Ashley’s 2014 Oscar’s Predictions

oscars_leadAs you may or may not know, I get screeners every year, so I usually see most of the nominated movies.  Here are my predictions and opinions on the categories for this year (except the shorts).

EDIT: I missed 3 out of 21, most disappointingly, The Act of Killing did not win Documentary Feature.

 

BEST PICTURE

“American Hustle”

“Captain Phillips”

“Dallas Buyers Club”

“Gravity”

“Her”

“Nebraska”

“Philomena”

“12 Years a Slave”

“The Wolf of Wall Street”

 

WILL WIN: “12 Years a Slave”

SHOULD WIN: “Gravity”

 

DIRECTOR

Alfonso Cuarón, “Gravity”

Steve McQueen, “12 Years a Slave”

Alexander Payne, “Nebraska”

David O. Russell, “American Hustle”

Martin Scorsese, “The Wolf of Wall Street”

 

WILL WIN: Alfonso Cuarón, “Gravity”

SHOULD WIN: Alfonso Cuarón, “Gravity”

 

ACTOR

Christian Bale, “American Hustle”

Bruce Dern, “Nebraska”

Leonardo DiCaprio, “The Wolf of Wall Street”

Chiwetel Ejiofor, “12 Years a Slave”

Matthew McConaughey, “Dallas Buyers Club”

 

WILL WIN: Matthew McConaughey, “Dallas Buyers Club”

SHOULD WIN: Leonardo DiCaprio, “The Wolf of Wall Street”

 

ACTRESS

Amy Adams, “American Hustle”

Cate Blanchett, “Blue Jasmine”

Sandra Bullock, “Gravity”

Judi Dench, “Philomena”

Meryl Streep, “August: Osage County”

 

WILL WIN: Cate Blanchett, “Blue Jasmine”

SHOULD WIN: I have no feelings on this matter

 

SUPPORTING ACTOR

Barkhad Abdi, “Captain Phillips”

Bradley Cooper, “American Hustle”

Michael Fassbender, “12 Years a Slave”

Jonah Hill, “The Wolf of Wall Street”

Jared Leto, “Dallas Buyers Club”

 

WILL WIN: Jared Leto, “Dallas Buyers Club”

SHOULD WIN: I have no feelings on this matter

 

SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Sally Hawkins, “Blue Jasmine”

Jennifer Lawrence, “American Hustle”

Lupita Nyong’o, “12 Years a Slave”

Julia Roberts, “August: Osage County”

June Squibb, “Nebraska”

 

WILL WIN: Lupita Nyong’o, “12 Years a Slave”

SHOULD WIN: Lupita Nyong’o, “12 Years a Slave”

 

 

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

“Before Midnight,” Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke

“Captain Phillips,” Billy Ray

“Philomena,” Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope

“12 Years a Slave,” John Ridley

“The Wolf of Wall Street,” Terence Winter

 

WILL WIN: ”12 Years a Slave,” John Ridley

SHOULD WIN: ”12 Years a Slave,” John Ridley

 

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

“American Hustle,” Eric Warren Singer and David O. Russell

“Blue Jasmine,” Woody Allen

“Dallas Buyers Club,” Craig Borten and Melisa Wallack

“Her,” Spike Jonze

“Nebraska,” Bob Nelson

 

WILL WIN: American Hustle,” Eric Warren Singer and David O. Russell

SHOULD WIN: “American Hustle,” Eric Warren Singer and David O. Russell

 

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

“The Act of Killing”

“Cutie and the Boxer”

“Dirty Wars”

“The Square”

“20 Feet From Stardom”

 

WILL WIN: “The Act of Killing”

SHOULD WIN: “The Act of Killing”

 

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

“The Broken Circle Breakdown”

“The Great Beauty”

“The Hunt”

“The Missing Picture”

“Omar”

 

WILL WIN: “The Great Beauty”

SHOULD WIN: I have no feelings on this matter

 

CINEMATOGRAPHY

“The Grandmaster,” Philippe Le Sourd

“Gravity,” Emmanuel Lubezki

“Inside Llewyn Davis,” Bruno Delbonnel

“Nebraska,” Phedon Papamichael

“Prisoners,” Roger A. Deakins

 

WILL WIN: “Gravity,” Emmanuel Lubezki

SHOULD WIN: “Gravity,” Emmanuel Lubezki

 

COSTUME DESIGN

“American Hustle,” Michael Wilkinson

“The Grandmaster,” William Chang Suk Ping

“The Great Gatsby,” Catherine Martin

“The Invisible Woman,” Michael O’Connor

“12 Years a Slave,” Patricia Norris

 

