Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Word Jumble

Below is an interesting email circulating the internet, as interesting (or irritating) emails do. I have come across this theory in a number of guises - it seems we image words in whole bites, not letter by letter. For those of you who read extensively, I wonder if you've ever had this same experience on a paragraph by paragraph basis. I used to read non-fiction this way in college - a version of speed reading.


I cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid Aoccdrnig to rscheearch taem at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Such a cdonition is arppoiately cllaed Typoglycemia :)-

Amzanig huh? Yaeh and yuo awlyas thought slpeling was ipromtnant.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

AFI's Top 100 U.S. movie quotations

All right, beloved blog readers.....what's missing?

I'll go first. "It rubs the lotion on its skin or else it gets the hose again."

What are your favorites that aren't represented?

AFI's Top 100:

1. "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn," "Gone With the Wind," 1939.

2. "I'm going to make him an offer he can't refuse," "The Godfather," 1972.

3. "You don't understand! I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I could've been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am," "On the Waterfront," 1954.

4. "Toto, I've got a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore," "The Wizard of Oz," 1939.

5. "Here's looking at you, kid," "Casablanca," 1942.

6. "Go ahead, make my day," "Sudden Impact," 1983.

7. "All right, Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my close-up," "Sunset Blvd.," 1950.

8. "May the Force be with you," "Star Wars," 1977.

9. "Fasten your seatbelts. It's going to be a bumpy night," "All About Eve," 1950.

10. "You talking to me?" "Taxi Driver," 1976.

11. "What we've got here is failure to communicate," "Cool Hand Luke," 1967.

12. "I love the smell of napalm in the morning," "Apocalypse Now," 1979.

13. "Love means never having to say you're sorry," "Love Story," 1970.

14. "The stuff that dreams are made of," "The Maltese Falcon," 1941.

15. "E.T. phone home," "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial," 1982.

16. "They call me Mister Tibbs!", "In the Heat of the Night," 1967.

17. "Rosebud," "Citizen Kane," 1941.

18. "Made it, Ma! Top of the world!", "White Heat," 1949.

19. "I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!", "Network," 1976.

20. "Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship," "Casablanca," 1942.

21. "A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti," "The Silence of the Lambs," 1991.

22. "Bond. James Bond," "Dr. No," 1962.

23. "There's no place like home," "The Wizard of Oz," 1939.

24. "I am big! It's the pictures that got small," "Sunset Blvd.," 1950.

25. "Show me the money!", "Jerry Maguire," 1996.

26. "Why don't you come up sometime and see me?", "She Done Him Wrong," 1933.

27. "I'm walking here! I'm walking here!", "Midnight Cowboy," 1969.

28. "Play it, Sam. Play 'As Time Goes By,'" "Casablanca," 1942.

29. "You can't handle the truth!", "A Few Good Men," 1992.

30. "I want to be alone," "Grand Hotel," 1932.

31. "After all, tomorrow is another day!", "Gone With the Wind," 1939.

32. "Round up the usual suspects," "Casablanca," 1942.

33. "I'll have what she's having," "When Harry Met Sally...," 1989.

34. "You know how to whistle, don't you, Steve? You just put your lips together and blow," "To Have and Have Not," 1944.

35. "You're gonna need a bigger boat," "Jaws," 1975.

36. "Badges? We ain't got no badges! We don't need no badges! I don't have to show you any stinking badges!", "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre," 1948.

37. "I'll be back," "The Terminator," 1984.

38. "Today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth," "The Pride of the Yankees," 1942.

39. "If you build it, he will come," "Field of Dreams," 1989.

40. "Mama always said life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get," "Forrest Gump," 1994.

41. "We rob banks," "Bonnie and Clyde," 1967.

42. "Plastics," "The Graduate," 1967.

43. "We'll always have Paris," "Casablanca," 1942.

44. "I see dead people," "The Sixth Sense," 1999.

45. "Stella! Hey, Stella!", "A Streetcar Named Desire," 1951.

46. "Oh, Jerry, don't let's ask for the moon. We have the stars," "Now, Voyager," 1942.

47. "Shane. Shane. Come back!", "Shane," 1953.

48. "Well, nobody's perfect," "Some Like It Hot," 1959.

