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Friday, November 30, 2007

Authorized Tsipi Keller Biographical Note

This is to pass along an "item" about Tsipi Keller:

We discovered this evening that Ms. Keller carries a small pair of scissors in her flip-top cigarette boxes which she uses to extinguish her cigarettes; she typically smokes (when in public) in short non-consecutive shifts in an authorized smoking area, cleanly cutting off the ash after each shift and depositing the shortened cigarette back in the box for a second or third use, until it's so short it's not worth lighting up. This is the first time in recorded history, we should think, that a human being has done this.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Claude Simon, Windmills, Flipflopping

This is a uncharacteristic quotation from Claude Simon's The Trolley [tr. Richard Howard, New Press: New York, 2001, p. 59]: . . . "that famous Parisian Jockey Club of which one member proclaimed Thanks be to God there are still some of us here who owe nothing to either merit or talent," uncharacteristic because one finds little humor in Simon, though he is immensely talented, his photo in the Minuit bulletins showing a haggard unsmiling face, the footing at Juno Beach today pleasantly gritty from seashells where we were standing letting the diminutive waves break against our shins, doing nothing, thinking nothing, feeling it would be a crime if they decided to put up alternative-energy windmills along the coastlines when there are so many other places for them to be erected, like all over the Midwest; the view of the ocean is a view of eternity, why ruin that? Put windmills on top of skyscrapers in cities, or all over the Midwest, and use tidal turbines everywhere there's a current, but don't ruin our eternal coastlines, though my initial feeling was that it would be okay to build them on Cape Cod, but over time I have changed my position, I have flipflopped.

Monday, November 26, 2007

CIA's Vast Network of Spies

Weiner writes (p. 433):

"Over the whole course of the cold war, the CIA had controlled precisely three agents who were able to provide secrets of lasting value on the Soviet military threat, and all of them had been arrested and executed."


Regarding the page references in the immediately preceding post, for "p. 433, 450" please read "p. 450."

Report of CIA Malfeasance

Weiner goes on to write (p. 433, 450):

"For eight years, from 1986 to 1994, the senior CIA officers responsible for these reports [on Soviet military assets] had known that some of their sources were controlled by Russian intelligence. The agency knowingly gave the White House information manipulated by Moscow--and deliberately concealed the fact. To reveal that it had been delivering misinformation and disinformation would have been too embarrassing. Ninety-five of these tainted reports warped American perceptions of the major military and political developments in Moscow. Eleven of the reports went directly to Presidents Reagan, Bush and Clinton."

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Can-Do Attitude

Writing on the origins of intelligence services in the U.S., Weiner notes (p. 519):

"When Rusk [i.e., future Secretary of State Dean Rusk] tried to organize a Burmese-language unit for [the intelligence section of] the army [in 1941], 'we looked around the United States for a native Burman . . . . We finally found one and we looked him up and he was in an insane asylum. Well, we fished him out of the insane asylum and made a Burmese language instructor out of him.' "

Friday, November 23, 2007

Report of Reagan Lying to the American People

Weiner writes that on August 3, 1985 president Reagan gave CIA Director William Casey "formal approval" to sell missiles, covertly, to the government of Iran in return for Iran's agreement to instruct Hezbollah operatives in Lebanon to release American hostages held there. "With that go-ahead, the Israelis and [arms dealer] Ghorbanifar sent two shipments containing a total of 504 American TOW missiles to Tehran," Weiner writes. On December 5, 1985, Reagan signed a finding, or presidential order, authorizing the deal, according to Weiner. "On November 4, 1986 . . . Rafsanjani, the speaker of Iran's parliament, revealed that American officials had been to Iran bearing gifts . . . . 'We did not--repeat--not trade weapons or anything else for hostages,' Reagan told the nation [i.e., the United States] on November 13," Weiner writes (Legacy of Ashes, pp. 401-08). Weiner's cited source for these facts are records of the joint congressional committee and the final report of the independent counsel team that investigated the Iran-contra affair.