WILL WIN: “12 Years a Slave,” Patricia Norris

SHOULD WIN: “12 Years a Slave,” Patricia Norris

 

 

ANIMATED FEATURE

“The Croods”

“Despicable Me 2”

“Ernest & Celestine”

“Frozen”

“The Wind Rises”

 

WILL WIN: “Frozen”

SHOULD WIN: “Frozen”

 

EDITING

“American Hustle,” Jay Cassidy, Crispin Struthers and Alan Baumgarten

“Captain Phillips,” Christopher Rouse

“Dallas Buyers Club,” John Mac McMurphy and Martin Pensa

“Gravity,” Alfonso Cuarón and Mark Sanger

“12 Years a Slave,” Joe Walker

 

WILL WIN: “Gravity,” Alfonso Cuarón and Mark Sanger

SHOULD WIN: “Gravity,” Alfonso Cuarón and Mark Sanger

 

MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING

“Dallas Buyers Club,” Adruitha Lee and Robin Mathews

“Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa,” Stephen Prouty

“The Lone Ranger,” Joel Harlow and Gloria Pasqua-Casny

 

WILL WIN: “Dallas Buyers Club,” Adruitha Lee and Robin Mathews

SHOULD WIN: “Dallas Buyers Club,” Adruitha Lee and Robin Mathews

 

ORIGINAL SONG

“Happy” from “Despicable Me 2” music and lyrics by Pharrell Williams

“Let It Go” from “Frozen,” music and lyrics by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez

“The Moon Song” from “Her,” music by Karen O; lyrics by Karen O and Spike Jonze

“Ordinary Love” from “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom,” music by Paul Hewson, Dave Evans, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen, lyrics by Paul Hewson

 

WILL WIN: “Let It Go” from “Frozen,” music and lyrics by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez

SHOULD WIN: “Let It Go” from “Frozen,” music and lyrics by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez

 

 

ORIGINAL SCORE

“The Book Thief,” John Williams

“Gravity,” Stephen Price

“Her,” William Butler and Owen Pallett

“Philomena,” Alexandre Desplat

“Saving Mr. Banks,” Thomas Newman

 

WILL WIN: “Gravity,” Stephen Price

SHOULD WIN: I have no feelings on this matter

 

PRODUCTION DESIGN

“American Hustle,” production design: Judy Becker; set decoration: Heather Loeffler

“Gravity,” production design: Andy Nicholson; set decoration: Rosie Goodwin and Joanne Woollard

“The Great Gatsby,” production design: Catherine Martin; set decoration: Beverley Dunn

“Her,” production design: K.K. Barrett; set decoration: Gene Serdena

“12 Years a Slave,” production design: Adam Stockhausen; set decoration: Alice Baker.

 

WILL WIN: “The Great Gatsby,” production design: Catherine Martin; set decoration: Beverley Dunn

SHOULD WIN: “American Hustle,” production design: Judy Becker; set decoration: Heather Loeffler

 

SOUND EDITING

“All Is Lost,” Steve Boeddeker and Richard Hymns

“Captain Phillips,” Oliver Tarney

“Gravity,” Glenn Freemantle

“The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” Brent Burge and Chris Ward

“Lone Survivor,” Wylie Stateman

 

WILL WIN: “Gravity,” Glenn Freemantle

SHOULD WIN: “Gravity,” Glenn Freemantle

 

SOUND MIXING

“Captain Phillips,” Chris Burdon, Mark Taylor, Mike Prestwood Smith and Chris Munro

“Gravity,” Skip Lievsay, Niv Adiri, Christopher Benstead and Chris Munro

“The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” Christopher Boyes, Michael Hedges, Michael Semanick and Tony Johnson

“Inside Llewyn Davis,” Skip Lievsay, Greg Orloff and Peter F. Kurland

“Lone Survivor,” Andy Koyama, Beau Borders and David Brownlow

 

WILL WIN: “Gravity,” Skip Lievsay, Niv Adiri, Christopher Benstead and Chris Munro

SHOULD WIN: “Gravity,” Skip Lievsay, Niv Adiri, Christopher Benstead and Chris Munro

 

VISUAL EFFECTS

“Gravity,” Tim Webber, Chris Lawrence, David Shirk and Neil Corbould

“The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon, David Clayton and Eric Reynolds

“Iron Man 3,” Christopher Townsend, Guy Williams, Erik Nash and Dan Sudick

“The Lone Ranger,” Tim Alexander, Gary Brozenich, Edson Williams and John Frazier

“Star Trek Into Darkness,” Roger Guyett, Patrick Tubach, Ben Grossmann and Burt Dalton

 

WILL WIN: “Gravity,” Tim Webber, Chris Lawrence, David Shirk and Neil Corbould

SHOULD WIN: “Gravity,” Tim Webber, Chris Lawrence, David Shirk and Neil Corbould

 

As for the shorts, I have no idea.

