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North Dallas Birthday Blues

Posted by 2 Dollar Productions Saturday, January 29, 2005 0 comments

I figured I should post something on my 28th birthday even though I'm not in high spirits as I sit at my computer and work on finishing a large pot of Jack Daniels coffee (no alcohol included). Can you say celebration?

But what does it matter anyway?

I've always said that birthdays cease to be any fun once you hit 21, and if you can remember all the details of that night of debauchery then you didn't have a good enough time. You're simply lucky to survive the evening without throwing up, going home with an unattractive partner or waking up in jail. If you're really unlucky all three might happen in the same night.

Luckily, I managed to avoid that fate, and I plan on staying relatively low-key this year. The most pressing thing on my mind is our efforts to finish formatting our script in order to make the early deadlines for two screenwriting contests that expire on Jan 31st.

The script is clocking in around 120 pages right now, which seems excessive given that "Alexander" was supposedly a giant script at 130 pages. And look how well that turned out, eh?

So, I'm giving myself the rest of the day off from work, but come tomorrow, no hangover or general laziness shall prevent work from being done and the deadlines from being met. In the immortal words of Hunter S. Thompson "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro."

And I am nothing if not a professional.

-BDS




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Really?

Posted by 2 Dollar Productions Friday, January 28, 2005 0 comments

Apparently Richard Gere recently appeared on Palenstinian Public Televison imploring people to vote during their upcoming presidential election. He addressed the public with these words:

"Hi, I'm Richard Gere, and I'm speaking for the entire world. . . "

Really? The entire world?

He might be an officer AND a gentleman, but nobody asked me about this spokesman gig. And what's next? Where else is Gere speaking and making claims of authority for everyone in all nations with a far-reaching arm that spans the globe?

Just something to watch. Power corrupts.

-BDS


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Oscar Mania

Posted by 2 Dollar Productions Thursday, January 27, 2005 0 comments

It's that time of year again and the Oscar nominations have been announced. There were few surprises as the Academy found places for veterans ranging from Clint Eastwood to Martin Scorcese to Virginia Madsen (a personal favorite of mine ever since her work with Jennifer Connelly in the Don Johnson classic "The Hot Spot.")

It would hard to argue to violently against any of the picks, but I am disappointed that Paul Giamatti (sp?) couldn't score a Best Actor nomination for his work in "Sideways." He's done outstanding work for years, so it would have been nice for a little recognition and the chance to expand his fan base.

Unfortunately, Giamatti was in a field this year that was overloaded with talent and I can't think of anyone in there who didn't deserve their nomination. Besides, Liam Neeson also got slightly shafted for "Kinsey," although Laura Linney pulled one nomination out for a film that for some reason is still controversial today. Sad.

I love the Oscars despite their tendency to be overly long, to include momentum-zapping dance numbers and the show's reluctant acceptance of cutting-edge cinema. But nobody's perfect.

In the meantime I'm just going to see as many films as I can ("Ray" and "Hotel Rowanda" are the two notable films I haven't yet seen) and try to sucker people at work into a betting pool.

This year's race is extremely wide-open due to the lack of a runaway hit among the nominees. However, my early predictions would have to include Jaime Foxx, Hilary Swank, Thomas Hayden Church and "The Aviator."

It almost has to be Scorcese's year unless Eastwood rides away with the top prizes. I'd be hard-pressed not to lay money on Marty, but betting against the Man With No Name could be bad for my health and my wallet.

Regardless, let the countdown begin . . .

-BDS




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Take The Time . . .

Posted by 2 Dollar Productions Monday, January 24, 2005 0 comments

I was reading an article in USA Today that discussed the new Clint Eastwood film "Million Dollar Baby" when I got pissed off and consumed by anger.

The movie is excellent and easily one of the year's best, but it seems some people were agitated that the film's trailer had led them astray and that the national critics hadn't prepared them for a twisty movie that was nowhere near as cheery as they expected.

On the contrary, I have been impressed by many publications for almost universally putting a lock on the film's secrets. And I would have it no other way.

