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On this episode, Jenna Ipcar and I are joined by Rick Harper, producer and director of the upcoming documentary on the cult film The Room, Room Full of Spoons. We discuss both films, his personal experiences with Tommy Wiseau and Greg Sestero, and answer some questions from mailbag. This episode also contains a free DVD giveaway, so be sure to listen! Five lucky listeners will each win a DVD of The Room. The instructions on how to win are in the episode.
If you have a movie-related question you’d like answered on the show, leave it in the comments or email us at Podcast@SmugFilm.com.
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Movie Stuff Referenced in this Episode:
Continue reading Smug Film Podcast Episode #5 – Rick Harper / The Room / Room Full of Spoons (5/5/14)
There’s a great little story about how on the set of E.T., Spielberg slowly unwrapped a toy off camera to illicit a reaction from the young actor playing Elliott. I’ve always thought this story was a great way to explain how a filmmaker should approach exposition. Exposition is the easiest, most fun, and most misunderstood part of storytelling. But filmic exposition is generally stupid, because people are afraid of it.
Somebody once asked me, about my 50/50 Rule, “When making a movie, would you pay extra special attention to how it starts, since you lose interest in so many movies so fast?” The answer is decidedly no, because every frame of a movie is sacred and equally important. If you treat your entire movie like that, then you don’t need to spend extra attention to any one part of it. Exposition is too often just underestimated as something that has to be blown through in order to get to the fun stuff. To counteract this, the indies have bloated their exposition with way too much visual minutiae. You can build a ‘stark’, ‘oblique’, ‘atmospheric’ world with your story—you don’t need shots that hold too long on a girl as she wistfully puts on makeup.
Jurassic Park is my favorite exercise in exposition, and in a way, the entire movie is exposition.
Continue reading On Exposition
The late, great Ray Harryhausen. (1920-2013)
When I was a little kid my grandpa showed me King Kong, the 1933 one. King Kong doesn’t look real, but it looks good, because it looks right. Looking ‘right’ is the key.
Special effects are perhaps film’s biggest point of separation from the other arts. In literature, if you want a monster in your story, you just describe it. But a movie has to convince you what you’re looking at is real, even when you’re looking at the most not real things humans can dream up. This takes a perfect synthesis of human imagination, technology, and innovation.
Continue reading Special Effects: Why They Look Right When They Look Right
Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988)
This time of year always gets me thinking about horror flicks, and there certainly are a lot of them to think about. They’ve been around as long as film itself, and despite evidence to the contrary, they still make horror films today! Whether the ones of today are actually any worse than they used to be is hard to say through the haze of nostalgia, but it is inevitably the American horror films of the 70’s and 80’s that I gravitate to—the films of my childhood. And none fascinate me more so than the Halloween series.
Continue reading Halloween 4, 5, 6: The Most Fascinating and Flawed Trilogy in Film History
A Huey P. Newton Story (2001)
It’s sort of hard to remember now how difficult it used to be to watch movies. You, like I, may have foggy memories of a bygone era when you had to go to movies, or work around their timetables on TV, or cruise through seedy rental houses. But the bad old days are over and I for one have no nostalgia. We’re blessed. Hell, I have a hard drive that just a few years ago would’ve probably been one of the most impressive rare film archives in the state. Our access to previously unavailable or underavailable films is dizzying.
Ubu, The Internet Archive, Dailymotion, The Warner Archive. Use ’em all, love ’em all. But the king of the mountain is still YouTube. There are untold thousands of rare film on YouTube. Let’s check a few out:
Continue reading 10 Great YouTube Movies You May Not Have Seen