A Sure-Fire Movie Formula

You need some Characters:
 There is a bad guy and a good guy. The good guy isn’t perfect, but he’s not as bad as the bad guy, who actually has some good qualities and may articulate his point of view very clearly just before killing his victim.
Everything that can go wrong for the good guy does go wrong. His situation is hopeless…and he’s angry. If the good guy is a cop he never ever calls for backup. The good guy has a wife, girl friend and/or kid that the bad guy will take hostage later on.
If the good guy’s a cop he can be a recovering alcoholic, but maybe he’s not recovering. In any case, his wife and/or girl friend can’t deal with him, and his bosses, while they may secretly admire his results, do not like the way he gets them. He’s very probably a loose cannon. At least one associate cop can’t stand him and they’re in constant conflict. We see that the associate cop would love to get something on the good guy. As mentioned above, The good guy has a kid just waiting to be taken hostage by a bad guy.
Somewhere an expendable (read ‘asset’ if the good guy is connected to the CIA), has to be facing the camera in close up while waiting to be struck down from behind by an assailant he/she didn’t see coming, preferably when he just learns something that may help the good guy.
The good guy has an acquaintance. He’s a whacko computer nerd who can hack any computer in the world, or alternatively he’s a whacko weapons freak who has in his closet enough weaponry to start WWIII. The key word here is that he’s a Whacko.
The real surprise bad guy turns out to be the good guy’s closest friend/mentor/boss/associate, someone who is completely above suspicion until the end.
In the end, the real bad guy gets the good guy cold and his finger is tightening on the trigger (cut to trigger) and we hear the shot, but then the camera pulls back and see that the cop who never liked the good guy has come up behind the real bad guy and nails him just in the nick of time.
You need Locations:
There has to be an abandoned factory for a hair-raising cat-and-mouse game between bad guy(s) and good guy. If you have a Terminator budget you can use an operating factory, but for everyone else, abandoned factory is the way to go. This is also where the gang always meets, where they take people to beat and/or kill them, brutalize women, and where the good guy inevitably ends up, alone of course.
There absolutely has to be at least one scene on, around and/or under one of the downtown LA bridges and/or in the usually dry riverbed below. Maybe there’s something in the Los Angeles City Charter making this mandatory. This holds good even for big budget movies like the Terminator franchise, so it cannot be overlooked.
And The Conclusion:
In a bittersweet ending the good guy and his hostage are reunited. All is forgiven and he has been vindicated and justice has been served. We however, have not been served; we have been taken. (Again.)

Film Talk

                                                                                                                                                                                ImageEven if you’ve never seen “Gone with the Wind” (maybe you’ve been kept prisoner for seventy-odd years in an oubliette beneath a crumbling French castle), you’ve certainly heard that Clark Gable line: “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn!”

I know you recognize: “Go ahead, make my day,” uttered by Clint Eastwood in “Sudden Impact”. And of course, “I’ll be back.” Mr. Schwarzenegger has said it so many times even Bruce Willis told him to give it a rest in “Expendables 2”.

These are indeed memorable, and so well-known that most people do remember them, and the movies were memorable as well.

But we all have certain lines that stay with us. Here are some others, some from really good movies and some from movies that should never have been made, but good or bad, a few lines just stand out, at least to me.

“We’re going back to the tick tock and get the boo boo.” (Sen. Fred Thompson, “Baby’s Day Out” 1994) (My personal favorite.)