Now, I know that some people might actually want to know a film's secrets prior to viewing, but that's not what makes me angry. No. What makes me angry is this asinine indignant attitude that these moviegoers expressed because they had no forewarning of any danger.

My advice would be to get off your lazy ass and read something about a movie before you go see it. Don't just assume that you'll like it because it has one of your favorite stars in it.

When I went to see "Closer" I watched numerous people walk out during the movie, largely I'm guessing because when they bought a ticket they thought they were seeing a typical sunny Julia Roberts movie. Instead, they walked into a very good film that was dark and challenging and vulgar.

A simple reading of any plot synopsis in any review in America could have averted this problem.

Another rule to remember is check out who directed the movie. In aforementioned "Million Dollar Baby," it would be hard to miss that Clint Eastwood starred in and directed the movie. If you know anything about Eastwood's recent track record (the grim "Mystic River") you might have had an inkling that he hasn't been letting loose with too many jokes lately.

Another example of this occurred after I saw "The Life Aquatic." I was walking to the bathroom after the movie when a woman ahead of me said "That was the weirdest and the worst movie I've ever seen."

That was a bold statement, but it was her use of 'weirdness' that irked me. The movie is certainly quirky, but in the realm of Wes Anderson films it is perfectly reasonable and would rest comfortably among "Rushmore" and "The Royal Tenenbaums" (except for the truly bizarre pirate sequence in 'Aquatic').

Anyway, she thought she'd see the movie because of Bill Murray, but then she got blindsided by jaguar sharks, general Willem Dafoe weirdness, and a crusty, pot-smoking Murray - a man she thought she would like better.

If only she had known who directed the film she might have saved the $9 admission.

But I'm beginning to think that I'm taking USA Today way too seriously these days.

-BDS









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Pardon Ashlee Simpson?

Posted by 2 Dollar Productions Sunday, January 23, 2005 0 comments

After dancing a spastic impromtu jig on 'SNL,' Ashlee Simpson caught a load of grief for her tape malfunction, an act which left her blaming everyone, every disease and every band member except for herself.

Who would have guessed that people would soon be begging Ashlee to put the tape back in the player after she delivered a spectacularly bad performance at halftime of the Orange Bowl. Her screeching, off-key, tone deaf, oblivious stage show earned her a chorus of boos from a crowd who was still cheering for OU even though they were losing by 3 touchdowns.

It didn't help matters that Ashlee was dressed like a pep squad member who got mugged by the goth girls on her way to practice some tumbling.

The priceless moment came when Ashlee just finished her song with a stomping, fist-pumping, banshee-yelling finale. She dropped her head and came back up with a smile on her face (no doubt thinking she had just nailed it) when the boos started. Her smile quickly faltered and was replaced by utter confusion until the reality of the situation sunk in completely.

Instead of being showered with praise, Ashlee was right in the middle of a shit storm and there was nowhere to run and nowhere to hide. The spectacle was like watching a train wreck, and it was at that moment that I began feeling a little bit sorry for the girl.

I had been harboring this guilty secret since that balmy halftime in Florida, but the notion quickly vanished once I discovered Ashlee had sold nearly 3 million copies of her CD (although if that's actually her singing on the disc I'll cut off my left hand and eat it).

It's just too hard to feel sorry for any millionaire under the age of 21.

-BDS

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Make It Sizzle!

Posted by 2 Dollar Productions Wednesday, January 19, 2005 0 comments

Well the script is now done and copyrighted and is currently being prepped for several screenwriting contests. Unfortunately, the hard part has just begun.

All the time and effort that actually went into writing the script is nothing next to the task of condensing a 110 page screenplay into a 1 to 3 sentence synopsis that better sizzle like a marinated rib-eye. If it's not catchy, current, hip and bankable you're most likely sunk before you've ever left the port.

So, let the games begin.

I've been trying to think of other movies and what their pitchlines must have sounded like. For instance, "Forrest Gump" might have read:

'Obsessive runner glides through history-making events while speaking with a somewhat strange vocal cadence and searching for his true love in the form of a drugged promiscuous folk singer.'