2012 Movies, Part 1: Top 5 Films

djangoblueThe Extraordinary
Fantastic movies of 2012

I’ve seen a lot of movies this year and wanted to discuss all of them in-depth, but realized that was way too much for one post.  So, to start with, this is a list of my ten favorite films of the year and a discussion of the problematic aspects of many of them.  It is possible, of course, to love a movie that has issues, and many of my favorite films of the year focus on the privileged.  So without further ado, my top 10 films and their strengths and weaknesses.

1. Django Unchained: The story of a slave and an enlightened German bounty hunting and seeking revenge in antebellum South.  This is my favorite movie of the year.  It deserves nods for Best Directing, Best Screenplay, Best Soundtrack, Best Original Music, Best Ensemble, Best Western Since Blazing Saddles, Most Brilliant Unnecessary Carnage, and Best Conversation Starter.

Representation: Bechdel Test: Fails. The beautiful and awesome Kerry Washington is the damsel in distress who, unfortunately, doesn’t do anything proactive.  Zoe Bell has a brief appearance, unrecognizable and badass as a villainess.  There are also several slave women who are there to be eye candy or Mammy and Leonardo DiCaprio’s character has a sister, who meets a wonderfully horrific end.  And, with the loss of Tarantino’s brilliant editor Sally Menke, there aren’t any women in above-the-line positions on the film.  On the other hand, the film makes strong use of African-American characters, who have complex interactions with the Institution, making it a surprisingly nuanced portrayal of slaves.

2. Hitchcock: The story of the making of Psycho and the relationship between Alma Reville and Alfred HItchcock.  I love Helen Mirren so much I would go see her in anything and she has some wonderful moments here.  Anthony Hopkins is good as Hitchcock, but it is really Mirren who steals the show, especially since so few know the story of the woman behind the man.

Representation: Bechdel Test: Pass, I think.  It’s a biopic about Hitchcock, who is a man, and nearly every conversation is about him.  But I’m fairly certain his secretary, played by the wonderful Toni Collette, and Alma discuss the script, which Alma rewrites for her husband.  The story is not strictly historically accurate, but it is fascinating, especially as an attempt to give credit to the woman who was so instrumental to Hitchcock’s success.  In a way, the film is very empowering in as much as it reveals just how much Alma contributed. There are, of course, no people of color in the film, arguably because that’s what Hollywood and Hitchcock’s circle looked like in 1960.

Great interview with Helen Mirren:

3. Silver Linings Playbook: The story of a man trying to overcome his bipolar disorder so that he can reunite with his wife who meets a young woman struggling with her grief from her husband’s death.  The trailer did not make me think that this movie was going to be particularly special, but the reviews were so positive that I went to see it anyway.  Although I have some issues with the end, it is an incredibly well-made movie and both Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper are perfect in their roles.  The scene-stealer of the movie, however, is Robert DeNiro, who I would give best supporting actor to in a heartbeat.

Representation: Bechdel Test: Fail.  Chris Tucker, John Ortiz, and Anupam Kher offer faces of color and interesting, complicated characters.  While they are not the leads, they have meaty roles that offer them more to do than most films give their secondary characters.  All three of them are incredibly charming and funny.  Lawrence is, of course, a fantastic and fun woman who is complex and, while she needs a little rescuing, she is also rescuing Cooper from his life as well.  She is strong and vicious and sweet in turns.  Jacki Weaver is also great as the mother.

Not the spitting image of Ben Affleck

Not the spitting image of Ben Affleck

4. Argo: The true story of a CIA agent pretending to be a Hollywood Sci-Fi movie’s location scouter to rescue 6 Americans from Iran.  I normally can’t stand Ben Affleck as an actor, but I love real-life intrigue stories and, it turns out, he was actually really good in this film.  Roger Ebert named this as his number one film of the year, and while it didn’t quite reach that for me, I understand why it did.  It is, as he says, the most “movie” movie of the year and, like Ebert, I am very much interested in popular movies as much as I am in high film, if not more.  John Goodman and Alan Arkin are brilliant as ever.

Representation: Bechdel Test: Pass.  This is very much the story of tricking the Iranians and Iranians hating Americans, so there’s not a lot of positive feelings given their way.  Affleck is also playing a person of Mexican heritage — on the one hand, it’s awesome that a movie got made with someone named “Mendez” as the hero and it never would have gotten made without Affleck, on the other hand it’s a shame that the movie plays down his heritage and didn’t have the ability to give the opportunity to someone who is Mexican American.

beasts

5. Beasts of the Southern Wild: The story of a little black girl living outside the levees in New Orleans and how she survives a big storm and her father’s illness.  I was fully expecting this to be my favorite movie of the year — I love magical realism stories about children.  Plus, Obama recommended it to Oprah, who named it her favorite film of the year — if that’s not endorsement, what is?  It didn’t make it to number one, but it is an incredible movie.  Quvenzhané Wallis is incredible in the lead.

Representation: Bechdel Test: Pass.  While I found this movie empowering and meaningful as a depiction of rural, Southern life, there has been substantial disagreement from others.  While Obama and Oprah loved it, bell hooks thought it was a portrayal of the noble savage and black matriarch stereotypes.  I personally think the entire movie subverts those stereotypes with a strong black single father who is fiercely devoted to his daughter, if not affectionate, juxtaposed against the strong teacher figure who helps her with her father’s illness but doesn’t ever take care of her — and I don’t see how a six-year old who is dependent on others to survive is a “matriarch”.

Honorable mentions: Brave (Bechdel Pass, no people of color); The Hunger Games (Bechdel Pass, strong secondary characters were people of color); Rise of the Guardians (Bechdel Fail, no people of color); Wreck-it Ralph (Bechdel Pass, no people of color); Zero Dark Thirty (Bechdel Pass, one minor character and bad guys were people of color)

Films on other people’s lists that I haven’t seen: The Dark Knight Rises, The Amazing Spiderman, Snow White and the Huntsman, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, The Oranges, Moonrise Kingdom, Safety not Guaranteed, Take this Waltz, Life of Pi, Amour

What’s Up?

I cannot tell you how excited I am to be joining Freethought Blogs.  Interestingly enough, I was asked to join FtB exactly 2 years after I started blogging about skepticism and atheism.  I am a relatively new voice in this atheist/skeptic/oh-my-god-don’t-conflate-the-two blogosphere, though I have been blogging for 14 years.

Many of you know me, but some of you do not.  So hello!  I’m Ashley, there’s a bio over there that basically says I know too much about movies and talk a lot.  The thing that most people seem to find shocking about me is that I worked on Toddlers & Tiaras.  What else?  They should be bringing my archives over eventually, but my old site is http://ashleyfmiller.wordpress.com

Here is a list of things I love:

  • The World Cup
  • Karaoke
  • Baby Sea Turtles
  • Rainbows, Sparkles, Sparkly Rainbows, Rainbow Sparkles
  • Drag queens
  • Otters
  • Alan Rickman
  • Great White Sharks

Here is a list of things I hate:

  • Perfume
  • Allergies
  • Ron Paulians
  • The Heart is a Lonely Hunter
  • Everything
  • Dark Harbor
  • Kevin Costner

In summation:

 

Ashley’s 2010 top 10

Since I’ve just watched all of the Oscars out of some sort of masochistic impulse, I felt like I should do my top 10 list of the year.

1. I Love You, Phillip Morris

2. The King’s Speech

3. The Social Network

4. Waiting for Superman

5. How to Train Your Dragon

6. Black Swan

7. Harry Potter 7.1

8. The Karate Kid

9. Despicable Me

10. Freakonomics

Movies I still need to see:

Made in Dagenham, Casino Jack and the United States of Money, Red, Let Me In, Easy A, Tangled, Toy Story 3, Kick Ass, 127 Hours, True Grit, Winter’s Bone, Four Lions, Flipped, Never Let Me Go, Secretariat, Get Him to the Greek, The Runaways, Ramona and Beezus, Nanny McPhee Returns

Tron: Legacy: Where are all the women?

The Poster

I’m the first to admit that sexism and lack of reasonable representations of women in movies doesn’t always bother me, especially if the movie is entertaining otherwise.  The original Star Wars Trilogy, for example, didn’t pass the Bechdel test at all, but I still love them.  So, my extreme dislike of the movie Tron: Legacy is not just because it’s terrible at representing women, but also because it’s terrible generally.  It’s just that a lot of my inability to appreciate even the special effects and music comes from the ridiculous treatment of women in this film.

The Bechdel test, for those unfamiliar with it, is a very simple test about the representation of women in a movie.  Passing doesn’t mean a film isn’t sexist, but it is useful in showing how few films actually do the following:

1. Have at least two named female characters
2. Who talk to each other
3. About something other than a man

Fembot/Siren

Tron: Legacy passes the first one, and only just, having the characters of Quorra (Olivia Wilde) and Gem (Beau Garrett). All the other women in the film have names like “Siren #4″.  There is only one line in the entire movie spoken between two women and it is “He’s different,” spoken by fembots, excuse me, “Sirens” about a recently en-spandexed Sam Flynn (Garrett Hedlund).

What I don’t understand about this movie is that there are so many opportunities to put women into it, why couldn’t there be some in minor roles?  Why couldn’t they be in major roles?

Why couldn’t Sam have been a woman?  Would a story about Flynn’s daughter not have been equally compelling?  I think it could have only helped the film, and it would have been a much more original piece to have a young woman who refused to take up responsibility at her father’s company, than having yet another rich boy who won’t take up his father’s mantle.  The movie could have been exactly the same, but with a Samantha instead of a Samuel, it would have been much better and much more original.

But let’s accept for the moment that the world is just not ready for girl slackers even though it loves the infantilized Apatow boys, surely there could have been a woman in the real world that had an impact on Sam’s life, right?  Instead, the evil CEO and the young Encom programmer they set up as Sam’s rival, and then drop without a second thought, are both men, as is Sam’s only living mentor.  The security guard and police that chase him?  Men.  Even his dog is a boy.  As for his grandmother, she’s just dead, as is his mother — both of them unceremoniously dumped from the film for fear of encumbering it with nuances in the presentation of women.

Jeri Ellsworth: Real Life Awesome Programmer

But surely within the world of the computer there is room for females, right?  After all, there are women programmers, women love the internet, and within a computer it doesn’t really matter if you’re a man or a woman.  The freedom in the semi-anonymous enclave of the computer has been a source of great empowerment for women, surely the creators of the film would give a little something back to all the women who go to Comic Con.  Because women are actually a huge part of geek culture, and the last people who are going to trivialize women and make them into mere sexual toys are the nerds, right?

I have to admit that I was shocked at the fembots/sirens scene — it pulled me right out of the movie.  When Sam Flynn goes into the Grid world, he is immediately taken into a room with four super sexy women — the kind of ridiculous, hyper-sexed women I haven’t seen in a theater since Dude, Where’s my Car? — they strip him down and then dress him.  Why does this scene exist?  There is no new information given and surely they could have introduced Gem, who appears later, in a much less embarrassing way.

"First you give us the continuum transfunctioner, then we give you oral pleasure."

So then Sam goes to fight in the Neon Frisbee games, and all of his competitors are men, because hurling a frisbee is bad for female programs’ delicate sensibilities, and then he goes to talk to the evil Clu, who has a strictly XY inner circle.  I will refrain from complaining too much, because James Frain was brilliant and I love him, but is there any reason the major domo couldn’t have been a woman?  Or maybe the guards or people working on computers nearby could have been female.  Or just one person in the light cycle bike racing fight.

I find these heels incredibly practical for fighting and driving

When Quorra finally makes an appearance, it’s almost a relief to remember that non-fembot women are, in fact, allowed to be on screen.  Unfortunately, Quorra is a hyper-sexualized, wide-eyed, male fantasy.  She only wears skintight clothing, can fight and drive fast cars, but doesn’t know anything and needs men to teach her about the world and make decisions for her.  I love Olivia Wilde, but this character is embarrassing — after seeing how brilliant and nuanced she can be on House, it’s incredibly depressing to see her made into nothing more than fodder for fanboy fantasy.

At this point the film just gets dull and repetitive until we are reintroduced to the siren Gem, and meet Zeus, played to manic David Bowie extremes by Michael Sheen.  Once again, there is an opportunity here for a meaty secondary role to be given to a woman, and once again they give it to a man.  I love Michael Sheen, but what if Cate Blanchett or Tilda Swinton had had this role?  It would have meant giving lines to a woman who wasn’t a smoking hot 25 year old, I know.

Quorra gets injured and has to be saved by Flynn the elder.  And then she gets captured by Tron and has to be rescued by Flynn the younger.  And then there’s a chase scene in which she flies a plane, as directed by the men, and Flynn the younger shoots at people and Flynn the elder uses his magic godlike powers to fight Clu.  At the end our intrepid hero gets the girl and drives her around on the back of his bike, where women belong.

