orthodox....
Since when do we use six year olds as the standard for whether books should be in libraries. I hope the city counsel has the gumption to pass a resolution that Milner is a jerk, and asking him to leave town.
Ben writes: You know you've made it when they want to throw your book on the pyre.
Luke says: My insecure ego loves the attention. My highest values, my religion, my upbringing and my family and some friends, would agree with Ronald Milner. The journalist in me agrees with the librarian.
JMT writes: "Ronald Milner" waiting to address the Elgin, Illinois library board of trustees. The fact that Oprah is shutting down the book club is no excuse for this kind of desparate scam. JustMrT (OK, so I can't photoshop like Curious. So shoot me already.)
Curious writes: I tried to have A History of X banned from the Modesto, CA public library for this offensive homoerotic photo!