That sounds like a movie to greenlight, eh?

So, maybe it might not make or break you if you can't find the right tagline for your movie. On the other hand when you're a fledgling screenwriter and a novice in the business every little bit counts.

And on that note I'm back to the drawing board . . .

-BDS




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Shiver Me Timbers

Posted by 2 Dollar Productions Monday, January 17, 2005 0 comments

As I watched Will Ferrell don an eyepatch to present at the Golden Globes last night I couldn't help but marvel at the career resurgence of the pirate. Now I know Will Ferrell wasn't trying to be a pirate per se, but his emulation was uncanny and a perfectly reasonable choice in today's pirate renaissance.

Put simply: Pirates are cool. Pirates are sexy. Pirates are becoming a career option. Pirates are everywhere and they're multiplying like rabbits. I believe it started with Johnny Depp in "Pirates of the Carribbean," a movie which proved that a pirate could be a money-making machine instead of box office poison.

The previous point of view seemed to have been proven by the spectacular failure of "Cuthroat Island." The horror . . The horror.

After the success of Capt. Jack Sparrow, however, pirates began popping up in other movies (Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, character believes himself to be a pirate) , in commercials (Fed Ex job applicant who's a pirate complete with a parrot) and now Will Ferrell is spreading the gospel even further with his eyepatch at the Globes. Boating accident my ass.

But what does this all mean?

It's hard to say for sure, but I wouldn't sell the pirate movement short. They can mobilize like ants and it wouldn't be a bad idea to get in early on the ground floor. That being said I'm off to stock up on wooden legs and swords - two things a man can never have too many of . . .

-BDS

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Hummers: Not just a stupid SUV anymore

Posted by 2 Dollar Productions Sunday, January 16, 2005 1 comments

I'm sure I'm not the first to ever think of this, but as I was lying around my apartment this morning, I stumbled across an interesting thought: If your nose itches when someone wants to kiss you, what does it mean when your balls itch?

Hmmm. If you'll excuse me, I'm off to see my girlfriend and test my new theory.

-JWS

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After writing for about an hour on Wednesday night about all manner of hilarious and interesting activities in my life(read: shameful masturbation incident), I went to press "Publish." I guess you could call the endeaver a success. A success in the fact that blogger published two distinct things: Jack and Shit(Thank you Army of Darkness.)

I was so mad. So distraught. However, looking back on the incident now, I see that it is probably a good thing that other human beings were not exposed to a Mexican Martini and Jaeger Bomb-fueled tirade about how there is a nefarious plot by TNT to pass subliminal, government propaganda through the airways during their weekend, afternoon movie selections which always seem to be one of two crappy Patrick Swayze movies: Roadhouse or Next of Kin.

I mean seriously, why do they always show these huge pieces of crap on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. And more importantly, why am I compelled to watch them.

Conspiracy people. Conspiracy.

-JWS

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Leave Town Immediately

Posted by 2 Dollar Productions Wednesday, January 12, 2005 0 comments

OK. I'm not afraid to admit that I watched "The Bachelorette" on Monday night. Actually, I only watched the final 20 minutes of the show.

I was forced into the decision after seeing repeated promos over the weekend that caught my attention. The main feature that got me hooked was not the Bachelorette, who seems quite reasonable and good-looking, but rather it was one of the male contestants who faints during the rose ceremony.

I was determined to find out if this really happened or if it was just a stunt by ABC to lure more viewers. Unfortunately for David (if that is his real name) it did indeed happen. As all 25 men stood waiting for recognition from Jen, this particular man just couldn't handle the extreme pressure of the situation and he went down like a faster than a cheap hooker during a Navy shore leave.

Needless to say he didn't receive a rose.

Unfortunately, David's problems are just beginning. That poor guy is going to have to pack his belongings, move from whatever city he currently inhabits, find a completely new set of friends and possibly seek counseling to deal with the embarassment.