Why is it necessary to have this shot, and why am I sitting like this?

There were so many opportunities for this film to treat women as anything other than sexual objects and so many good reasons for it to have done so.  It’s very difficult for me, as someone who loves and identifies strongly with geek culture, to put up with the complete lack of reasonable female characters in almost every major release that is supposed to appeal to me.  This stuff isn’t hard and it doesn’t require that much thought, but of course the only female with a major role in the creation of the film was the woman who wrote the original screenplay to Tron 30 years ago.

Advice for 2010 Grads Coming to LA; 15 things

The Bitter Script Reader posted some advice about how to survive to move to LA.  I tried to comment over there and it won’t let me, but this is what I said.

1) Get settled so that you’re as comfortable as possible — living out of boxes makes everything seem transient. Have roommates or whatever, but make sure that you’ve got a space, however small, that is yours. Spend some time driving around the city and getting to know places. Find the studios. (Have a car!)

2) I really love Glendale, it’s safe and cheapish. Frogtown is super cheap. North Hollywood is becoming a lot safer, the parts closer to the 134 are totally fine for a single girl to live in.

2) I would say you probably need at least 7k in the bank before coming out here and at least two finished scripts and some outlines for more. Basically, you need enough money that you can go several months without making much money at all and enough written that if you’re too discombobulated to write, you’ve got something to work with. I applied for internships and jobs for 6 months before I moved out and it still took me 3 months to land a part time paid gig, though I did have an internship lined up.

3) Apply to every job you can find, do things for free, take an internship in the industry if you can afford it and then work at whatever you can in the rest of the time. It doesn’t matter if it’s an industry job, making contacts of all sorts is important, life experience, all that jazz. I’m not super social and I don’t like to drink, but working on other people’s projects is a great way to meet people and learn useful skills.

4) Find something else you can do in the industry besides writing. Can you edit? Can you gaff? Find a way to make yourself useful. Pursue every avenue. Learn to script supe, that’s easy and low impact.  Find something you like to do that isn’t writing.

5) A lot of people would say find a writing group. I personally am not in one, but I have a large group of friends who I can get advice from. Writing groups are pretty useful if you don’t have that.

6) Apply selectively to contests, but do apply. I’ve definitely gotten contacts from agents and managers and earned some street cred by placing in contests people had heard of.

7) Mandy.com, realitystaff.com, and craigslist are your new friends. I personally don’t really like the UTA job list, but it’s out there too.

8) Figure out a way to make your commute worthwhile. A voice recorder is great if you can think outloud for writing purposes. I listen to a lot of audiobooks.

9) Do things that have nothing to do with film because people who only talk about film are boring. Read books, magazines, go do stuff that’s got seriously zero to do with film and then you’ll have something interesting to talk about. The reason Hollywood loves young blood is because they have experience outside of the Hollywood system and they haven’t quite yet been turned into normal LA people who can only talk about themselves and movies.

10) Write genre scripts that can be produced cheaply if you’re really out to make a sell.

11) Don’t ever be a douchebag. Don’t have a temper. If you talk shit online, don’t use names.  (Unless revealing scam artists!)

12) Conversely, if you’re working for free, you have the right to be treated well and to learn something from the experience. Don’t be afraid of anyone. And don’t be afraid to speak up for yourself, just don’t be aggressive. Along these lines, know how much you should be getting paid, even if you’re not being paid that. This is useful info.

13) Be on the look out for scams. Not all competitions are worthwhile. Not all agents are legit. If someone asks you for money upfront to be your agent, that guy is a scam artist. (google Eddie Kritzer)

14) If you’re a lady writer with a girly name, I’d recommend using your initials. That sounds terrible, but there’s genuine gender bias out here and I’m super lucky that all the other Ashleys out here are guys. This is especially true if you’re replying to internet ad, because internet people are super creepy.

15) Give yourself deadlines so that you’re not constantly second guessing yourself and make sure they’re reasonable. I, for example, haven’t always been totally sure LA is the place for me, but I’m only allowed to seriously think about moving during the month of August. So I don’t dwell on it in general.

(I never had a problem with the tap water, don’t know what people are talking about)

Why I Write for Children; Why I love Children’s Media

Daniel Handler aka Lemony Snicket knows that children have the best appreciation for the imagination at work.

I’m not there because I subscribe to the specious and lunkheaded notion that children are unspoiled spouters of true wisdom. (Let’s mothball that idea, next to the one that African-Americans are inherently rhythmic and Latinas can’t be on the Supreme Court.) I’m merely looking for the most interesting conversationalists. If I could find an adult icebreaking with “Last night I dreamed I was a horse” or “Tree frogs have big eyes,” I’d drink with them instead.