49. "It's alive! It's alive!", "Frankenstein," 1931.

50. "Houston, we have a problem," "Apollo 13," 1995.

51. "You've got to ask yourself one question: 'Do I feel lucky?' Well, do ya, punk?", "Dirty Harry," 1971.

52. "You had me at `hello,'" "Jerry Maguire," 1996.

53. "One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got in my pajamas, I don't know," "Animal Crackers," 1930.

54. "There's no crying in baseball!", "A League of Their Own," 1992.

55. "La-dee-da, la-dee-da," "Annie Hall," 1977.

56. "A boy's best friend is his mother," "Psycho," 1960.

57. "Greed, for lack of a better word, is good," "Wall Street," 1987.

58. "Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer," "The Godfather Part II," 1974.

59. "As God is my witness, I'll never be hungry again," "Gone With the Wind," 1939.

60. "Well, here's another nice mess you've gotten me into!", "Sons of the Desert," 1933.

61. "Say `hello' to my little friend!", "Scarface," 1983.

62. "What a dump," "Beyond the Forest," 1949.

63. "Mrs. Robinson, you're trying to seduce me. Aren't you?", "The Graduate," 1967.

64. "Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!", "Dr. Strangelove," 1964.

65. "Elementary, my dear Watson," "The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes," 1929.

66. "Get your stinking paws off me, you damned dirty ape," "Planet of the Apes," 1968.

67. "Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine," "Casablanca," 1942.

68. "Here's Johnny!", "The Shining," 1980.

69. "They're here!", "Poltergeist," 1982.

70. "Is it safe?", "Marathon Man," 1976.

71. "Wait a minute, wait a minute. You ain't heard nothin' yet!", "The Jazz Singer," 1927.

72. "No wire hangers, ever!", "Mommie Dearest," 1981.

73. "Mother of mercy, is this the end of Rico?", "Little Caesar," 1930.

74. "Forget it, Jake, it's Chinatown," "Chinatown," 1974.

75. "I have always depended on the kindness of strangers," "A Streetcar Named Desire," 1951.

76. "Hasta la vista, baby," "Terminator 2: Judgment Day," 1991.

77. "Soylent Green is people!", "Soylent Green," 1973.

78. "Open the pod bay doors, HAL," "2001: A Space Odyssey," 1968.

79. Striker: "Surely you can't be serious." Rumack: "I am serious ... and don't call me Shirley," "Airplane!", 1980.

80. "Yo, Adrian!", "Rocky," 1976.

81. "Hello, gorgeous," "Funny Girl," 1968.

82. "Toga! Toga!", "National Lampoon's Animal House," 1978.

83. "Listen to them. Children of the night. What music they make," "Dracula," 1931.

84. "Oh, no, it wasn't the airplanes. It was Beauty killed the Beast," "King Kong," 1933.

85. "My precious," "The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers," 2002.

86. "Attica! Attica!", "Dog Day Afternoon," 1975.

87. "Sawyer, you're going out a youngster, but you've got to come back a star!", "42nd Street," 1933.

88. "Listen to me, mister. You're my knight in shining armor. Don't you forget it. You're going to get back on that horse, and I'm going to be right behind you, holding on tight, and away we're gonna go, go, go!", "On Golden Pond," 1981.

89. "Tell 'em to go out there with all they got and win just one for the Gipper," "Knute Rockne, All American," 1940.

90. "A martini. Shaken, not stirred," "Goldfinger," 1964.

91. "Who's on first," "The Naughty Nineties," 1945.

92. "Cinderella story. Outta nowhere. A former greenskeeper, now, about to become the Masters champion. It looks like a mirac ... It's in the hole! It's in the hole! It's in the hole!", "Caddyshack," 1980.

93. "Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death!", "Auntie Mame," 1958.

94. "I feel the need — the need for speed!", "Top Gun," 1986.

95. "Carpe diem. Seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary," "Dead Poets Society," 1989.

96. "Snap out of it!", "Moonstruck," 1987.

97. "My mother thanks you. My father thanks you. My sister thanks you. And I thank you," "Yankee Doodle Dandy," 1942.

98. "Nobody puts Baby in a corner," "Dirty Dancing," 1987.

99. "I'll get you, my pretty, and your little dog, too!", "The Wizard of Oz," 1939.