This might seem harsh, but you must consider that his current friends, co-workers, landlord, barber, dentist probably all knew that he was going on the show, and I'm sure that not a single one of them missed watching him drop to the floor in an anxiety-riddled heap.

Oh yes. They will descend on him like a pack of wolverines when he tries to resume his normal life and it will only get worse if anyone that knows him has been drinking. You have to feel sorry for the guy and the only decision that seems reasonable now is to leave town quickly and start fresh somewhere.

Change is good.

-BDS




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Overwhelming Hubris, But Feeling No Pain

Posted by 2 Dollar Productions Sunday, January 09, 2005 0 comments

I had a feeling my ego-stroking discharge on gambling would bite me in the ass and it did in the form of a Seahawk. I should have known better than to bet on an NFL team with a lowly bird as its mascot. A mascot whose sole purpose in life is presumably to hang out by the sea, crap on the heads of unsuspecting tourists and then turn in a disgraceful performance against a St. Louis team that couldn't even muster a winning record during the regular season. BUT, St. Louis has a ram for a mascot and therefore merely sneered at the Seahawks and their multiple dropped passes before winning by 7 points.

Oh, well. If you're going to gamble you better be prepared to lose, although for any type of successful gambling you have to win 2 out of every 3 bets (according to Hunter S. Thompson).

I quickly forgot about the disgraceful performance of the Seahawks, however, once we discovered that our script was finally finished. A year-long odyssey had ended, although for the type of comedy we wrote it should have taken around 4 months without diversions such as work, college football, Europe, work, scotch, barbecue, and work.

Anyway, the deed has been done and the fat is in the fire. The only question now is where do we go from here?

- BDS

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Gambling Sounds Good To Me

Posted by 2 Dollar Productions Wednesday, January 05, 2005 0 comments

After watching a gutless performance by OU in the Orange Bowl last night I can only say that I knew it would happen. Call it a feeling, a vision or simply karma, but I just knew that those dogs from the Sooner state would embarrass themselves and the entire Big 12 conference over the course of a few hours.

Luckily, I had bet USC to win the game despite the prevailing pre-game wisdom that OU seemed certain to hand it to the Trojans. It's always a good feeling to be right and even better to turn your "knowledge" into cold hard cash that comes from fleecing your co-workers out of theirs. This windfall came quickly on the heels of a recent gambling binge in Vegas where I won 4 out of 5 bets split between the NFL and college bowl games.

It seems that gambling is everywhere these days, and the best part is that there's no longer any social stigma attached to it. It wasn't too many years ago when frequent gambling was on par with swearing in church or practicing beastiality. But those days are over, and a new golden age of gambling is upon us.

It's all over network and cable television as evidenced by shows like "Las Vegas," "Celebrity Poker," "World Series of Poker," and now ESPN is about to launch a new show "Tilt,"which is built entirely around gambling and features Michael Madsen of "Reservoir Dogs" fame as a stud poker player known by the astoundingly cool nickname of "The Matador."

I desperately wish I had somehow procured that nickname in high school, but life is full of missed opportunities. In the meantime, I plan to ride my winning streak at least until the Super Bowl is played and maybe I'll even bet on the NBA.

Life is good when you're on top of the gambling world. Things can turn on a dime, however, so I don't want to talk too much about it lest the bad karma of the Sooners come back to haunt me and put me in the poorhouse where I'll spend my days being chased down by sleazy bookies and their knee-capping friends.

- BDS

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2005

Posted by 2 Dollar Productions Monday, January 03, 2005 0 comments

Well it's a New Year again and in the tradition of making resolutions that are in no way binding or in many cases even remotely plausible, here's mine in no particular order:

1) Make more frequent entries to the this blog
2) Stop watching so much pornography (which will also help resolution #1)
3) Take up ballroom dancing
4) Appreciate more Native American art
5) Finish this script
6) Discover the appeal of Mischa Barton
7) Boycott movies starring Josh Hartnett
8) Pray for the release of "Beverly Hills 90210" on DVD
9) Move to Austin, TX.
10) Stop making so many lists

- BDS


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