Monday, May 24, 2010

The Robin Hoods

Went to see Robin Hood for the second time this weekend, have found that there is so much more understanding when a movie is no longer new, it is a trait my family thinks is rather odd- though they seem to listen to music over and over again- in their opinion, movies should be viewed only once. To me, it seems that not watching  a movie more then once, is sadly not appreciating the hard work and artistry that went in to making that movie. In fact, my desire Not to see a movie again is a pretty good indication that it must not of been a very good movie.
Robin Hood, in my opinion could of been better, it felt choppy- there were many subplots that I wished were set up better and played out more. For one, the Lost Boys of the Green Woods- what the movie opened setting up, really could of added a much more rich texture to the movie. Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchett, both good actors did the best they could, but there just wasn't a lot there for them, and a few scenes, while  I was watching them I really wonder why they were even in the movie, instead of the scenes building character I wished were. Example- why did they kill the king in a battle scene and set up for the bad guy to pursue him, when the king was already dead. Also same bad guy went looking for Robin in the beginning of the movie and really didn't try very hard to find him, until the very end.

On to the other Robin Hoods-

Working in the studio, I sometimes watch/listen to the BBC television series Robin Hood ( 2006) pretty  entertaining but sometimes a little bit far fetched- ( courtesy of Netflix's instant downloads)

Then there is Kevin Cosnter's Prince of Thieves, also right now on Netflix's instant download,  a movie that was not received well in 1991-but I think did better in slowly building up character then the new Robin Hood, I hate seeing Russell Crowe not have enought material to work with!

Sean Connery made a cameo appearence as King Richard in the very end of Prince of Thieves, but he also had played his own Robin Hood to Audrey Hepburn's Maid Marian...
although movie goers of 1976 had a hard time seeing James Bond in tights, which brings us to another Robin Hood that I personnal abhor, but the mere mention of it makes my friends giggle, Robin Hood: Men in Tights (1993)

My personal musing is more alined with  Disney's Robin Hood...(1973)
it could be it is etched in my brain because of continuous playing of it through the preschool era of my children. But from my childhood Robin Hood will always be...
Errol Flynn, with Olivia DeHavilland as his Maid Marian and Basil Rathbone, the ullitmate bad guy.
Although I enjoy all of these Robin Hood Tales- I wouldn't label any of them the Epic Robin Hood story- it still needs to be made!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Bike Movies

Since I spent my whole weekend working the 12 Hour of Mesa Verde bike race, I thought I would do a posting to all the great bike movies....and I can't remember many...going way way back-

There was Breaking Away in 1979 starring a very young and very tough Dennis Quaid and friends stuck in a small town in Indiana with not much to do but swim in the limestone quarry, get drunk and think about the futures they do not have, while one of the friends tries to get into the competative bike racing circuit and speak Italian. Okay, the illustrator in me is coming out...why is there no bike on the movie poster for a movie about bike racing?

American Flyers, with a much more telling illustration poster, came out 1985 starring Kevin Costner as a serious bike racer with a not so serious little brother and the whole family has a big problem. Most of the film centers on a big race, across much of the west, with some cool scenery.

Okay- I actually Googled for other movies in the main stream about biking, couldn't find any and can not think of one movie that centers on mountain biking let alone road biking.....hummmmmm, think I know what story I should be working on next! Can anybody else think of good biking movies?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Westerns...a reflection of their time

The Western is a movie genre with a set time period, say the 1800's and slightly into the 1900's, when people looked like this...

Or this...

But Western movies more reflect the time they are made like Gregory Peck and Charlton Heston in Big Country (1958).

Tall, quiet, well groomed, with clean faces and slicked back hair, wide tailored pants and dude ranch, yoked, snapped cowboy shirts, until sex and the 60's came along and taste changed to...

Big Valley (1965), the popular TV show staring Barbara Stanwyck , Lee Majors and a very young Linda Evens, pin up girl for a 60's blonde bombshell...
Of course the male heart throbs of the 60's - had their turn in the Western as well, it became common fair for the aging John Wayne to have a hunkish somewhat of a rebel side kick- complete with the slicked back hair, chip on his shoulder and of course the tight tight pants, my it must of been hard to get on a horse.

in fact you could catch Jim West's pants ripping, in TV's Wild Wild West, if you looked real close in the fight scenes. Please don't judge me, I was young.
Then on came the 70's and who would be the consummate Western persona of that decade other then Clint Eastwood and such movies as High Plains Drifter (1973).

I tried to watch that last night, it is truly a Western on acid. Not making a judgment on Eastwood, who directed as well, it just has the flavor of the era...very weird. In fact according to IMDB, Eastwood wrote John Wayne after the movie's release wanting to work with him and was surprised by the Dukes very condemming  response- here on
I really don't like the Westerns of the 70's- Cowboys too scruffy, women too slutty, too long of shots setting the mood, not enough dialogue, music is just weird.
I take that back, one of my favorites is the Frisco Kid (1979)

I liked Gene Wilder with all his crazy, cury hair and antics in the Frisco Kid (1979) but then he is a Rabi from Poland, Harrison Ford is the cowboy, actually outlaw, and the representative late 70's hunk, as I remember being twelve at the time. Think Ford's haircut is the same that it was in Star Wars, filmed two years sooner, hummm?

Can't think of a Western from the 80's?

Of course Eastwood came back to the Western in Unforgiven (1992) , again directing and his Western World is a little bit more accurate I think. No slicked hair, no over the top scruffy/slutty-ness.

And of course there is from my era, the best Westerns...

Legends of the Fall (1994),

Dances with Wolves(1990) - do not like that movie poster, I don't think it reflects the flavor of the movie.

Last of the Mohicans (1992), ok pre 1800's story.

And believe it or not, Kevin Costner's not so well received The Postman (1997) is really a Western...of the times.

I am waiting to see what flavor the Western will take on in the new milenium. Wasn't too impressed with 310 to Yuma (2007)...

It looked good, had Russell Crowe in it for peet sakes, but it broke the first rule of story writing, once you create your universe you are bound and dicated by the contraints of that univers. Read my disappointment in a previous post on my other blog Moonflower Musing.

Even though they are not popular at the moment and fading farther and farther in to some sort of  "mythology" the Western will always be one of my favorit genres. Here is hoping there are people in Hollywood who still love them and want to make them to be a reflection of the times they are made.

(Wikipedia source of most  movie poster, most movies available at Netflix and more info at

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Might be crap, but at least " It Is Finished"...

It is a weird sensation when a story, or even a  artwork is finished. As its creator, you realize there is nothing more you can put to it or change, it is complete.
It might be a masterpiece worth of an Academy Award or to be hung in the Getty, or it might be a pathetic attempt at something that will fade into oblivion, but least it is done!
When I illustrate, the birthing process is short, a month or two at the most, but writing- let's just say the light at the end of the tunnel was a little bit farther away.
Last night I finished a second draft of my screenplay I have been working on for...first draft was dated 2002 and submitted it electronically to the Nicholl Fellowhip, along with I think 5,000 and some other hopefuls.
But the great odds don't matter right now, because IT IS FINISHED!! I cannot think of one way to change it anymore and what is so exciting is to move on to another story, am deciding between about three that have resided in my head far too long and shouldn't take eight years to be born- whether they will be  masterpieces or.... just crap, who can say!