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Other Voices

By Other Voices

Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

So it is finally here, Lord of the Rings: Return of the King the final installment. This is no review. All the reviews were great. It truly brings a brilliant spectacular ending to the biggest project and gamble in film history. Return of the King will kill at the box office and I’m sure make a fortune. Its writer/directorPeter Jackson should surely get the Oscar for all of his magnificent work.

By the way, this is the only one of the trilogy I have seen. While working as CNN Senior Entertainment Correspondent I was able to avoid doing the junkets or attending premiers for the previous “Rings.” I know this won’t sit well with the many fans that have followed every move the hobbits and Gollum or the fate of Middle Earth, but there was just too much for me to follow.

These days since I’m on radio, tv and world wide web and on my own, I faced the music and went to a recent screening.

Bottom line is, I kind of enjoyed it. Still, even as I tried to grasp what was going on in the Walled White City, the chief city of Gondor. Or why the Orcs had all the weapons of mass destruction but no dentists. Then there was Frodo and Sam trying to return the ring so things would get back to normal, or as normal as things are in Middle Earth. Of course creepy Gollum wasn’t making things any easier for them. The line, though, that will be the films stand-out comes from Eowyn, the niece of the King of Rohan, played by Miranda Otto.


In the heat of battle on the Pelennor Fields Rohan goes head to ugly head with a member of the evil army of Sauron who declares to her, “No man can kill me.” Her reply, “I am no man!” Yay! for the women.


But, you guys already know all this stuff. You read the books and discuss this stuff with your “Ringlet” friends. I think its great but I’m out now to help folks like me, the minority. So don’t be surprised if one day soon you don’t see, “The Complete Idiots Guide to The Lord of the Rings” by Bill Tush.

Stuck On You

Every now and then I’ll go to a regular theatre to watch a film, sitting right there with folks who shelled out actual money to buy a ticket. Guys like me always try to go to screenings. Who wouldn’t? They’re free and since you are surrounded by people who do what you do, they are well behaved. Going to the multiplex down the street is always a gamble as to audience reaction.

So the other day I bought my ticket and saw Stuck On You. It of course is the new sick comedy fron the Farrelly Brothers. This time out Greg Kinnear is Walt, the conjoined twin of Bob, Matt Damon. Walt wants to be an actor and convinces his other half to go to Hollywood with him. The Siamese twin jokes come fast and furious.

Oh! I’m sorry they are not Siamese. They are American!

That line is in the movie. You have to remember the Farrelly’s are equal opportunity offenders and no one is safe. After all, they made, Dumb and Dumber, Something About Mary, Me Myself and Irene and of course Shallow Hal.

Eventually the twins accidentally meet Cher, who is playing herself – or at least what we think she might be like – egotistical, self-centered and dealing abuse to those around her. She treats her personal assistant like a dog, literally. In the film, Cher is signed to do a TV. series that she doesn’t want to do. Her brainstorm comes when she casts Walt as her co-star knowing full well the show will bomb with a co-star who’s brother is attached to him. Well, the show is a hit and I’m not going to tell you where the rest of Stuck On You goes.

Now here is why I told you I saw this, what I thought was really funny film in a theatre. The rest of the audience didn’t seem to get it. There was barely a laugh except for mine. It actually seemed to me that the jokes went over their heads. Is that possible? I mean inDumb and Dumber the laughter brought tears when Jeff Daniels did his big toilet scene and the hair gel episode in Mary is classic comedy. Do me a favor, if you see Stuck On You let me know what you think could it be that gross-out comedy is just becoming too mainstream?

That’s thirty for now.

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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon