TEN: The Preview [Film]

Created by Walter Sickert

Created by Walter Sickert

TEN is an incredibly exciting indie horror film based upon an original trailer (for a film that was never intended to be made) created for the Brattle Theater Trailer Smackdown in Cambridge, Massachusetts that has turned into a triumphant phenomenon in its own right.  Creators Michael J. Epstein and Sophia Cacciola are no strangers to Trainwreck’d Society.  As musicians, their respected bands like Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling, The Michael J. Epstein Memorial Library, and Darling Pet Munkee have been featured here at TWS numerous times and on several occasions.  But now I bring to you, TEN.  The sensational duo of creative talents have ventured into the film world, and boy are should be we honored that they have.  TEN proves to be one of the finest indie horror films of 2013, and possibly of this lifetime.  With a stellar cast, a few very intuitiave folks and enough creativity to fill a looney bin, there is no way that this could turn out to be a brilliant masterpiece.

Here is a brief synopsis from the film’s Facebook page:

TEN is a post-exploitation psychological thriller devised as a possible explanation for the events of the 1972 Spektor Island Massacre. On a cold December afternoon, ten women arrive at a mansion on Spektor Island, famed for years of reported hauntings and strange activities. Will they live through the night.  The all-female cast film is a response to exploitation, slasher, and thriller films, with particular focus on the kind of storytelling prominent in b-movies and genre films from the 1950s to the 1980s. It explores the meaning and fluidity of identity and takes a number of surprising turns, paying homage to filmmakers and producers such as Alfred Hitchcock, Roger Corman, John Carpenter, Wes Craven, Jim Wynorski, and Andy Sidaris.

Indie horror is no stranger to Trainwreck’d Society.  As you may recall, our very first Person of the Year was none other than legendary indie horror filmmaker Steve Sessions and featured words from a who’s who list of indie horror scream queens and shock stars like from Suzi Lorraine to Jeff Dylan Graham, all the way to legendary horror host Count Gore De Vol (who we have also interviewed).  We’ve also had the pleasure of interviewing the on screen scream queen Christa Campbell, who is responsible for the latest installations in the Texas Chainsaw Massacre series.  So, in short, we know horror.  More specifically – we know indie horror, and the struggles and strivings of making art from a low budge in a world devoured by million dollar projects.  We appreciate the hard work and can see through the shrink wrapped nonsense to devour the pleasures that can be offered to the world with nothing but shoe strings and dreams.

And TEN has already proven itself to be a wonderful addition to this already inspiring world.  From the beginning, this has been an extremely exciting project to follow.  From the Kickstarter campaign where they raised over $12,000 for the production costs, to Epstein’s wonderfully insightful recap of the principal photography on His and Sophia’s Blog, all the way up to almost every day when these cats release stills and videos pertaining to the film’s release at the end of this year, and to the more widespread release in early 2014.  Michael J. Epstein has a brilliant and precise idea of what it means to self promote.  He is consistently inviting his fans to join in on the road that he travels alongside his significant other, and the brilliant people he surrounds himself with each day.  And as I have previously mentioned, based upon the abundance of goodies that have already been delivered to us, this is going to be an amazing film that is surely not to be missed.

And for your viewing pleasures, I present to you a few still shots from the film, proving just how awesome TEN is going to be.  Enjoy!

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To check out more about TEN, and for more great photos, head on over to the film’s website.

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Bodi: The Fall of Atlas [Album]

Bodi - The Fall of AtlasThe genre “Alternative Hip Hop” has been making a splash in the underworld for a long time, and has eventually moved itself onto the main stage.  But frankly, I am sick and tired of the tag, “alternative”.  It is the same bullshit brand that got stuck upon rock music in the 90’s, another genre of music that was viewed as an alternative to the main stream brand.  I am personally sick and tired of fine artists with true talent and something real to say being considering simply an alternative to something bland.  This is an absolute insult, and must be stopped, as guilty as I am for using the same terms.  Bodi is hip hop.  The Fall of Atlas is a hip hop album.  Better yet, it is a genius hip hop album.  It is an album with soul, spirit, and the guts to destroy whatever demons might try to hold its master Bodi back from achieving whatever the hell he years to achieve.

By far my favorite track from this amazingly prolific record has to be “Prologue”.  It is just so entirely honest in its content that it will make you ponder all the lies you have been telling yourself over the years, as well as the lies you may continue to spew.  And it doesn’t hurt that such an all-inclusive and testament to honesty also features the brilliant voice of the finest female vocalist in the business today.  “Clotho” (as I have previously mentioned, here) is another perfect track that rips apart what we always thought was self recognition out of selflessness.  And it is such a joy to here Bodi rap among his peers such as Sadistik on “Pandora”, Kristoff Kane on “Epilogue”, and Cas One on “Prometheus”.  And so much thanks has to be given to Bodi for introducing, to me at least, such talented artists like Murder Dice, Jean Grae, M.anifest, and so many more that are featured on this album.  And if you have soul at all, a song like “Valkyrie” will have you choking up tears when Bodi and Dice’s verses are chased by the Ebenezer Children’s Orphanage with such valance and and a touching intensity.

If it weren’t obvious, I can’t say enough good things about The Fall of Atlas.  I have been an fan of Alexander Hallet’s work since I heard the first volume of Alexipharmic’s Good Side of Bad countless years ago.  And while I have enjoyed the likes of the “alternative” pioneers like Slug, Sage Francis, Eyedea (R.I.P.) for even longer, it was this man who made me despise what I considered to be the given truth.  The given truth that hip hop was a dead sport ran by venomous bafoons, and we were in need of an alternative.  I no longer believe this to be true.  I believe Bodi is hip hop as it was meant to be.  Bodi is a perfect example of what what we should aspire to be as people, not just what we should listen to.  This is genius.  This is gold.  This is Bodi.

Pornographic Action Figure Erotica with Vince Kramer [Guest Wreckers]

Vinc KramerThrough mutual parties, I recently became acquainted with a very talented cat named Vince Kramer.  We interact entirely in a digital fashion, but I have truly become a fan of his.  He is involved in a scene that I am only recently becoming familiar with.  A little something called Bizarro fiction.  If you haven’t heard of it, try to imagine the most fucked up, psychologically mind-bending science fiction and/or horror you could imagine, and put these ideas into the minds of some brilliant writers.  Vince Kramer is the author of in the series of New Bizarro Author’s series entitled Gigantic Death Worm.  And I have heard nothing but rave reviews for the book.  You can pick up a copy of the book HERE.  And please read the incredible review.  I have no idea who wrote it, but dammit does it make this book sound that much more intriguing!

And what exactly does this have to do with pornography or action figures?  Well, just about everything folks!  Our pal Vince Kramer has taken to playing with his toys in an extremely adult sort of way.  This isn’t some sort of kiddish bullshit where you make G.I. Joe and Barbie kiss by pressing their mouths together.  This is hardcore plastic on plastic adult oriented behavior.  You have been warned.  Mr. Kramer has been kind enough to remove his action figures out of their boxed fortresses (which I am told is a HUGE no no to many in the comic boo or scifi world), and released them out into the world…..to band.  So, enjoy!

For more information about Bizarro Press and Vince Kramer’s work, visit the Eraserhead Press website, and to pick up a copy of Vince’s 2013 Calendar featuring Pornographic Action Figure Erotica HERE.

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X-Men fucking. Mostly men, but all X.

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Trainwreck’d Society’s Oscar Preview with Chris and Ron [Exclusive]

Ron and Chris circa 2011, signing copies of Children of Mercy.  Photo by the great Jill Keller.

Ron and Chris circa 2011, signing copies of Children of Mercy. Photo by the great Jill Keller.

The Academy Awards are upon us.  This is the event I’ve always considered the Super Bowl of the film industry.  As pretentious as it might sound, the truly great films of the previous year will be awarded at Cannes, Sundance, and the Independent Spirit Awards.  But it can’t be denied, that the Oscars is the biggest show of the year, and there are usually a few great films to choose from.  And this year is no exception.

The most fun thing about the Oscars may be the unpredictable calls, but even the predictable calls are fun.  I’ve been watching and following the Oscars since I was 13 years old, and it starts to feel pretty great when you call things that are going to happen.  Small victories, but it’s something.  But, again, it is always great to see an upset.  Like watching the guys who became famous for songs like “Ass & Titties” or “Chicken Head”, take home the esteemed statue.  Or watching Robert Benigini walk atop of everyone’s seat to receive his trophy.  Moments like these are what makes this event so much fun.

The debates and conversations are always wonderful as well.  And there is no one I enjoy discussing film, Oscar worthy or not, with than one of our very own TWS family members, Chris Eaves.  Chris was kind enough to help us out in conducting an interview with Academy Award nominated cinematographer Adam Kimmel last year.  Chris is a filmmaker based in Portland Oregon who works with the talented group of folks known as SoundSkript Entertainment (Feature coming soon!), And he has returned with his expert opinion to help us decide what the films shall reign supreme during Sunday’s show.  I chime in with my opinions as well, and it turns out that we are almost split half and half.  Which will surely make Sunday night that much more interesting!  So check this out before the show, and be sure to come back and see how well (or badly) either one of us did in making our picks.  Enjoy!

Best Motion Picture of the Year

…And the nominees are:

Amour

Argo

Beast of the Southern Wild

Django Unchained

Les Miserables

Life of Pi

Lincoln

Silver Linings Playbook

Zero Dark Thirty

WHO RON WANTS TO WIN: Django Unchained.  A given really, as a Tarantino nerd.  This was by far one of Quentin’s finest works.  But, odds are in a favor of a traditional masterpiece film winning big this year.

Django Unchained

WHO CHRIS WANTS TO WIN: Django Unchained – A bias exists for me in regards to the works of Tarantino; I freely admit this. A bias will exist throughout this piece – context is important. With that said Django Unchained is the only film on this list which addresses a subject in need of being talked about. Film is not solely about addressing issues. Story is the way we connect, the way we’ve always connected to each other as groupings of people. Film is the story medium of the 20th and 21st centuries.  Story needs to be also entertaining. Django Unchained balances issue and entertainment and more importantly it starts a dialogue from those ideas. Wheatear that conversation is around racism or entertainment doesn’t entirely matter. What matters is Django Unchained leaves an impact on the person watching which makes it the best picture of the year.

Django Unchained

WHO RON THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN: Lincoln.  Despite additions like Argo & Zero Dark Thirty, a film like Lincoln is going to rule this year, in my opinion.

Lincoln

WHO CHRIS THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN: Beast of the Southern Wild – Zero Dark Thirty reminds us of a time we care to forget as a society. Spielberg, Weinstein, Lee, and Bigelow have won too many awards while Affleck is still too young. The academy loves addressing social issues as long as those issues remain mid road. Django and Tarantino address a social issue but are much too loud in doing so. This leaves Beast of the Southern Wild as the upset. Nobody knew what this film was six months ago. For the academy, the story behind the story of how this film came about is enough to give the voters a reason to choose this film. Even though I haven’t addressed this film yet, the academy wouldn’t have either.

Beasts of the Southern Wild

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role

…And the nominees are:

Bradley Cooper for Silver Linings Playbook

Daniel Day-Lewis for Lincoln

Hugh Jackman for Les Miserables

Joaquin Phoenix for The Master

Denzel Washington for Flight

WHO RON WANTS TO WIN: Daniel Day-Lewis for Lincoln.  Honestly, I don’t have a real opinion for this one.  Bradley Cooper was great, but easily replaceable.  I was actually pretty impressed with Denzel, but I think Daniel Day-Lewis deserves this the most.

Lincoln

WHO CHRIS WANTS TO WIN: Joaquin Phoenix for The Master – The Master received very mixed reviews with some calling it a masterpiece and others declaring it slow with lost plotting. Following a mixed understanding of the I’m Still Here debacle, an award for the Phoenix would represent a needed comeback for a legitimately great actor. Phoenix received the bulk of the praise for this film, and rightfully so, showing he’s just as good as and better than his award winning performance for Walk the Line.

The Master

WHO RON THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN: Daniel Day-Lewis for Lincoln.  Not to disrespect the other nominees, but they all seem sort of like filler.  I can agree with the absence of Jamie Foxx for Django Unchained, as his role wasn’t exactly leading, but I still think he was amazing.  Maybe not smugged, but definitely not respected.  I do have hopes that Denzel will continue to pick better roles like this and stop with the melodramatic action crap he has been doing.

Lincoln

WHO CHRIS THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN: Bradley Cooper for Silver Lining Playbook – Daniel Day-Lewis has already won so many accolades; he will win more later on. There is no standout reason to give the award to one of the best actors in cinema history this time around. Bradley Cooper on the other hand, well, this is his only shot, ever, and honestly deserving for his performance. Bradley Cooper has a great charisma and is a good actor. The Weinstein’s have enough clout to grab a few awards from the Oscar process – they are very good at gaining awards for their films. Although they don’t have enough clout this time around to make Silver Lining Playbook a best picture but they can definitely pull off a best actor for Bradley cooper who does a good job, just not best actor job. It sure will look good on the Blu-ray cover though.

Silver Linings Playbook

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role

…And the nominees are:

Jessica Chastain for Zero Dark Thirty

Jennifer Lawrence for Silver Linings Playbook

Emmanuelle Riva for Amour

Naomi Watts – Impossible

WHO RON WANTS TO WIN: Jessica Chastain for Zero Dark Thirty.  I enjoyed Jennifer Lawrence’s performance, but just like her counterpart Cooper, anyone could have taken her place and I think any actor on that panel will see the same thing.  Or they at least should.  I think this will be one of those moments where the Academy is simply going to follow suite with the Hollywood Foreign Press.

Zero Dark Thirty

WHO CHRIS WANTS TO WIN: Jessica Chastain for Zero Dark Thirty. Zero Dark Thirty could represent a closure to an era as understood through film progression. Jessica Chastain performance is remarkable.

Zero Dark Thirty

WHO RON THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN: Jessica Chastain for Zero Dark Thirty.   I think this will be one of those moments where the Academy is simply going to follow suite with the Hollywood Foreign Press.

Zero Dark Thirty

WHO CHRIS THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN:  Jessica Chastain for Zero Dark Thirty. There wasn’t a better performance in the nominated actresses.

Zero Dark Thirty

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role

…And the nominees are:

Alan Arkin for Argo

Robert De Niro for Silver Linings Playbook

Phillip Seymour Hoffman for The Master

Tommy Lee Jones for Lincoln

Christopher Waltz for Django Unchained

WHO RON WANTS TO WIN:  Christopher Waltz for Django Unchained.  Absolutely no questions asked.  Although this is one of the most star studded categories of the event.  And even with that being said, as great as Waltz’s performance was, I would have liked to see Leonardo DiCaprio’s performance nominated instead.  It was by far his greatest work to date.  De Niro would be the closest runner up, and I wouldn’t be too upset if he did win.  We need some more powerful performances from this legend.  Like Denzel, he has been wasting his potential over the last few years.

Django Unchained

WHO CHRIS WANTS TO WIN: Christopher Waltz for Django Unchained – Christopher Waltz was born to star in Tarantino films. Waltz will grab you by the soul, shake you around, and leave you feeling something completely honest when he delivers his final line of the film. The man is a gift that I wish would have been discovered much sooner in the states but am glad we have him now. The man raises the quality level of everyone around him. Phillip Seymour Hoffman performance came in as a close second, although Waltz did win for Inglorious Bastards, his performance just can’t be denied of needing to win this award again.

Django Unchained

WHO RON THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN:  Christopher Waltz for Django Unchained.  I had actually watched Jones and Arkin do their thing, but neither of them had the charisma of Waltz.  And unless the Academy wants De Niro to push towards not making bullshit cop movies anymore, they probably won’t give it to him.  And Tarantino has become well known in the last twenty years for creating excellent supporting roles.

Django Unchained

WHO CHRIS THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN: Robert De Niro for Silver Lining Playbook –De Niro hasn’t obtained this level of acting in some time. Having been a lead for so many years, this is the opportunity for the academy to give De Niro a supporting achievement. This will be the first Oscar De Niro will be recognized for in acting talents since his 1991 award for Cape Fear. I’m okay with De Niro’s victory; he did bring his acting ability this time, the only thing is the statue needs to be made from bronze.

Silver Linings Playbook

Best Performance by and Actress in a Supporting Role:

…And the nominees are:

Amy Adams for The Master

Sally Field for Lincoln

Anne Hathaway for Les Miserables

Helen Hunt for The Sessions

Jackie Weaver for Silver Linings Playbook

WHO RON WANTS TO WIN:  Sally Field for Lincoln.  I think Field only stands a chance to win if Lincoln needs a few more wins to advertise on the DVD version of the film.  But, odds are they will go with……

Lincoln

WHO CHRIS WANTS TO WIN: Helen Hunt for The Sessions – Having been away from mainstream for some time, Helen Hunt returns with a marvelous performance, perhaps her best performance I’ve seen from her. Hunt is able to create a character which will need to be understood from many different perspectives. This is the reason why Hunt deserves this award. She created a character both memorable and humanistic.

The Sessions

WHO RON THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN: Anne Hathaway for Les Miserables.  The hype behind this film is too high to not give one award that doesn’t involve music.  Plus Hathaway is basically a young Sally Field, so the judges win either way.

Les Miserables

WHO CHRIS THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN: Helen Hunt for The Sessions – Having been around for so long, she’s liked and deserving of a life time achievement award or rather a Best Actress in a Supporting Role award. That works too. She really does deserve this award though.

The Sessions

Best Achievement in Directing

…And the nominees are:

Michael Haneke for Amour

Ang Lee for Life of Pi

David O. Russell for Silver Linings Playbook

Stephen Spielberg for Lincoln

Benh Zeitlin for Beasts of the Southern Wild

WHO RON WANTS TO WIN: David O. Russell for Silver Linings Playbook.  It’s not that the film was really that spectacular, but that’s not really the point, O. Russell just needs to be officially recognized.  No matter, this one seems clear cut to me…

Silver Linings Playbook

WHO CHRIS WANTS TO WIN: Ang Lee for Life of Pi – Ang Lee has worked in such a variety of different genera. He’s not tide down to any particular theme but his films are still recognized as feeling very Ang Lee. He’s a talented director who carries a soft touch trusting his audiences to be able to play in his sandboxes with subtext and feeling rather than direct direction. Maybe not Hulk. Life of Pie though, it’s good. Well directed.

Life of Pi

WHO RON THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN:  Steven Speilberg for Lincoln.  Spielberg is getting old, and about to join the ranks as Hollywood’s retired elite, and before he receives full- fledged lifetime achievement awards, he needs one more win.

Lincoln

WHO CHRIS THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN: David O. Russell for Silver Linings Playbook – The film is not his best work but still an example of phenomenal directing. Silver Linings Playbook is a good movie but this is more about giving recognition for making The Fighter and Three Kings. I’m still happy with this win. Three Kings and The Fighter are examples of great works and David O Russell should be recognized.

Silver Linings Playbook

Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen

…And the nominees are:

Michael Haneke for Amour

Quentin Tarantino for Django Unchained

John Gatins for Flight

Wes Anderson & Roman Coppola for Moonrise Kingdom

WHO WANTS TO WIN:  Quentin Tarantino for Django Unchained.  Although I would love to see Wes Anderson finally get his moment to shine, Moonrise Kingdom could not hold a candle to Django Unchained.  What is simply another Anderson story of quirkiness and silly heart felt nonsense is going up against a dynamite of a film.

Django Unchained

WHO CHRIS WANTS TO WIN: Quentin Tarantino for Django Unchained – This is some of Tarantino’s best writing since Pulp Fiction. This is also Tarantino’s first time after so many flirtations with the western genre to actually make a spaghetti western. Although Tarantino is his own worst enemy when it comes to the academy’s vote. He’s too loud!

Django Unchained

WHO RON THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN:  Quentin Tarantino for Django Unchained.  I believe the Academy wants to symbolize that Tarantino is a master storyteller, not a master filmmaker.  This is why they will give him two awards in 18 years.  And it was a terrific story!

Django Unchained

WHO CHRIS THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN: Wes Anderson & Roman Coppola for Moonrise Kingdom – Wes has earned his award, having won just about everything else other than an Oscar. It’s just sad Wes Anderson’s win will be in the same year as Django Unchained. Moonrise Kingdom is the current apex of Anderson’s career and deserving of being recognized.

Moonrise Kingdom

Best Writing, Screenplay based on Material Previously Produced or Published

…And the nominees are:

Chris Terrio for Argo

Lucy Alibar & Benh Zeitlin for Beasts of the Southern Wild

David Magee for Life of Pi

Tony Kushner for Lincoln

David O. Russell for Silver Linings Playbook

WHO RON WANTS TO WIN:  David O. Russell for Silver Linings Playbook.  Honestly, I don’t see this happening, but again, I think David O. Russell deserves a prize for his stellar career.

Silver Linings Playbook

WHO CHRIS WANTS TO WIN: David O. Russell for Silver Linings Playbook – From my options in this category, David O. Russell stands out. He’s a great writer in both original and previously published material.

Silver Linings Playbook

WHO RON THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN:  Chris Terrio for Argo.  Again, it’s all about hype.  This film really has no reason to be nominated so much, it’s just hype.  But, since this is such a beloved story of American triumph, though one could say the same for Lincoln obviously, and it was so well received, I think this one just might edge past Lincoln.  Maybe, especially since Argo has been one of the most winningest films in all other arenas, and they failed to even nominate Ben Affleck for his work, or Argo for enough awards altogether.

Argo

WHO CHRIS THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN: Chris Terrio for Argo – Argo needs to win something… Damn you Zero Dark Thirty. This is 1998 Armageddon meets Deep Impact all over again.

Argo

Best Achievement in Cinematography

…And the nominees are:

Seamus McGarvey for Anna Karenina

Robert Richardson for Django Unchained

Claudio Miranda for Life of Pi

Janusz Kaminski for Lincoln

Roger Deakins for Skyfall

WHO RON WANTS TO WIN:  Robert Richardson for Django Unchained.  Second only to Inglorious Basterds, this was one of the best looking films Tarantino has ever made.  And obviously I am going to go for anything this film is nominated for.

Django Unchained

WHO CHRIS WANTS TO WIN: Roger Deakins for Skyfall – The film is beautifull with countless memorable compositions; the film is art in motion. Django Unchanged has many great compositions as well but the one aspect I think Unchanged missed was the grand epic shot. Tarantino holds Sergio Leone as one of the greatest directors. In thinking about Once Upon A Time in the West, Django Unchanged missed on creating some of those grand open spaces which westerns require. Skyfall feels large and still would if the dialogue was removed.

Skyfall

WHO RON THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN:  Janusz Kaminski for Lincoln.  I’m saddened to think that this might be a throw away award.  But, I think that is exactly what it will be.  Unless they want to give it to Ang Lee and all the computers he used.

Lincoln

WHO CHRIS THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN: Roger Deakins for Skyfall – Skyfall was snubbed out of a few categories which it should have at least been nominated in. This win will be the academy honoring the film. How is it in the year you celebrate 50 years of Bond and only have nine films nominated for best picture Skyfall doesn’t make the cut? Even numbers! Skyfall should have been number ten, but it will still win most pretty!

Skyfall

Best Achievement in Costume Design

…And the nominees are:

Jacqueline Durran for Anna Karenina

Paco Delgado for Les Miserables

Joanna Johnston for Lincoln

Eiko Ishioka for Mirror Mirror

Colleen Atwood for Snow White and the Huntsman

WHO RON WANTS TO WIN:  Joanna Johnston for Lincoln.  There was some pretty fancy attire in this damn movie.  I really couldn’t call it, but why not go with it.

Lincoln

WHO CHRIS WANTS TO WIN: Joanna Johnston for Lincoln – Those politicians looked good in their tall hats. It will be tough fight. Paco Delgado for Les Miserables too. This was a tough one.

Lincoln

WHO RON THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN:  Joanna Johnston for Lincoln.  Like I said, throw aways.  They need to add to Lincoln’s resume, hence, awesome costumes!

Lincoln

WHO CHRIS THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN: Paco Delgado for Les Miserables – Musicals haven’t done well in a long time. Here’s some love.

Les Miserables

Best Achievement in Sound Mixing

…And the nominees are:

John T. Reitz, Gregg Rudloff, & Jose Antonio Garcia for Argo

Andy Nelson, Mark Paterson, & Simon Hayes for Les Miserables

Ron Bartlett, Doug Hemphill, & Drew Kunin for Life of Pi

Andy Nelson, Gary Rydstrom, & Ron Judkins for Lincoln

Scott Millan, Greg P. Russell, & Stuart Wilson for Skyfall

WHO RON WANTS TO WIN: Scott Milan, Greg P. Russell, & Stuart Wilson for Skyfall.  I don’t know too much about Sound Mixing, but dammit this is James Bond!  That has to be a tough one to mix and jingle, right?

Skyfall

WHO CHRIS WANTS TO WIN: Scott Millan, Greg P. Russell, & Stuart Wilson for Skyfall – The action sequences are well balanced; never feeling over powering in any single layer of sound. More importantly the quiet moments have a sense about them of intimacy that few quiet moments are allow to have. There is still mixing in the quiet moments and those moments can be the hardest to create nuance.

Skyfall

WHO RON THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN:  Andy Nelson, Gary Rydstrom & Ron Judkins for Lincoln.  Everyone loves a big film with big awards.  This will be another easy victory if Lincoln takes it all home.  Unless the Academy wants to honor the 50th Anniversary of Bond, then I will completely wrong a few more times as well.

Lincoln

WHO CHRIS THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN: Andy Nelson, Mark Paterson, & Simon Hayes for Les Miserables – The actors sang on stage. They didn’t prerecord their lines. This is an accomplishment and very unique in musicals. I’m just not the biggest musical fan. That damn bias again. I’m sorry. I respect the genera, most of it. Not Mamma Mia. Never. Les Miserables should win though.

Les Miserables

Best Achievement in Editing

…And the nominees are:

William Goldenberg for Argo

Tim Squyres for Life of Pi

Michael Kahn for Lincoln

Jay Cassidy & Crispin Struthers for Silver Linings Playbook

William Goldenberg & Dylan Tichenor for Zero Dark Thirty

WHO RON WANTS TO WIN:  William Goldenberg & Dylan Tichenor for Zero Dark Thirty.  I don’t know why I would really go for this one.  I just think that the grittiness and torture related sequences might be most attractive to anyone judging this category.  Yeah, let’s go with that.

Zero Dark Thirty

WHO CHRIS WANTS TO WIN: William Goldenberg & Dylan Tichenor for Zero Dark Thirty – The movie is really tight. There hardly is a moment for an audience to become distracted with shiny things. This is pretty amazing since everyone knows how the film ends. Argo would have won if not for Zero Dark Thirty. Damn you again Deep Impact.

Zero Dark Thirty

Who Ron thinks will win:  Michael Kahn for Lincoln.  Again, I’m shooting for Lincoln.  Not that I want to, but it’s just some thoughts.

Lincoln

WHO CHRIS THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN: William Goldenberg & Dylan Tichenor for Zero Dark Thirty – The film is really deserving of the win.

Zero Dark Thirty

Best Achievement in Sound Editing

…And the nominees are:

Erik Aadahl & Ethan Van der Ryn for Argo

Wylie Stateman for Django Unchained

Eugene Gearty & Philip Stockton

Per Hallberg & Karen M. Baker for Skyfall

Paul N.J. Ottosson for Zero Dark Thirty

WHO RON WANTS TO WIN: Wylie Stateman for Django Unchained.  Yes,yes, yes.  Another vote for Django.  Sue me, it’s my damn blog!  But also, the sound of this film was a great blend of Spaghetti Western vibes and the new age of cinema.  And yes, if you figured it out by now, I am hoping Django wins every damn award possible!

Django Unchained

WHO CHRIS WANTS TO WIN: Andy Nelson, Gary Rydstrom & Ron Judkins for Lincoln – They recoded the sound of a carriage door closing that Lincoln actually road in. How do you top this? Not even nominated. What the hell!

Lincoln

WHO RON THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN: Per Hallberg & Karen M. Baker for Skyfall.  I seriously think Bond is going to take the technical field.  I was rooting for The Dark Knight Rises to show up, but with no Bruce Wayne, I’m going for Bond.

Skyfall

WHO CHRIS THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN: Eugene Gearty & Philip Stockton – Life of Pi – For a film taking place on a dinghy with a tiger – great sound effects.

Life of Pi

Best Achievement in Visual Effects

…And the nominees are:

Janek Sirrs, Jeff White, Guy Williams, & Daniel Sudick for The Avengers

Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon, David Clayton, & R. Christopher White for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Bill Westenhofer, Guillaume Rocheron, Erik De Boer, & Donald Elliott for Life of Pi

Richard Stammers, Trevor Wood, Charley Henley, Martin Hill for Prometheus

Cedric Nicolas-Troyan, Phil Brennan, Neil Corbould, & Michael Dawson for Snow White and the Huntsman

WHO RON WANTS TO WIN: Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon, David Clayton & R. Christopher White for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.  The Hobbit is a perfect way to combine literature with a technical award.  So there you go.

The Hobbit

WHO CHRIS WANTS TO WIN: Richard Stammers, Trevor Wood, Charley Henley, Martin Hill for Prometheus – Prometheus was beautiful. The real and the created blended together nearly seamless. This isn’t about story, the film looked good. 48 FPS for The Hobbit off and the Huntsman, well no, they can’t win.

Promethus

WHO RON THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN: Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon, David Clayton, & R. Christopher White for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.  Only because I think Life of Pi is going to be left high and dry.  And that the Academy is going to conjur up the horrors of the past when the gave that stupid ass third installment of Lord of the Rings an Oscar for Best Picture.  The biggest screw up in history since Marisa Tomei.

The Hobbit

WHO CHRIS THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN: Bill Westenhofer, Guillaume Rocheron, Erik De Boer, & Donald Elliott for Life of Pi – That Tiger looked really good.

Life of Pi

Best Achievement in Make Up and Hairstyling

…And the nominees are:

Howard Berger, Peter Montagna, & Martin Samuel for Hitchcock

Peter King, Rick Findlater, & Tami Lane for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Lisa Westcott & Julie Darnell for Les Miserables

WHO RON WANTS TO WIN: Howard Berger, Peter Montagna, & Martin Samuel for Hitchcock.  I just really liked this film.  I felt as though I was living in 1959 the whole time!

Hitchcock

WHO CHRIS WANTS TO WIN: Peter King, Rick Findlater, & Tami Lane for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey – Fantasy and science fiction is the hardest make up to create. Actors may be seated for hours each day to simply perform a single line of dialog. As Peter Jackson is known for his practical effects mixed with his CGI world, there was much work to be done in Middle Earth.

The Hobbit

WHO RON THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN: Peter King, Rick Findlater, & Tami Lane for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.  Yeah, I’m pretty certain this is the shoe-in.

The Hobbit

WHO CHRIS THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN: Peter King, Rick Findlater, & Tami Lane for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey – This would be the only category The Hobbit could win in as the film itself came and went. The original trilogy having already won so many accolades, this would be a token gift although still deserving. Les Miserables could upset though.

The Hobbit

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song

…And the nominees are:

J. Ralph for Chasing Ice, “Before My Time”

Alain Boublil, Claude-Michael Schonberg, & Herbert Kretzmer for Les Miserables, “Suddenly”

Mychael Danna & Bombay Jashree for Life of Pi, “Pi’s Lullaby”

Adele & Paul Epworth for Skyfall, “Skyfall”

Walter Murphy & Seth MacFarlane for Ted, “Everybody Needs a Best Friend”

WHO RON WANTS TO WIN:  Walter Murphy & Seth MacFarlane for Ted, “Everybody Needs a Best Friend”.  Why the hell not?  The Family guy dude, and the host, winning an Oscar?  Stranger things have happened than a film about a pot smoking teddy bear winning a statue.

Ted

WHO CHRIS WANTS TO WIN: Adele & Paul Epworth for Skyfall – It’s one of the better Bond songs in a long tradition – a Bond song never having actually won an Oscar. This would have been the year with how good Skyfall was and how well the song played into the tone. Also, 50 years of Bond being celebrated and people vote on these things.

Skyfall

WHO RON THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN:  Alain Boublil, Claude-Michael Schonberg, & Herbert Kretzmer for Les Miserables, “Suddenly”.  Les Miz is one of biggest musicals to come out recently.  There is no way this one can lose.  And if Adele does win, I might just rip my own heart out.  That is Golden Globe shit, Yo.

Les Miserables

WHO CHRIS THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN: Adele & Paul Epworth for Skyfall – Les Miserables is a musical, it should win best song. Again, 50 years of Bond and Adel is hip with the young people who they need to watch for ratings. Sorry Miserables.

Skyfall

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score

…And the nominees are:

Dario Marianelli for Anna Karenina

Alexandre Desplat for Argo

Mychael Danna for Life of Pi

John Williams for Lincoln

Thomas Newman for Skyfall

WHO RON THINKS SHOULD WIN:  John Williams for Lincoln.  John Williams is a beast.  Everyone knows this.  And his association with Speilberg is impeccable.  His legendary status is obvious, and on par with Speilberg himself.

Lincoln

WHO CHRIS WANTS TO WIN: John Williams for Lincoln – There’s not a lot to say. John Williams.

Lincoln

WHO RON THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN:  John Williams for Lincoln.  I’m going with the “no, duh” logic here.

Lincoln

WHO CHRIS THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN: Dario Marianelli for Anna Karenina – Anna Karenina can’t get shut out. This is a nice win.

Anna Karenina

(Omit the Best Short Film, Animated, Best Short Film, Live Action, Best Documentary, Short Subjects categories.  We honestly are not knowledgable enough to even try to figure these ones out.)

Best Documentary, Feature

…And the nominees are:

5 Broken Cameras

The Gatekeepers

How to Survive a Plague

The Invisible War

Searching for Sugar Man

WHO RON WANTS TO WIN: Searching for Sugar Man.  I actually saw this one, and I thought it was great, as a music nerd.  But, I don’t think it will stand a chance against secrets and war and rape and such.  Too bad.

Searching For Sugar Man

WHO CHRIS WANTS TO WIN: Haven’t seen yet.

WHO RON THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN:  Emad Burnat & Guy Davidi for 5 Broken Cameras.  This one and The Invisible War probably had the biggest hype.  Basically a coin flip.

5 Broken Cameras

WHO CHRIS THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN: Did not see. Most known social issue of last three months while remaining mid road for ratings.

Best Foreign Language Film of the Year

…And the nominess are:

Amour

War Witch

No

A Royal Affair

Kon-Tiki

WHO RON THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN:  Amour.  I would have gone with Woody Allen’s To Rome With Love, since it was mostly Italian.  But, Amour seemed pretty interesting as well.

Amour

WHO CHRIS WANTS TO WIN: Haven’t seen yet.

WHO RON THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN:  Amour.  There is no real debate here.  It’s been nominated too many times.

Amour

WHO CHRIS THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN: Amour – Nominated all over the place. Most of the academy probably haven’t seen these films but they have seen the name Amour a few times, so why not.

Amour

Best Animate Feature Film of the Year

…And the nominees are:

Brave

Frankenweenie

ParaNorman

The Pirates!  Band of Misfits

Wreck-It Ralph

WHO RON THINKS SHOULD WIN Frankenweenie.  I just think Tim Burton is owed.  I haven’t really enjoyed much of what he has done lately, even if he always features my favorite A-list actor.  P.S.  Stay tuned for my Travelogue post about my visit to the Tim Burton Exhibit at the Seoul Museam of Arts and Culture.  That’s write, a shameless plug.  Always.

Frankenweenie

WHO CHRIS WANTS TO WIN: Brave – I’m okay with Pixar owning the animation realm. They deserve it. They always put story first (Cars does not count, they need money to make these things, I understand). Brave represents a continuation of the Juggernaut that is Pixar. The academy does like to give out its dues though.

Brave

WHO RON THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN:  Brave.  Yeah, it’s another year for the folks at Disney.

Brave

WHO CHRIS THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN: Frankenweenie – Tim Burrton is owed. Why not give it to him for a remake of his original work. Again, more of lifetime achievement award. Not for Planet of the Apes though. No.

Frankenweenie

Best Achievement in Production Design

…And the nominees are:

Sarah Greenwood, & Katie Spencer for Anna Karenina

Dan Hennah, Ra Vincent, & Simon Bright for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Eve Stewart & Anna Lynch-Robinson for Les Miserables

David Gropman & Anna Pinnock for Life of Pi

Rick Carter & Jim Erickson for Lincoln

WHO RON WANTS TO WIN:  Dan Hennah, Ra Vincent, & Simon Bright for The Hobbit: An Unexpected JourneyThese damn movies take forever to make!  Imagine how much damn work has to be put into what is not CGI?  I might be missing out on the impact of Life of Pi, and for that I am sorry.  I’m not even a LOR fan.

The Hobbit

WHO CHRIS WANTS TO WIN: Eve Stewart & Anna Lynch-Robinson – I would like to see Les Miserables win for something. I’m not a musical fan. It’s my biases. It’s very hard to keep my attention. I would like to understand musicals more but I’ve yet to ever find one that really brought me in and showed me what this whole thing was about. I do respect the genera and would want to see it win something for the clear quality of work it represents even though I don’t understand it.

Les Miserables

WHO RON THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN:  Rick Carter & Jim Erickson for Lincoln.  Again, sticking to my guns here.  It’s a year for Speilberg and Honest Abe.

Lincoln

WHO CHRIS THINKS WILL ACTUALLY WIN: Rick Carter & Jim Erickson for Lincoln – To win you must first be a period piece and two be under the management of Steven Spielberg’s direction. Lincoln won’t win a lot but it will win here.

Lincoln

So there you have it folks!!  Be sure to tune in to the Academy Awards this Sunday, and be sure to check out Trainwreck’d Society on Facebook and Twitter, we might just be there to give our snarky comments as the show progresses, depending on how much wine or corn whiskey Chris and I have consumed.  Be sure to check back here on the big day to see how well/awful we did at our predictions.  Cheers!

Randy Mazucca: The Facebook Guy [Guest Wreckers]

Randy Mazzuca3We all know The Facebook Guy.  No, not Zuckerberg, but one of minions.  Well, I guess we are all minions in his circus, but I am mean the guy who is, maybe unbeknownst to himself, the biggest supporter of social media.  The guy who makes you always catch yourself saying, “Wow, he is on Facebook ALOT” when his words consistently show up in your news feed at any given time of the day.  Yet, you never stop to question…. “How do I always see his rants and ramblings and comedic jests?”  Maybe it is because you yourself spend more time of Facebook than you care to admit.

That is why I am proud to support “The Facebook Guy”.  The guy that can admit to the world that he is on the social media scene, and he is definitely not ashamed to admit it.  This is a guy that has taken the reign as the court jester of the on line world.  And his posts are not simply an updated on what he was just eating, doing, or thinking about.  Oh no.  That would be far too simple and ridiculous!  This is a man who takes the time to make you laugh, even in the most shallow parts of your days.  And he loves what he does.  For there is no task greater than spreading the joy of laughter and his own expensive (or other’s) via the inter webs.  This is The Facebook Guy.

Luckily for me, I have the best Facebook Guy in the world.  Sure my “Friend’s List” actually includes each cast member of Whitest Kids U Know, a couple of raunchy female stand up comedians, and Patton Oswalt (for whatever that is worth)….but none of them hold a dimly lit light bulb to my dear friend Randy Mazucca.  Is it because quantity is always better than quality?  Some would disagree, but not me.  This is a man who nails it, almost every time.  And if he doesn’t, you can rest assure he will be back with a rebuttal in a very brief moment.  I have known Randy for many years, hailing from the same dirty mill town that is nothing more than a blip of time for most people as they shoot through I-5 from Seattle onto greater days to Portland, 40 miles away.  He is a the heir to the owners of the Grocery Outlet in Longview, an Active Duty Coast Guardsman stationed in the San Francisco area, an active volunteer at the San Francisco Zoo, and is currently engaged to a great girl (who you could imagine makes several cameos in his wall posts).  I am proud to call this guy a friend, and so happy that he invades my newsfeed without faulter every day as the jest of light between somebody’s sob story about how tired they are, inspirational quotes that have no meaning in the social media world, Farmville bullshit, and pictures of their food.  Facebook would be a truly drab places if it weren’t for this guy.

Randy and his fiancee Alicia

Randy and his fiancee Alicia

Randy and I had a small following (probably about 6 people) circa 2006 or so when Myspace ruled the world and we surrendered to their demands daily.  We were known to be completely harsh movie critics on our blogs.  These were the days when WordPress and Blogger were scary for the amateur, Tumblr didn’t make sense, and people didn’t limit their opinions to 130 characters or less.  I wrote a silly little feature aptly titled, “The Shit and Shit Movies of The Week”, in which I reviewed two of the incredibly to many movies I had watched that week, and picked one as good, and one as bad (get it?).  And Randy was always there to chime in on what he thought of my overtly pretentious picks (probably a Woody Allen film beating out a comic book movie) , and eventually he started doing his own rants and ramblings on films with his own blog.  Anyway, the entire thing eventually dissolved and we migrated west to the Facebook world, and here we are today.

So to honor Randy, I decided it would be nice to feature a few of his rants, ramblings, and baskets of hilarity with you the fine folks at Trainwreck’d Society.  I have selected a batch of about 30 of my favorite posts by Randy, mostly taken in the last month or so, primarily during this year’s Superbowl (you remember, the one with the black out and alien Beyonce?).  So ye fine gentlemen (do women even read this crap?), feast your eyes on the words of what I consider to be one of the finest everyman comedian today!  Enjoy!

 

“I wonder if they’re going to use the Denzel Washington movie ‘Flight’ as an in-flight movie on airplanes.”

“What made people in the 1930s talk the way they did? Was it the Gin Rickeys that flowed freely out of the drinking fountains?”

“American Movie Classics has a reality series coming out about people in a freak show.  No further joke necessary.”

“The only reason I need cutlery (I prefer the Urban Kitchen one) is to transport everything I eat into to my tortillas and into my mouth.
(I LOVE TORTILLAS!!!!)”

“Has anyone made a slow accoustic version of “I Wanna Bang On the Drum All Day” yet?”

“I want Robert Palmer to play our wedding. Havent seen him do much in awhile, someone needs to go dig him up for me. Lol, I am kidding. He’s dead now. So I guess you could say he’s my favorite underground artist right now. Lol, jokez”

“Puppy Bowl but for hockey.”

“I am the first send out a venomous e-mail to someone for the terrible customer service for our wedding.
Who’s the Bridezilla now?!”

“Watching a documentary on Instant Netflix about a young lady who died but wasn’t found in her apartment for three years.  This is why I post constantly people! If you dont hear from me for more than an hour, CALL FOR HELP!!! Knock down my door!!!! I am not okay!!!”

There’s this big bag of garbage that I seen rotting away by the Bay Bridge toll plaza every single day that I go to work and now I’m never going to be able to stop thinking about that lady’s corpse locked in her apartment for three years.

“For my next Andy Rooney-esque gripe I’m going to complain about people posting that Sean Bean pic from LOTR and people telling me what one does not simply do.”

(during Superbowl) “Maybe that’s why the zoo wasn’t showing Basil and Merlin’s choices for the Super Bowl on their Facebook feed. They kept choosing the Ravens. Those two are so smart.”

(during Superbowl) “Now you will all fall victim to BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA’S ENSLAVEMENT PLAN. THE ENTIRE STADIUM WAS A GAS CHAMBER ALL ALONG.”

(during Superbowl) “Rob Thomas is playing during the pregame. I look for ANY moment to bring up the time that I literally bumped into him at a crosswalk in Las Vegas. Weirdest moment of my whole life.”

(Randy doesn’t really like Football that much) “ROLL TIDE, ROLL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! RISE UP!!!!!!!!!!!! TEBOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

“I’ll bet all my bird-loving friends will be excited about the Superb Owl today.”

“Dang! Today it’s Nathan Lane’s birthday AND the SuperBowl. I’d like to get an invite to that party!!!!”

“If I tell my dad I’m excited for the big game today, maybe he’ll love me even though I mean Puppy Bowl.”

“I cant stand listening to parents have conversations with their little kids like they’re adults.  I should probably never ever be a dad.”

“Remember when everyone thought Green Day were had-beens but then they released Time of Your Life and they came back and became the biggest band around?  That’s what Im going to build my time machine to stop.”

“Nuh uh, Mr James Hetfield. I dont need your hand. I can get to Never Never Land with pixie dust and some happy thoughts, then straight on til morning!”

“Is that irritation I get from people who use hashtags on Facebook the same thing that ham radio operators get when someone on the street says “Roger!”

“The menu said Country Style Potatoes so I made them in the style of another shitty song about what it’s like growing up in a small town in Idaho.”

“Some of the people at work are complaining because the butter is too hard to spread on their pancakes so they want us to offer them melted butter and I totally understand their frustration because my great grandparents swept the flour off of railroad cars to make their bread during the Great Depression.”

“At first I was super annoyed to see that one of the guys has nautical sparrow tattoos but then I decided to give him a pass from sailors everywhere for giving the world that awesome Taylor Swift break up picture on a boat.”

“Tangled>Wreck It Ralph > Brave.”

“For someone that’s in the Coast Guard, I sure dont care that much about border security on the news.”

Randy Mazucca2

Randy and his nemesis, Captain Sparkles

“They are all out of orange essence infused prunes. I am going to tear this place apart. — at Target.”

“I am very honored to be getting a Coast Guard Community Volunteer medal for picking up poop at the zoo.”

“I’m reading the biography of Loretta Lynn and she talked about how her dad had to work long hours all the time, deep in a dark coal mine where he couldnt even stand up. He’d come home and his whole body would be bleeding from crawling through jagged crevices and he’d be hacking up thick black slime. It made me think about all the complaining that I do about my own job at the galley and what sort of things make me mad there so now I’ve decided to be a coal miner.”

Jim Geoghan [Interview]

JIM GEOGHAN
When I was young kid in the early 90’s, television was damn good!  I remember relaxing after a day of play in front of the TV on Friday nights and enjoying the now classic line up known as TGIF.  And there was one show that reigned supreme….Family Matters.  Despite my skin tone, I always felt that I was a part of their family.  Not that there was anything wrong with my family, I just loved the Winslows, and that show still remains my one of favorite sitcoms of all time, and definitely my favorite of the TGIF line up.
That being said, I am very excited to have one of the creators and main currators of not only Family Matters, but so much excellent work as a producer and a writer for well over 30 years.  Currently he is the head man in charge for both of Suite Life of Zach and Cody series, and continuosly working on entertaining us.  Ladies and gentlemen, I introduce to you the legend himself, Mr. Jim Geoghan!
[Note: You may notice that there is an abundance of photos below, more than usual.  These are all photos that Mr. Geoghan himself was nice enough to pass along to us, all taken by himself as well!  Another nice bonus!]
What is it like writing scripts for shows oriented towards kids in the pre-teen years like The Suite Life series?  Do you feel any sort of limitations?  What made you want to shift gears into this arena?
 
Writing scripts oriented toward children keeps you young at first but as the years go by you begin to realize how old you’re getting.  I might need to reference a popular rock group in dialogue and the best I can do is a rock group that was big ten years ago.  I’ll know instantly how out-of-date I am when the younger writers begin laughing at me.  When the writing staff offers names of more current rock groups I won’t recognize any of them.  It’s hideous.  But ultimately half hour programs for children will always deal with issues of trust, friendship, courage, dignity, kindness etc. and those issues will never fade away.
 
CODY MIME #2
Limitations; Orson Welles once said “The greatest threat to the creative mind is the absence of limitations.”  I’d like to think limitations make creative people work just a bit harder.  I’m always mindful that parents have entrusted me to entertain their children for thirty minutes.  I don’t want to betray that trust with things that excede the boundaries of good taste for young people.   As a writer and producer I have to remember the show is not just mine, it’s owned by a production company and a network that pays me.
When I want to write something that has virtually no limitations I write for the theater.  Nothing is more exciting and expressive than writing for the theater.  Sadly, there is only a tiny handful of people who can make a living writing for the theater.
BRENDA & ASHLEY CHRISTMAS #1
You were one of the writers and creative masterminds behind my personal favorite sitcom of all time, Family Matters.  I know why I love it, but please tell us what you believe made that show legendary to so many people and so many different demographics?
  PIRATE #3
Family Matters had a great cast of talented actors, a sensational writing and producing staff and it was part of a Friday night block of sitcoms on ABC that kept families in front of their TV’s for two solid hours.  The chemistry the actors had with each other was something of a miracle.  It’s something you can’t always write.  Urkel was also one of the great misfit figures of the nineties.  I was a neurotic, insecure child and I always loved comedic characters who were misfits.  I think I was relieved to see someone worse than me.  I believe Urkel offered the same relief to kids during the run of the show.  He was a social outcast but he never gave up and he would not accept criticism.  The rest of the cast was masterful in showing their irritation with him.  My years on Family Matters were some of the best years of my career.
URKEL HOT ROD 2
Can you tell us a bit about Divided We Stand?  What are some highlights from that time?
 
Divided We Stand was a comedy trio working out of The Improvisation in New York in the early seventies.  I had been writing for the trio.  They disbanded and when it was put back together I was made a performing member.  Unlike other comedy performers I didn’t have a “break in” period of writing and testing material for months and months.  Divided We Stand had well over an hour of stage tested material.  The lines and the laughs were all there.  I had seen these bits many, many times.  My first time on stage was in front of two hundred people.  We slaughtered the audience that night.  Standing on a stage for the first time, getting huge laughs was like a drug to me.  I’ve been hopelessly addicted ever since.  The trio went on to appear at over four hundred colleges.  We toured with a lot of big names; The Righteous Brothers, Frankie Valley and the Four Seasons, Jimmy Buffet, War, The Commodores… we performed in forty-seven states and in parts of Europe.  Later on the trio became a duo, Geoghan and Fine.   Marc Fine and I gave up the road and only played local clubs in New York.  We were sensational.  Everything I ever learned about performing comedy I learn from Marc.
DUCK HUNTING 3
You co-wrote the screenplay for the 1986 film Stoogemania.  What inspired you to develop this story?  Are you a big Three Stooges fan yourself?
 
