Thursday, 5 April 2012

Blockbuster Video

I went into a Blockbuster today. To be honest, I didn't know they still existed. This place was a relic!

But it was a nice feeling to casually glance at DVDs, get a feel for them based on the cover, and try to find greatness among the turd.

I think that's what we miss in the digital age. Half the fun was going to the store. It's the same with the record shop and in many ways it's the same with the cinema. It's nice to have a place to go. It's funny because yesterday I got that feeling when I was in a betting shop. I gambled on a few horses, chatted to a few people, and the staff even made me a cup of tea. Such a simple thing but you get a feeling of belonging.

But I'd rather it be the DVD store than the bookies. I also went into a cinema today, just because it was there to check out while I was waiting for a friend (if I'd known how late she would be I could possibly have gone to see The Hunger Games and all the sequels they haven't made yet). I loved the popcorn smell! The Odeon popcorn smell. Took me right back to the 90's!

Why do Blockbuster still exist? The business model is dead and last I heard I was told they were in tons of debt. I remember buying a bunch of DVDs from a Blockbuster in Brooklyn, NY, on their closing day, and the manager said the company would be dead in a year. That was four years ago.

Now they sell even more popcorn and chocolate bars, and phone accessories! Anything to stay alive. I guess the video game rentals are still pretty big.

Anyway, it was nice to walk around the video store. The experience is becoming increasingly rare. I miss it, because I think we actually need the rental places, they have a magic that can't be duplicated on Netflix. But it's gone now.

Care to share?

Playing The Card

So you got Todd Phillips email address. Or you found Kristen Stewart's Facebook account. What do you do next?

You want advice, or you want them to cast you, or watch your film.

My advice is: be careful how you play that card.

These people get harassed all the time by wannabes, and you don't want to be a wannabe.

Thing is, you're certain you're ready, it's time for the big break. But then you remember five years ago when you were certain you were ready, and you sent Danny Boyle your terrible screenplay. Years later you really really wish you hadn't.

If your brother is Juliet Taylor's cleaner, or your best friend is a hacker who got Scott Rudin's email address, then good for you, it's great to feel like the people you admire are within touching distance.

But remember they don't know you. They don't owe you anything. And tons of other people send them headshots and screenplays, promising them "watch my stuff, I think you'll like it as you're a big influence!"

It may work. It happens. But just think about what you're doing. Do you really want to approach them now? People have a tendency to harrass successful people about seven years before they're any good, and the result is forcing Eli Attie or Kevin Williamson to sit through your agonizing short film. The problem? Five years later when you really have something good, they won't be interested!

This came up today when an actor I met said he was thinking about getting his friend from a famous British comedy to do a few comedy sketches with him. My advice was, well, that's great. But you might not want to play that card yet!

Care to share?

TUPAC SHAKUR's Lasting Legacy

I wonder what his music would be like if he was still recording. Hard to think about, partly because he seemed to release more material after death than when he was alive anyway. Strange how things go when artists die, the loss and incompleteness somehow turns into a full story, as if it was meant to be.

That's a horrible thing to say really. But there was something poetic about the short lives of Jeff Buckley, Ayrton Senna, Bill Hicks. Maybe that's just what we tell ourselves to make sense of it all. Certainly, it doesn't happen every time. The recent losses of Winehouse, Houston and Michael Jackson just seem messy and confusing, the worrying effects of excess and fame and lifestyle choices.

Tupac left a profoundly moving and beautiful legacy. It's impossible to box him as one thing. He was an artist; a rapper, a poet, an activist, a criminal. He treated women awfully and he treated women wonderfully. Just listen to 'Dear Mama'.

The greats are always a giant paradox. He was a bad role model, yet a fantastic role model. He gave voice to the unvoiced. He shared stories that the mainstream had never heard before.

And he still resonates.

What does the average person think when they think of Tupac? Maybe it's guns and crime and all the worst black stereotypes. But you have to listen, REALLY LISTEN to the music. The sweetness, softness, tenderness; it lives and breaths as much as he did, and it's more than fifteen years since he left us.

He cared about the world, he cared about his community, yet he partook in the darker parts of it. That may have made him a bad person to the media and police, but you can't deny that it made him AN ARTIST. He was IN IT. He lived it. You don't write 'Brenda's Got a Baby' without caring about the society you're in. You don't write 'Life Goes On' without having a giant care for the lives of those around you.

Was he perfect? No. Was he a bad guy? Probably. But was he also fantastic? Indisputably.

His influence has inspired a lot of crap, it has to be said. It's like "Jaws", people kept making films with big monsters but forgot to have the guys sitting around talking about the Indianapolis. People hang on to the wrong things.

Whether it's Spielberg's "Jaws" or Tupac with "I Wonder if Heaven's Got Ghetto", the important thing is the story. Tupac's story is an important one to hear.

Care to share?

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

The Exact Day

Maybe it's because I was in a new town. It could have just been my idealised and over romanticised view of the place. But everyone was so young, so carefree. The sun was shining and the teenagers were all hanging out in their Ramones t-shirts, with their ice creams, and it hit me like a rock: I am not that young anymore.

I walked through the park, and these kids had stolen their friend's shoe. He refused to get off the slide until he got it back. They were laughing and playing and teasing, so carefree and alive. That used to be us!

You think you're youthful and you think you're still a kid but then one day you realize you're just a passer by, an adult, and you feel a jolt of jealousy as you see people living their younger days.

When was the day it ended? When did I get too old to hide my friends shoes? When did we stop hanging out in the park as the sun came down in our favourite band's t-shirts?

This is not a passing thought. I want to know the exact day. When did it end? When did we get older? When did we mature? And what were the benefits of doing so?

Occasionally you do something stupid or crazy, and your friends give you that look, they say "we're not kids anymore" and it wrecks you, because you feel stupid. You acted in a way that doesn't exist anymore. The day came when flicking a piece of screwed up paper at someone's head just became darn stupidity.

When you're young, you're IN IT! Remember the looks the girls gave you? Remember the things you set fire to and the speed at which you screamed down the road to safety?

It ended, and I want to know exactly when. Does anyone know?

Care to share?

Monday, 2 April 2012


This is why I wake up in the morning! This is why I breath. YES!!! Aaron Sorkin is BACK! Greg Mottola is BACK! Here is the trailer to the eagerly anticipated show, THE NEWSROOM.

Just over a year ago I wrote this post, because I was just so ridiculously excited. And then I interviewed Greg Mottola, because there was just too much I needed to know about the new show.


Teaming up with:


Am I excited?

No not really.

Actually, YES. Of course I am! YES YES YES YES! SORKIN & MOTTOLA!

Say it with me...


Here we go. Get ready. YES YES YES.

And just look at Jeff Daniels. WOW! He's waited a lifetime for this role! FANTASTIC! The cast are perfect. This is going to be something.

Care to share?