100. "I'm king of the world!", "Titanic," 1997.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Hollywood Slump

Box office is in its sixteen week of declining revenues, en route to its worst financial showing in twenty years.

And to this I say….no shit.

For years now, the studios have shifted their model to marketing to teens (with their disposable income and lazy-ass schedules, they represent a large movie-going sector and will see movies they like numerous times) and have geared everything toward a big first-weekend gross. Van Helsing is a classic example. Universal marketed the hell out of it—McDonald tie-ins, endless P&A, talk of TV, amusement-park, and film franchise tie-ins—so it exploded in weekend #1—$52 million, but wound up at only $120 mil (“only” because the budget was $170, P&A $50). The huge second and third weekend declines were due to the fact that, though the special effects were stunning, the story just wasn’t that great. Sure, the studio will recover through foreign and DVDs and not take a bath, but still, the focus, it seems, was more on marketing than creative development.

With how hard it is to develop and produce a quality picture, I believe the studios no longer really TRY—they know with an aggressive ad campaign they can cash in on opening weekend before word of mouth spreads that the movie is mediocre, and they know they can recoup with foreign/DVD/tie-ins. So using this mediocre model again and again is easier than putting in extra time and effort to ensure that a film is sophisticated and good.

A byproduct of this strategy is that movie-going sectors OTHER than teens have been alienated from going to theatres. I have to go to films—it’s essential to my job as a screenwriter to know who’s doing what and how well, and I’m a judge on the Mystery Writers of America’s Best Screenplay Committee and the Chair of the International Thriller Writers’ Best Script Panel—but my wife, for instance, has largely lost interest. Why? Of the last, maybe 20 films we’ve gone to, 18 have been a waste of time. She’s been disappointed so continuously that she’d rather stay home, read a book, rent an old DVD (or better, a new DVD of an old movie). When actual quality adult films (pardon the phrase) come out, they have a harder time drawing grown-ups back to the theaters because they’ve fallen out of the habit of attending.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

DO NO HARM Takes a Dirt Nap

On the sad stretch of Van Nuys where it intersects Ventura Boulevard, there is a Crown Books that went to a Supercrown that is now an unnamed store filled with remaindered copies of Whoopi Goldberg’s autobiography and kitty calendars (which I supposed beats Whoopi Goldberg calendars and kitty autobiographies). From the outside you might think it has been taken over by squatters. My one-time agent, Jess Taylor, was in from Brazil, and desirous of that finest offering of the City of Angels—In-N-Out. So we ate our Double-Doubles and ambled across the parking lot to the not-really-a-Supercrown. Together, we made fun of our various friends and colleagues who had been remaindered in such squalor. Ha! Peter’s latest is at five bucks while Joanne’s still selling at six fifty.

Then what do I spot?

My very own DO NO HARM, the telltale magic marker scrawl staining the page edges.

Without missing a beat, Jess turns to me and says, “I just figured out the name of the store: Ozymandias Books.”


For the record, here is Percy Bysshe Shelley’s poem.


I met a traveller from an antique land,
Who said—“Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desart…Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk a shattered visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;
And on the pedestal these words appear:
My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings,
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.”

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Book Expo America Update

Taxi ride.
Great to see you! Great to see YOU!
Where's the galleys for Lee Child's book? That bitch in the lime-green jacket took two and now they're out.
This food sucks. Where's Rey's Original? Which one? Doesn't matter.
When are you signing galleys? Can't I just take one now?
Don't turn around. That's the agent I fired.
She switched houses but her editor doesn't know so don't tell her when you see her.
Taxi ride.
Where's Judith Regan?
How long have you been at CAA?
Who else is here?
And you are? OH- of course.
Gin and tonic.
Jennifer Weiner's having a penthouse party. Right, but what if I get seen there? She seems nice and all, but IN HER SHOES? It'll ruin my image as a thriller writer. Who cares? Good point.
Taxi. Come on - you can take five. She'll sit in my lap. We'll give you a bigger tip. Where are you from? Really? I have family from Pakistan!
White wine.
EVERYONE'S at the Algonquin. Let's haul ass.
Cheese platter.
More cheese.
Another gin and tonic.
Taxi ride.
Uh oh.