Report of Attempted Murder

A sample of the information available in Weiner's Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA (New York: Doubleday, 2007, p. 338):

"Helms [i.e., Richard Helms, Director of the Central Intelligence Agency of the United States] tossed one over the White House wall that day [January 4, 1975], telling Kissinger that [former U.S. Attorney General] Bobby Kennedy had personally managed the assassination plots against Castro."

Thursday, November 22, 2007

A Toast to the Age of Web Logging

Newspapers get in trouble when they blend fact and opinion. In a web log, one can blend fact and opinion without compunction, then add a dose of fiction, producing a blended Scotch of rare flavor, which may or may not be beneficial to the health.

Time Check II

The time is now 11:27 PM.

Time Check

The time is now 11:24 PM.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


The preceding post was "published" at 10:39 PM.

A Sorry Circus Called the CIA

I've spent a number of hours today reading Tim Weiner's Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA.  It's more or less shocking reading, massively researched, lucidly written. Ever try to use a poisoned handkerchief to kill anybody? Would you have the nerve to look the president of the United States in the eye and lie to him? Think you could order the murder of a foreign head of state? Gulf of Tonkin incident--Weiner documents that US ships shot first. I spent some time reading the first couple of pages of Claude Simon's The Trolley but I was too tired from reading the Weiner book, just skimmed along getting nothing, reading a few sentences over and over and just nothing sinking in. Skinny little paperback from which a price tag on the back cover had been removed, leaving a patch of sticky crap that I removed with WD-40 and a paper towel, then removing the smell of the WD-40 with soap and water and another towel, the cover standing up admirably to the treatment, I mean there was no going on with a book that had a maddening patch of stickiness that you would be trying unsuccessfully to scrape off with your fingernail time after time, oh no, that wasn't going to happen, this was one of those rare problems that I could actually solve.

THIS JUST IN: Vegetable curry dish over rice, a glass of water and, later at home, a slice of apple pie with a distinct taste of preservatives, euh.

Gravity's Rainbow and the CIA

I'm reading this history of the CIA that I bought on impulse today and at one point I felt I was actually reading Gravity's Rainbow again because of the clownish (but deadly and illegal) things the CIA did, and may still be doing; the typeface is larger than that of GR but the size of the pages is similar, and all the names of the operatives makes me think of all the names Pynchon strews about in his pages, Pynchon the master of "faction," the artful blending of fact and fiction. Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA by Tim Weiner. I'd keep reading but I feel a headache coming on. Weiner is making the case that the CIA is a profoundly incompetent and dangerous organization. He's a Pulitzer-prize winning New York Times journalist. I glanced at a Sorrentino novel in the bookstore today, read a page at random, but the urge to read him wasn't as strong as it was the other day and I passed.

IMPORTANT UPDATE: Baked skinless chicken breasts, french fries, steamed broccoli florets, St. Pauli Girl NA.

Stamp: 12:59 AM (I indicate the time because it irritates me that the time stamp that automatically accompanies each post is inaccurate.)

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Closing Up Shop

The web log would appear to be based on (1) Samuel Johnson's belief that ANY life, told in sufficient detail, would make an interesting book, and (2) W. Burrough's belief that writing is an intellectual virus that just spreads and spreads, filling all available nooks and crannies. I wrote poorly tonight, even for a first draft, where one deliberately lowers one's standards in order to get at least SOMEthing down on paper. There are so many catchphrases that "sum up" what writing is all about. Two that have been on my mind lately are: "Writing consists above all else in knowing what to leave out," and "We can only write well about those things we have not experienced." And then there's the question of civilization's "collective consciousness" into which one supposedly taps when writing a web log, you feel this mysterious pull, it's very distinct. One wishes to have untold legions of readers too, that's part of the game, as one plays with the adult toy of the personal computer.

IMPORTANT NOTE: For dinner tonight, baked (farm-bred) salmon fillets (which I greatly prefer to wild salmon), rice, asparagus, and a bottle of Sam Adams lager. For dessert, three jelly-filled, vanilla-coated soft cookies which have given me heartburn.

Time Stamp: 12:36 AM

Monday, November 19, 2007


I recently wrote that I had visited Silliman's poetry blog "hundreds" of times; that was an exaggeration; it would have been more accurate to have said "scores."

Antidote to Aging

Rick ... a few thoughts for you to ponder...
> 1) Listening to rock music at 60 is a very cool and natural thing to
> do...think of the Stones out on tour rockin the house EVERY night.
> McCartney at 64 turning out great music\
> SO don't stop a matter of fact "CRANK IT UP"
> 2) Music is a direct link to your hear a song, you remember
> things, you remember a lot of things...and it can be wonderful. That
> is why I love listening to Brian Wilson songs...super happy, super
> simple time in my life...Innocence, girls on the beach, surfing,trying
> to get those girls on the beach, it just doesn't get any better)
> I see him in concert every chance I can and he is terrific...the love
> that comes from the audience towards Brain is incredible...almost
> shocking. You can tell that he feels it...IT IS ALL listen
> to your music...sweet,sweet music
> I could and sometimes sit in the great room at Camp Conor for hours
> enjoying "my music", drinking some wine AND smoking a great cigar...
> 3)I don't think time is running out for us...if we take care of
> ourselves...mentally and physically...get out there and run set a
> damn goal(mini-marathan) and do it...JUST DO IT.
> I am back in the gym almost everyday lifting weights and I really
> enjoy is basic survival at our age
> 4)Age is all in the mind...I am really convinced of that fact...I can
> do ANYTHING I use to be able to do and better...that is why I want to
> get and stay on great physical strength. Not being able to defend
> Louise in a bad situation on a city street would not make me a happy
> do it for Betty if nothing else.
> 5)Professional drummer...I will make you a bet...if you took the next
> year and REALLY and I mean REALLY got back into the would
> be playing professionally somewhere after that read about
> it all comes from the heart.You can do anything you want
> to do...ANYTHING...that is one thing that age should have taught all
> of us.This thing called life is gone in a damn second...I still cannot
> believe that we have lost Conor...I live with that every minute of
> everyday. SO get up off the couch go buy some sticks and a drum pad
> and get your ass in gear. Hell, you put in a solid year of practice
> and I will get you a job playing with and Chris could
> start a band...
> If you REALLY want it make it happen...actually that is my favorite
> Mariah Carey song 'Make it Happen" if you don't have it go buy it and
> REALLY listen to what she is saying
> It's all up to you..."old man"
> Michael

The Merriment of Office Life

A friend of mine who is a white collar worker was telling me with great enthusiasm how he had mocked an obnoxious co-worker to his face recently, and when I quoted to him from Camus-- "There is no fate that cannot be surmounted by scorn"--he laughed and laughed.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Tsipi Keller Novel Grips One's Mind

Tsipi my friend,

Still thinking about Monsieur Bruno. Aging--how to deal with it? what to think of it? Aging for me, at 59, is above all else a feeling of irritation. They say "Nothing comes into a person's life as more of a surprise than old age," and I'm afraid this is true. That's a line from a film I rented, can't remember which. The thought that one is on the downhill side of the hill, it's irritating; that time is running out, it's irritating, mainly because one can't do anything about it. There's a mild sense of loss of control. One is caught in a very slowly closing vise. Now you mentioned aging of the limbic system in Bruno, and I've been thinking about that off and on since the moment I read it. The major source of happiness (as opposed to ecstasy) in my life has been, for the past twenty years, listening to home-made tapes of rock music while sitting in the Square and watching the world go by. But I've stopped doing it. It's as if making the transition from normalcy to happiness is a chore, something in me doesn't want to make the transition. And the happiness was intense, there were Saturdays (I only did it on the weekends) when I would listen for two hours or more, in summer and (wearing insulated boots and a heavy coat and hat) winter. Your novel makes me wonder if it isn't aging of the limbic system that is responsible for the sense of resistance I feel when I think about picking up the walkman and going into the Square to enjoy what I used to enjoy. Or maybe I'm just bored with it. The few times I've listened in the past five years, it's worked, the happiness was as intense as ever. But I've stopped doing it. Maybe the brain stem is not what it used to be. I think the reluctance to listen is partly the result of a feeling that it's ridiculous for a man about to turn 60 (unthinkable!) to be finding so much enjoyment in rock music. But classical music just isn't the same. Samuel Johnson didn't like any kind of music: "It gives me no new ideas and prevents me from contemplating my own." Like you, I have a deep love of silence. I'm reading a thin book of poems by David Ignatow on aging, Shadowing the Ground, and it's awful, which is a shame, and bizarre, because his Selected Poems is one of the best books of poetry I've ever read. Perhaps I don't listen to my tapes because I don't need as much happiness now? I don't know, but a really huge thing has drifted out of my life. And I'm content to let it go. Happiness from listening to funk--been there, done that. And perhaps a deeper reason I don't listen is because subconsciously I am infuriated that I didn't become a professional drummer. Time is running out, one is walking downhill, one is irritated. Fear doesn't come into the picture, it's just this constant low-level irritation framing one's consciousness, filtering one's vision. You want to push at the air and push aging away . . . .

Anyway, thanks again for sending me the Bruno typescript, and you gentleman copied on this email, keep your eye out for the publication of this work in 2008 or 2009, on Amazon, by Tsipi Keller via Sputen Duyvil (sp?) Press.

Hope this finds you well.

On the Inevitable Path

A web log neutralizes the binary opposition private/public; whether this is a positive or negative development, it certainly gives reality a new "twist." The personal computer seems to be above all else a toy. I have visited "language poet" R. Silliman's blog a couple hundred times and I have never found a single line of poetry quoted there that I could relate to. And most of the theorizing bores me to the sneering point. I've been trying unsuccessfully to find more poetry by "Sparrow" whose work I came across in Long Shot a long time ago and liked a lot. But neither Google nor Amazon lists him, or her, and Long Shot does not have an email address, so I've come up against a dead end--unless I send a letter to LS via US post but I'm not sure I have it in me to go to that kind of trouble, when I can just read and re-read the poems I have, by Sparrow, and let it go at that. We ended up not going out to the movies because B. is exhausted from four gruelling weeks at work, so I went out and rented Blood Simple which I greatly disliked for two reasons (1) after a few frames I realized I had already rented in the past, say five years ago, and (2) the pace was horribly slow, it just dragged along, it was like everyone was on Quaaludes or something--heavy-handed and annoying direction. And since we didn't go into the Square I didn't buy another Sorrentino novel, going to Rodney's instead in Central Square and buying a gorgeous 2008 calendar at half-price instead, all paintings of tango dancers in a beautiful Modigliani-style technique. 2008. What the hell is coming? 2007 had some steep hills. And as Bernhard says, whatever's going to come is already on the way. Destiny, a profound subject. As Bernhard says, "We are always searching for the right path and are always already on it." Can he be right? Something very soothing about this idea, in that it implies one has already reached one's goal, or at least that everything is all right just as it is. A fine line from the Bhagavad Gita: "True knowledge of the self does not lead to salvation, it is salvation."

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Killing Time

We're killing time waiting to go see Gone Baby Gone at the H. Square theater and so I thought I'd post a couple of sentences from G. Sorrentino's Little Casino, a novel I read yesterday: "He had, as a matter of fact, not even thought of her for eleven years, and here he was, in a saloon's phone booth, calling her up. People are, for the most part, utterly absurd. This is proven over and over again . . . . She [not the woman called, just some unnamed character] became very nervous about secondhand cigar smoke, and was appalled to learn, from her daily newspaper's Health and You section, that most ciigar smoke has a carcinogenic half-life of 40,000 years, the same as refined sugar . . . . She was doubtful that the United States Army was a violent organization, but shocked to learn that a survey of non-commissioned officers named one of television news's most vivacioius, wholesome, and courageously hard-hitting personalities 'a piece of ass' . . . . Still, she was somewhat surprised to be apprised of the probability that poor and powerless people, especially of dark skin, are sometimes treated with rudeness, force, and even brutality by police officers, not one of whom cares about the very high levels of LDL cholesterol in crisp chicken skin." There, that's killed some time. I was just sitting on the couch reading some awful David Ignatow poems and thinking that I may have to strike him from the Books list on my web log Profile. Sorrentino is sometimes hilarious but sometimes makes the fatal mistake of just being "silly" and it grates. Nonetheless I have the feeling I'm going to buy another of his novels after the movie tonight. What's truly fascinating about Little Casino is the postscript to each chapter, written in a different typeface (sans serif) than the chapter proper, a new "post-avant" twist that I found highly absorbing. I didn't like the typeface of the chapters proper, it was too small and the letters to inconsequentially thin looking, and I found myself impatient to get through the chapters because what I really wanted to read was the postscript commentary, which is or was usually a spoof on academic scholia. Solitary laughter over an inanimate object, a book. How rewarding and how absurd.

Alex Perez: Scab Writer - Promo #1 - Hi Hollywood

The Cruel Economics of the WGA Writers Strike

Cruel Development Reversed

This is to restore the illustration that accompanied the original e-mail on the subject of futility. I hope it isn't eradicated by whoever eradicated the original one. Why eradicate an image of someone planting a flower, or plant?


Cruel Development

The wonderful illustrations that accompanied the recent J.O. posts have inexplicably disappeared. Tiny empty rectangles have taken their place. Someone is diddling with BWR. Ah well.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Cryptic Comment Clarified

The following e-mail will explain an otherwise cryptic comment in Joe Owens's recent rollicking post:

Joe Hello,

Your Hallmark-card illustration was truly LOL funny. For Betty too. It's the guy being down on one knee that cracked me up. And wouldn't you know it, I came across a reference to you in a Mickey Spillane novel I was reading yesterday:

"A covey of important-looking joes stood on the outside of the circle impatient to speak to Deamer, yet unwilling to offend the press by breaking up the party."

You see that, the mere mention of your name inspires respect, is synonymous with respect, and tact. Lucky you. I'm just Rick. My name doesn't mean shit. Can you imagine "a covey of important-looking ricks." Never happen.

Get back,

Illustration Detail Clarified

This is to point out that the illustration of the decathlon athlete in the immediately preceding post shows the athlete holding a magnificent looking javelin high in the air, a detail which is clear in the original but was obscured by the black background of this web log.

The Incomparable Joe Owens

The following information is crucial for a full understanding of the post below by Shakesperian actor and advertising maven Joe Owens:

I made your poem into a poster for my wall. You could sell these, and other quotes and poems by RM.

Futility is the dark rich shitty soil

in which

magnificent lilies of achievement



And here’s what I was trying to say the other day but couldn’t articulate it:

If futility is an exercise, then I’m a decathlon champ.

Get back Jo-Jo.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Screenplay Comments X

Andrew Pascal, a.k.a. Michael Andrew Pascal, writes further:

Also…just a thought, but you have a fairly simple morality tale (bad guy wants to be good, can’t help his true self, which is to be bad), that can tie in with the antagonist that’s hunting him down…you don’t have to kill off Jill until the end (or ever, the choice is yours)…Clive’s actions in killing the husband is the catalyst to his own death, but in finding and saving Jill, he redeems himself…in other words, after meeting and getting to know Jill, there can be real hope for him, but after the bad guys either miss or kill Jill in the middle of the story, Clive turns from redemption and goes on to rampage and vengeance…maybe he wins in the end and kills everybody, but in the aftermath he loses Jill (if you keep her around)…

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Sceenplay Comments IX

Andrew Pascal writes further:

In terms of suspense, I'm not sure that it was too tangible. You may want to go see "No Country For Old Men" to get a great example of suspense personified by the Javier Bardem is a real wacko nut job on the hunt for the main know what he's capable of and you know what he's going to do with the main guy once he finds could introduce a character similar in yours that works for the mobster family and is systematically hunting down Clive... The suspense will come from what's going to happen when these two meet and whether or not Clive will survive the confrontation or even what it's going to cost him.
Shakesperian actor and advertising uber-executive Joe Owens, as a preliminary to commenting on Cocked & Loaded (I think I'm going back to the original title), writes:

I’m glad that you and Betty liked the graphic that corresponds with your poem. I would be honored and delighted to be the illustrator of one of your books---an anthology of poems, short stories, observations, profound tips, sexual fantasies, radical political ideologies, instructions on organizing and starting revolutions, recipes using only condiments, and the psychoanalysis of first reader primer author psyches (if you get my drift). All the art will be unoriginal---in fact it will be stolen. I have been breaking into homes the past 30 years (give or take), stealing refrigerator art. At first it was to furnish the theme for a doctoral thesis linking artistic expression to socio-edu-economic status.

Then it became a hobby, then an obsession, and then an end in and of itself. There is no black market for refrigerator art (I learned), but I will establish the first Museum of refrigerator art and I will call it The Museum of Refrigerator Art. There will be rotating displays of everything from pre-school finger paints to advanced work in oils and pastels by special needs pre-pubescent foster kids. We will also have reciprocation with Refrigerator Art Museums worldwide. Problem with the Third World countries is that there are no refrigerators. So, we’ll be accepting, discarded tires, corrugated boxes, shingles, and there will be a tattoo category. There is a psycho-social commentary that I hope people get and that I hope leads to a full hour interview on the Charlie Rose Show someday and perhaps a Nobel Peace Prize nomination. If not, suicide is always an option and a comforting thought.

My kneeling guy graphic was inspired by your poem. It inspired in me a naive, humble, genuflecting, faithful, eager-to-do-good-deeds-doer, man of faith, in a worshipful, humble, prayerful, vulnerable posture planting the future of his life in SHIT. Pure Shit (capital “P” capital “S”) SHIT, nothing but SHIT (and he doesn’t even know it). God bless him. I love him, don’t you too? Well, you should because you created him and I thank you.

That aside, I’m delighted about your discovery of the “Joe’s” in the work of Mr. Spillane. Your discovery has served to provide me with new hope. I don’t have to be just a “Joe Blow”, “Joe Schmo”, “Average Joe”, etc. Deeply buried and most profoundly in the literature of Mickey Spillane, is my “Real Joe—the Joe who I am, the Joe who I can and shall be—THE JOE WHO IS ME!

Now don’t be so quick to put down your own name, Rick. I think you should go to that art supplies store between Central Square and Harvard Square , and pick up some finger-paints, Crayola Crayons, Yarn, Elmer’s Glue, popsicle sticks, balloons, and an assortment of buttons. Play in these media without self-censorship or self-imposed standards or expectations of results. It’s the journey, it’s the process, it’s the means to an end, not the end to a means that takes you wherever (if you get my drift) you want to go. Do this, and I guarantee that your name will take on deeper meaning—deeper than Mr. Spillane could ever hope to realize.

I’ve decided that football games from now on will be a means of self-expression for me. I’ll start out with benign statements like “Defense” or “Get ‘em”, or “C’mon, Ref!”, or “My Mother could have caught that! “ Then I will very craftily and subtly, start to infuse some remarks like you suggested the other day, such as, “ U.S. get out of North America ”. That’s a good one I think for starters for sure. I don’t know what this will become or where it will go and I don’t care. So come with me next time and feed me lines from your socio-edu-eco-politico-historico-psycho-evolutiono agenda and I will be your mouthpiece.

The great thing about yelling obscenities and inappropriate remarks at an IVY League contest is that you can always assert your First Amendment Rights to defend yourself and they have no comeback, so I’ve learned. If they do, you assert your Second Amendment right to pull out your favorite fire-arm and carelessly wield it around in their direction as you remind them that you’re pretty passionate about that First Amendment Right thing and they might want to reconsider. That usually works.