I’m a big Three Stooges fan up to a certain point.   I can watch face slapping and eye poking for twenty minutes, not much more than that.  Stoogemania was made because three of the Stooges films had fallen into public domain.  Someone in a studio somewhere forgot to renew the copyright.  Atlantic Releasing had the idea of using clips from those films and weaving them together with new footage.  My good friend Chuck Workman, who later went on to win an Oscar, asked me to write the film with him.   It was great fun and my wife, Annie Gagen, got to play a role.  I also got to meet and work with Sid Caesar my childhood comedy hero.
You went a little bit of a different route in 2002 with your screenplay for the independent horror film Fangs.  Was this as drastic of a change in projects as it seems?  What made you want to get into the horror field?
 
Fangs was my only horror film.  Kelly Sandefur, a good friend, asked me if I would write the next film he was due to direct for Porchlight Pictures.  It turned out to be Fangs.
Can you tell us a bit about one of your latest stage plays UG?  What was this all about?
 UG #7
UG is a satire on theater.  It’s been published by the Dramatist Play Service and has seen a half dozen productions around the United States.   It’s a small cast musical with one set, a cave.   Ug is the leader of a family of cave dwellers one million years ago.  He’s grown tired of telling stories the same way every night.  So he reenacts an event and by doing so accidentally invents the first play ever.   A rival tribe is due to visit in days to come.   Ug and his tribe decide they could be considered trendy if they performed their play for the visiting tribe.   Moments later they’re at each other’s throats with rewrites and bickering during rehearsals.  Rick Rhodes, a multi Emmy winner for composing music wrote the music for UG.   I have the TV and motion picture rights to the popular comic strip B.C.   I’m currently adapting UG as an animated feature for the cast of B.C.   It’s very exciting.
UG #3
What does the future hold for you?  What can we expect to see from you in the future?
 
I’m working on too many projects to mention.  I write every day whether it’s for money or not.  I write for television, motion pictures and the theater.  I have 8 published plays and I’m a member of the Actors Studio Playwrights and Directors Lab.  I have a Drama Desk nomination for a play of mine that ran off-Broadway in New York for two years.  I always like to point these things out because I never got more than a ‘C’ in English in high school and no one at my high school (Christopher Columbus in the Bronx) would let me write on the school paper because of my poor grades.  But my high school did me a favor.  It taught me to trust myself and to have the courage to move ahead even when I didn’t have support from “experts.”
REGGIE FAMILY MATTERS
What was the last thing that amde you smile? 
 
Little kids make me smile.   I have a cat at home that’s hysterical.  My wife and daughter always make me smile.

Jeremiah S. Chechik [Interview]

Jeremiah Chechik

20 years ago, one of my favorite films of all time was brought out to the world.  A graceful young man fresh off a hit TV show and entering a brand new world of self expression where he would only take on roles he specifically chose by the name of Johnny Depp shared the screen with Aidan Quinn and Mary Stuart Masterson in the (sort of) romantic comedy Benny & Joon.  Now we all know Johnny as the sword swindling swashbuckler and ravishing sex symbol he has become, but this is where I like him.  I a beautiful little story about what it means to find true and unconditional love.  And why Buster Keaton is just downright awesome.  It also didn’t hurt that it was obviously filmed in Spokane, Washington, and I would later create a jogging path that hit several land mark scenes from the film.  Coincidence, really.  Another classic film that nobody can deny, is the greatest addition to the National Lampoon’s series entitled Christmas Vacation featuring Chevy Chase and very young Juliette Lewis.  This is by far the ONLY Christmas movie I can stand.  And this goes for the hipster friendly piece of garbage with that weird bundled up kid and the leg lamp.  Yes, this is the crown jewel of them all.  Jingle All The Way might be a close runner up, but this is a whole other conversation waiting to be had.

And what does any of this have to do with absolutely anything?  Well, as you should have figured out by now, these two films, as well as several fine works, are the work of legendary filmmaker Jeremiah S. Chechik, who we have had the direct honor of agreeing to share a few words with you all here at Trainwreck’d Society.  I am so proud to have the visionary mastermind behind one of my favorite films of all time right here for you all.  Enjoy!

You’re resume is obviously impressive.  You’ve done hilarious slapstick comedy (National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation), romantic comedies (Benny & Joon), and adventure (The Avengers, Leverage), and more…what would you say is your favorite genre to direct?  What the distinct differences in working in different genres?

When you work on a comedy you try to spend the day laughing…then praying everyone else laughs with you. Comedy is tough. In drama one could hide behind technique, kinetics, music and photography and mood but in comdey you either laugh or you dont.

You are a renowned filmmaker and television director, we all know this.  But, you were also an executive producer for the little known foreign film La reina de la note, released in 1994.  How did you become attached to this project?  

I discovered the story of Lucha Reyes in Mexico City one long night over many many tquilas in one of the most famous “ranchero” bars. Once I heard the story I know it had to be brought to film but as a mexican film. I found the writer , paid for the writer, found the director and hobbled the financing together with a french/mexican partner and we made it. Sorry it is not avail on dvd – its a very dark and cool film about an amazing musician.

You have directed some of Hollywood’s elite in the acting world from Sharon Stone to Johnny Depp to Chevy Chase and Zachary Levi.  How is it having the idolized work for you?  Does the media and estranged entertainment blogs blow things entirely out of proportion?  

Actors are actors. I never consider their fame only who they are and what they need to deliver their best work. Most – if not all- pretty much surrender to the director as partt of what they do. of course, you have to earn their trust, give smart notes and be sensitive to their individual processes.
Jeremiah Chechik2

Since I used to literally live about a half a mile from the house that was the main setting for your 1993 film Benny & Joon, I have to ask…how did you enjoy your time in Spokane, Washington? 

Loved being in spokane – It was a magical time for us.

In this modern age, everything seems to be shifting to digital works.  Being a veteran of the  film world with an abundance of experience, which do you prefer, digital or film?  

I was and remain very much an early adopter and love the control of image on the set and the way digital embraces the shadows. but I still miss the simplicity and grace of the celluloid image.

You made a transition, but far from removal, to a lot of television from mostly film work.  How do the two experiences differ?  Do you have a preference, and why or why not?

Television is like a polaroid. It’s fast immediate and currently where all the best writing lives. as a director on a show I am but one piece of a larger machine which exists to serve the show. On a film the responsibility of tone, pace, performance, quality and effect is under the purview of the director.  There is a lot more pressure.

Jeremiah Chechik3If you could create (another) film adaptation of any television show that hasn’t already been recreated, what would it be?  

Naked City.

Can you tell us a bit about your upcoming film featuring Catherine O’Hara, The Right Kind of Wrong?

Quirky, romantic and funny – i.e. a romantic comedy.

What was the last thing that made you smile?

Loved TED.