Life in Hollywood, below-the-line

Life in Hollywood, below-the-line
Work gloves at the end of the 2006/2007 television season (photo by Richard Blair)

Sunday, May 7, 2017


            Apropos of nothing in particular, a storyboard sketch from "The Wild Bunch"

Yeah, I know -- this has to be just about the worst post-title ever... but the one I've been hacking away at this past week just isn't ready to publish, and until it is, I won't. As the late, great Orson Welles used to intone while doing those sad, drunken Paul Mason commercials in the twilight of his career, "We will sell no wine before its time."

Which means I've got nothing but filler this week... except for this entirely dazzling two minute spot purportedly put together by a Visual Effects Artist for the express purpose of selling his twenty year old car. As one of my fellow juicers on set used to say (and still does, actually), this one is "epic!"*

It's definitely worth a look, so check it out.

As foThe Wild Bunch -- if for some unfathomable reason you haven't seen this movie, you owe it to yourself to rectify that situation. Yes, it's a western, and although I realize the current generation views westerns as quaint, dusty cinematic relics irrelevant to these modern times (which means they must not have seen the films of Budd Boetticher or  Anthony Mann, either), this one is worth your time. And no, not for all of Sam Pekinpah's infamous slow-motion violence, but for the tight, elegant, compelling construction of The Wild Bunch -- it's all muscle, without an ounce of fat. Any of you would-be/wannabe/someday directors out there can learn a lot from this movie -- so don't turn up your noses while waiting for the next bloated comic book CGI spectacular to hit the screen. Sit down and watch The Wild Bunch, a movie that exemplifies the best of old-school, pre-digital film making. Just remember to open your mind and check your preconceived notions at the door.**

Meanwhile, I'll be back when I have something ready -- and not before...

PS: a little add-on here, five hours later.  If you click on over to Dollygrippery, you'll find a link to a fascinating and informative clip with two special effects artists talking about the work they did on several of the Alien franchise sequels. I must confess that I've only seen the original Alien -- none of the follow-ups -- but that didn't matter. The discussion will doubtless thrill the Alien fanboy crowd on levels I'll never understand, but there's so much more than that. Watch and listen, and you'll learn a lot about the realities of the modern film industry.

* You know who you are... 

** Years ago, I BB'd a commercial on location in Monterrey, California, where we used the local state college film department's stage, green screen, and lights to do a couple of shots. Three film students were assigned to help us -- one to run the dimmer and two to do... whatever.  The dimmer op was great, but other two were useless. One wore a beret and kept muttering about "putting my reel together to take to LA," while the other apparently considered us to be money-grubbing, sold-out Hollywood barbarians untutored in the fine art of film. Doing my best to bridge the gap while ignoring her vague hostility and utterly unearned arrogance, I noticed a poster for The Wild Bunch in a hallway, and asked if she'd seen it. 
"We watched some clips," she sniffed.  
"That's really not enough," I explained, "you have to see the whole movie to appreciate it."  
She stared at me as if I was a baboon who'd suddenly gained the power of speech, yet was babbling nonsense -- at which point I just gave up...


k4kafka said...

"She stared at me as if I was a baboon who'd suddenly gained the power of speech, yet was babbling nonsense -- at which point I just gave up..."

Priceless prose,Michael...

Austin said...

Hilarious anecdote at the end, I know many kids like that.

Michael Taylor said...

K4 --

Thanks -- glad you liked it...

Austin --

A little knowledge can be a dangerous thing, leading to a serous case of Attitudinal Impairment.