SAM: The little man walking down the street and he doesn’t see a dinosaur walking by.  And he eats him.  *delighted cackle*

Simple, emotional, exactly as complicated as the story needs to be.  Go watch Sam.  He likes Stegosauruses.  Me too.

Natalie Dee

Natalie Dee

Stegosaurus Car

Stegosaurus Car

Busted Tees.  Never Forget Dinosaurs.

Busted Tees. Never Forget Dinosaurs.

100 Favorite Female Characters OnScreen

This was actually really hard.  I could shoot you off 100 dudes in no time, but I had to do a lot of IMDb surfing to find these.  So, who am I missing?

1. Abbey Bartlett, Stockard Channing (The West Wing)
2. Ainsley Hayes, Emily Procter (West Wing)
3. Anna, Jodie Foster (Anna and the King)
4. Anne Shirley, Megan Follows (Anne of Green Gables)
5. Annie Wilkes, Kathy Bates (Misery)
6. Ariel (The Little Mermaid)
7. Aurora (Sleeping Beauty)
8. Barbara Novak, Renee Zellweger (Down with Love)
9. Baroness, Anjelica Huston (Ever After)
10. Beatrix Kiddo, Uma Thurman (Kill Bill)
11. Belle (Beauty and the Beast)
12. Brenda, Bette Midler (First Wives Club)
13. Buffy, Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy)
14. Cady, Lindsay Lohan (Mean Girls)
15. Carrie, Sissy Spacek (Carrie)
16. Catwoman, Eartha Kitt (Batman)
17. Charlotte (Charlotte’s Web)
18. Cinderella, Lesley Ann Warren (Cinderella)
19. CJ Craig, Allison Janney (The West Wing)
20. Clarice Starling, Jodie Foster (The Silence of the Lambs)
21. Clarissa, Melissa Joan Hart (Clarissa Explains it All)
22. Cruella de Vil, Glenn Close (101/102 Dalmatians)
23. Danielle, Drew Barrymore (Ever After)
24. Debbie, Joan Cusack (Addams Family)
25. Eddie, Jennifer Saunders (Ab Fab)
26. Elena, Catherine Zeta Jones (Chicago)
27. Elise, Goldie Hawn (First Wives Club)
28. Elizabeth Bennett, Jennifer Ehle (Pride & Prejudice)
29. Elizabeth II, Helen Mirren (The Queen)
30. Elizabeth, Cate Blanchett (Elizabeth)
31. Elle, Reese Witherspoon (Legally Blonde)
32. Emily, Joan Cusack (In & Out)
33. Grace, Brenda Blethyn (Saving Grace)
34. Gracie Lou Freebush, Sandra Bullock (Miss Congeniality)
35. Gwen, Sigourney Weaver (Galaxy Quest)
36. Helen, Jamie Lee Curtis (True Lies)
37. Jane Tennison, Helen Mirren (Prime Suspect)
38. Jane, Susan Sarandon (Witches of Eastwick)
39. Jean Brodie, Maggie Smith (The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie)
40. Julia Child, Meryl Streep (Julie & Julie)
41. Karen, Megan Mullaly (Will & Grace)
42. Laine Hanson, Joan Allen (The Contender)
43. Lamia, Michelle Pfeiffer (Stardust)
44. Laurie, Jamie Lee Curtis (Halloween)
45. Leeloo Dallas Multipass, Milla Jovovich (5th Element)
46. Leontine, Fiona Shaw (Triumph of Love)
47. Lisa Cuddy, Lisa Edelstein (House)
48. Madeleine Kahn (Young Frankenstein, Blazing Saddles, History of the World Part 1)
49. Maleficent (Sleeping Beauty)
50. Marge, Frances McDormand (Fargo)
51. Marquise de Merteuil, Glenn Close (Dangerous Liaisons)
52. Mary Poppins, Julie Andrews (Mary Poppins)
53. Matilda, Mara Wilson (Matilda)
54. Matron Mama Morton, Queen Latifah (Chicago)
55. Melinda, Kristen Stewart (Speak)
56. Merryweather (Sleeping Beauty)
57. Mia Thermopolis, Anne Hathaway (Princess Diaries)
58. Mildred Hubble, Georgina Sherrington (The Worst Witch)
59. Miranda, Meryl Streep (Devil Wears Prada)
60. Miss Minchin, Eleanor Bron (A Little Princess)
61. Miss Perky, Allison Janney (10 Things I Hate About You)
62. Molly Weasley, Julie Waters (Harry Potter)
63. Morticia Addams, Anjelica Huston (Addams Family)
64. Mrs. Macbeth, Maureen Tierney (Scotland PA)
65. Mrs. Tingle, Helen Mirren (Teaching Mrs. Tingle)
66. Mrs. Wilkinson, Julie Waters (Billy Elliot)
67. Nina Garcia (Project Runway)
68. Ofelia, Ivana Baquero (Pan’s Labyrinth)
69. Patsy, Joanna Lumley (Absolutely Fabulous)
70. Pippi Longstocking (Pippi Longstocking)
71. Princess Leia, Carrie Fisher (Star Wars)
72. Princess, Mira Sorvino (Triumph of Love)
73. Principal, Joan Cusack (School of Rock)
74. Private Benjamin, Goldie Hawn (Private Benjamin)
75. Rainbow Brite (Rainbow Brite)
76. Raymond’s mother, Angela Lansbury (The Manchurian Candidate)
77. Ripley, Sigourney Weaver (Alien)
78. Sally, Catherine O’Hara (Nightmare Before Christmas)
79. Sally, Meg Ryan (When Harry Met Sally)
80. Samantha, Kim Cattrall (Sex and the City)
81. Sara Crewe, Liesel Matthews (A Little Princess)
82. Sarah, Jennifer Connolley (The Labyrinth)
83. Scarlett O’Hara, Vivien Leigh (Gone With the Wind)
84. Serafina Pekkala, Eva Green (The Golden Compass)
85. She-Ra (She-Ra)
86. Susan Stanton, Emma Thompson (Primary Colors)
87. Susan, Meryl Streep (Adaptation)
88. Terry, Joyce Hyser (Just one of the guys)
89. Tina Fey (Mean Girls, SNL, 30 Rock)
90. Tommy, Pam Ferris (Death to Smoochy)
91. Tracy Turnblad, Nikki Blonsky (Hairspray)
92. Velma Kelly, Catherine Zeta Jones (Chicago)
93. Veronica, Winona Rider (Heathers)
94. Victoria, Julie Andrews (Victor/Victoria)
95. Warden Walker, Sigourney Weaver (Holes)
96. Wednesday Addams, Christina Ricci (Addams Family)
97. Willow, Alyson Hannigan (Buffy)
98. Wonder Woman, Lynda Carter (Wonder Woman)
99. Xena, Lucy Lawless (Xena)
100. Yzma, Eartha Kitt (The Emperor’s New Groove)