“I’m walking here! I’m walking here!” (Dustin Hoffman, “Midnight Cowboy” 1969)

“What we’ve got here is a failure to communicate.” (Strother Martin, “Cool Hand Luke 1967)

“Nobody leaves this place without singing the blues.” (Albert Collins, “Adventures in Babysitting”1987)

“I’ll have what she’s having.” (Estelle Reiner, “When Harry met Sally”1989)

“You had me at hello.” (Renée Zellweiger, “Jerry Maguire” 1996)

“The Duck of Death,” (Gene Hackman, “Unforgiven” 1992)

“I saw everything!” (Peter McNichol, “Dracula: Dead and Loving It” 1995)

“—  Eye-ventory.” Strother Martin, “Fools’ Parade”1971)

“Yeah, well right now Sister Lyda’s ass is dragging.” (Kim Novak, “The Great Bank Robbery”1969)

“Don’t say sir to me. I’m a sergeant. I work for a living.” (Warren Oates, “Stripes”1981)

“After all…tomorrow is another day.” Vivien Leigh “Gone with the Wind”1939)

“I never was no good at sharing.” (George Kennedy, “Fools’ Parade”, 1971)

“The, uh, stuff dreams are made of.” (Humphrey Bogart, “The Maltese Falcon” 1941)

I’m sure there are others that will come to mind from time to time, so this list is undoubtedly far from complete. I realize some of these lines may not appeal to everyone, and everyone probably has his/her own favorites, so this is of necessity very subjective.

If you have any favorites, insert them into a comment along with the details, i.e. title, speaker, date, etc. Thanks.

Famous Cowboys (And the Horses they rode in on)

Below are some famous cowboys, but I’ve mixed up the names of their horses. Can you straighten this out?

Answers below in the comments section.

Tom Mix :  White Flash

Lucky Luke : Silver

Gene Autry : Trigger

Buck Jones : Topper

Tex Ritter: Champion

Roy Rogers : Silver

Tex Ritter : Jolly Jumper

Hopalong Cassidy : Silver

The Lone Ranger : Tony

The First Street Bridge

In Los Angeles there’s a bridge. It has the colorful name of First Street Bridge. Nothing spectacular really, just a concrete bridge crossing over the (usually) dry Los Angeles River. If you’ve ever been to Los Angeles, I doubt this bridge was high on your go-see list. It’s not likely to turn up in travel brochures and I can’t remember anyone ever saying: “When you get to LA be sure to go see The First Street Bridge.”
But even if you’ve never visited Los Angeles, it’s almost certain that you’ve seen this bridge, or one just like it; there are others. You’ve seen it in countless movies and you’ve seen it in countless commercials for automobiles and such. You’ve seen it from the top. You’ve seen it from both sides, from underneath, from one end and from the other end. You’ll see it in about every fifth movie that emanates from Hollywood. The action takes place on the bridge and then they drive under the bridge and then you see the bridge in the background and then they’re back underneath or on top of it. Bridge bridge bridge, ad nauseam. But why?
What is the Hollywood fascination with this bridge you ask? I have absolutely no idea. Many other cities have much more interesting bridges. But no need to go out of town. Some budget-conscious producer is said have to opined: “A tree’s a tree. A rock’s a rock. Shoot it in Griffith Park.”
But the question in my mind is not why Hollywood is so stuck on that particular bridge, nor why the production companies hesitate to go on location if they need a bridge. After all, they often go on location for any of a number of reasons. Often it’s because they can film more cheaply in some Canadian town than at home in Hollywood.
But all that is moot. My question is: Why do they use a bridge at all? In my recollection there has never been one cogent plot reason to bring the bridge into any of these films.
Okay, in Terminator 3, John Conner dropped an empty beer bottle from it, where it landed on humanoid skulls below, but he could’ve thrown the bottle into the Pacific at Santa Monica just as well.
This little tirade isn’t exactly to complain about the use of this (these) poor overworked bridge(s). When Dirty Harry wasn’t sure how many slugs he had left in his .357, the bank robber said: “I has to know.” Well, I’m like that bank robber; I have to know. Every time I see the Bridge Scene it hits me all over again: Why? What is Hollywood’s fascination with action on a bridge over a dry riverbed?
And don’t even get me started on the Third Street Tunnel. That’s the one Hollywood stretches out to about ten miles.
Maybe nobody knows the answer to all this, but one thing I know: if the bridges ever go, Hollywood may be next.

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