Top 10 Movies About Redemption

To qualify redemption had to be a serious theme.  No last minute redemption (Sorry Return of the Jedi).  No minor character redemption.  And no failed redemption.

  • Unforgiven
  • A Clockwork Orange
  • Groundhog Day
  • Bad Lt.
  • American History X
  • The Apartment
  • The Wrestler
  • Shawshank Redemption
  • Scrooged
  • On the Waterfront
  • It’s a Wonderful Life

Cross Your Fingers… Xeric

Apparently not everyone follows the instructions when applying for grants.  I got this postcard from Xeric the other day in regard to my application for the graphic novel R.E.M.

Good news is – I’m all set.  So now I just have to cross my fingers and hope they love the material.

Top 5 Movies That Got Me Into Movies


The first film I saw where I was not only blown away, but thought to myself, ‘Hey, I think I can do that.’

The Brothers McMullen

I am a Long Island Irish (and Italian) Catholic boy and can relate to Ed Burns, more so than Aronofsky – who is also a NY’er.  Burns grew up in a similar environment as me, and in fact we share common friends (although I’ve never met him). The ability to take an ultra-low budget, financed by donations from family and friends, and turn it into an indie hit spoke volumes to me when I first realized that I wanted to follow a path in film.  Brothers and Pi were the two most influential films for me at the onset – which is odd because of their two very different styles.  I think I’ve seen each over 50 times now.  I found Burns’ film to be tightly edited and shot well, two things you don’t find often in indie films.  The subject matter of the film really hit home and I thought each storyline was accessible.

Bottle Rocket

Cost a lot more than the other two, but it was so simple and executed so well.  It came at a time when indies were all trying to be Tarantino rip-offs, Wes Anderson breathed some life into the indie landscape – and created an avalanche of rip-offs of his style.

The Godfather

The perfect combination between blockbuster and arthouse masterpiece.

Star Wars

To me, the best blockbuster ever made.  How can you not be inspired after seeing this movie?

Top 5 Movie Phone Calls

This is about the best phone call in a movie, not the best movie with a memorable phone call.

  • Heat – What am I doing? I’m talking to an empty telephone.
  • Scream – Do you like scary movies?
  • Memento – the whole movie is him recounting things over a phone call
  • Jerry Maguire – I love the black man! Show me the money!
  • Ferris Bueller – take your pick, there are a few gems

Honorable Mentions

  • Once Upon a Time in America
  • Dial M for Murder
  • Boiler Room (first close)
  • American Psycho
  • Mulholland Drive
  • Swingers
  • Dog Day Afternoon
  • Tropic Thunder (Tom Cruise)
  • Glen Gary Glen Ross
  • Goodfellas

What is the single best piece of fitness equipment?

This question was posed to Dr. Michael Lam, a doctor famous for his crusade against Adrenal Fatigue.

Answer: “The best piece of equipment is perhaps the cheapest – the jump rope. It offers cardiovascular benefits and tones the upper body at the same time. Nothing else comes close. Practically speaking, however, the best piece of fitness equipment to purchase is one that fits into your budget and one that you will use regularly.”

I personally use the Buddy Lee Master Jump Rope.

We May Pause… But We Don’t Stop

I’ve been slacking here, but for good reason.  Last night (or I guess this morning) around 4am I finished a rewrite of my latest script Penny Black.  It’s a quirky thriller.  Someone already compared it to Lost Highway, which is actually very flattering. David Lynch is a big inspiration for me. And when I set out to write the project the two movies I had in my head were Mulholland Drive and Amelie.  I know, I know… they don’t add up.  But if you read this you’d understand.  I guess a lot of Brad Anderson’s The Machinist creeps through the cracks as well – and that same person brought it up in reference to the script.  All very positive for me.

I’ve been outlining this project for about two and a half years.  It went through three complete and total overhauls. As in, it would be unrecognizable. I’m glad I never rushed it, because this version is so much better. In an odd way it is a mash-up of a few of my other projects (in some ways quite literally). Chasing Rabbits and R.E.M. to be exact.

The goal was always to write something that I could do for nothing.  (Nothing in the film world being a lot in the real world). Of course, as I fall more in love with the story and characters the more I want it to be perfect.  I just need to keep my focus and figure out how to do it with the least amount of money possible.  Right now my budget is $200,000 ($25,000 for about 10 minutes of animated sequences a la Kill Bill) and my ‘get it in the can’ number is $125,000.  I’m trying to get that into the 5 digit range. The biggest factors in that are going to be:

  • Location (city/state that I shoot in)
  • Camera (which digital camera I use)

I’ll be writing a post about locations at some point this week. My choices and why they are my choices. And where each one stands right now. I’ll also be writing more about camera choices as I figure it out.