Joe “Where ya goin’ with that gun in your hand” Owens

Writer/director Andrew Pascal (cf. Spin the Bottle on IMDb) writes:

Overall, I thought it was interesting, kind of an existential Pulp Fiction…
it had a very old-time feel, as if it should be set in the late 50’s or the
early 60’s, which you might want to consider changing it to as it would
add a starker, grittier feel to the piece. Also, it reads to me more like a
stage play than a film script…it’s loaded with dialogue and not much
happening visually that you would need it to be a film…it’s basically
people talking, shooting and driving around…something that can easily
be done on a stage… and I agree with Chris on the title . . . COCKED &
LOADED . . . you want to know what that's about.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Screenplay Comments VII

Tsipi Keller writes:

I had no trouble with Jill leaving with Clive - first
of all, he saves her from her husband, second, he is
handsome and tough and a knight on a white horse...

Screenplay Comments VI

Tsipi Keller writes:

I like Notes [on a Criminal], it's different from the usual crap.

Screenplay Comments V

Brother Chris writes:

Don't change the title
It fits the characters and the story
Notes on a criminal (not interested)
Cocked and Loaded (I want to know whats going on in there)
Don't over think it
This was your idea in the first place and it's great
Rock on Bro

Monday, November 5, 2007

Screenplay Comments IV

Distinguished novelist and translator Tsipi 
Keller writes:

finally had time to finish C&L. I think the
dialogue is great, and so are the characters
- even if familiar from other such movies.
I have trouble believing they'd kill the
mother - not that i know much about the mafia,
but i think Mother is kind of Sacred, no?
I also don't like that Karen is killed - my
own personal proclivity is for them to survive
at the end and drive into sunset (in a kind of
spoof), or, since you also kill Lou at the end,
maybe Clive should also die - a la
Bonnie and
- even if "lucky" is his middle name?
At any rate, I think the screenplay is good
enough to send out as is, these minor points
would/could be ironed out at later point -
hopefully with producer and director who like
it. good luck, hope this is helpful,

Friday, November 2, 2007

Screenplay Comments III (repeat)

Here are Bob Gregory's original comments in a larger typeface:

I read your screenplay. I couldn't put it down, from start to finish. Reminded me a wee bit of Pulp Fiction.

As you well know, I'm not a literary/theatre/film critic, just a boring old political scientist. So what the hell do I know?

Some brief comments:

I found the enthusiasm of Jill in joining Clive and Lou immediately after the hold-up rather too neat and tidy, lacking credibility. Abused partners of men don't always rush at the opportunity for 'freedom', and may even be totally shocked and distaught if confronted by Clive's shooting of Frank. Asa consequence Jill's character is not well rounded out, not enough emotional ambivalence or trauma?

Lou's departure to the other gang is a bit obscure. He seems to vanish from the script and then appears suddenly later with the Lorettes.

The demise of the two women, Jill and Karen, also seems rather stark, stretching credibility somewhat -- especially in Karen's case. Blown off a roof? And how would such a huge wind have affected Clive's shooting?

I like the final scene, especially as I thought Clive and Lou had finally got their beans. But I think that the sequence of Clive alive and then revealing his gauze dressings (one assumes he was protected by a flak jacket, or were the wounds not fatal?), should be reversed -- wouldn't a more dramatic effect be gained by first showing a close-up of gauze dressings on a man's chest, then panning back slowly, to reveal Clive as the wearer, very much alive, etc?

Just a few thoughts, Rick. What do you think?

Screenplay Comments IV

Bob Gregory writes further:

Yes, I think it's certainly possible that Jill would run off with
the handsome Clive, but I think you draw the move much too
sharply, with too little emotional confusion on her part. It would
round out her character if she showed rather more ambivalence
before throwing her lot in with Clive, though this could be
expressed after she'd made the move to actually run off with
him after Frank's killing. Confusing??
Can you work J K Galbraith into the script anywhere? Maybe as
a closet international terrorist (though it would have to be a big closet).