Female Filmmakers; Women Directors

There’s an interesting article over at Film School Rejects which basically lists about a hundred films directed by women.  Now, I do appreciate that there are not very many women directors, or at least, not a lot of successful ones, but I do think that it’s useful to look at the entire field of filmmaking.  After all, directing is just one part of the puzzle — movies are written, edited, produced, and a million other things.  Even movies with leading females aren’t that common.  Statistics from San Diego State University.  Last Year (2008):

  • Only 6 of the top 50 grossing films (12 of the top 100 films) starred or were focused on women.
  • Women comprised 9% of all directors.
  • Women accounted for 12% of writers.
  • Women comprised 16% of all executive producers.
  • Women accounted for 23% of all producers.
  • Women accounted for 17% of all editors.
  • Women accounted for 25% of production managers.
  • Women comprised 44% of production supervisors.
  • Women accounted for 20% of all production designers working on the top 250 films.
  • Women comprised 5% of sound designers.
  • Women accounted for 5% of supervising sound editors working on the top 250 films.
  • Women comprised 1% of key grips.
  • Women accounted for 1% of gaffers working on the top 250 films of 2008.

Even film critics are overwhelmingly male:

In Fall 2007, men penned 70% and women 30% of all reviews.  Furthermore, of the newspapers featuring film reviews, 47% had no reviews written by women critics, writers or freelancers. In contrast, only 12% had no reviews written by men critics, writers or freelancers.

So what do I have to offer as a way to remedy this?  Not much.  There are some resources out there, but you usually have to pay money to join.  Or else they’re just not updated that often.

Go and be depressed now.

http://www.allianceofwomendirectors.org/

http://www.wif.org/

http://blog.moviesbywomen.com/

Roman Polanski; No Sympathy

It’s not OK to drug and rape children; sex with a child is rape.  People who admit to raping children and flee the country should be brought to justice.

http://jezebel.com/5369395/whoopi-on-roman-polanski-it-wasnt-rape+rape