theexitisontheleft ASKED:

If asked, would you direct a TV episode or season (like Criminal Minds, ER or even a sitcom for example) or would you be faithful to film?

The easy answer is that “it depends.” I think that today’s television contains the best writing in the business, especially the output of the cable networks and the BBC (“Luther” and “Wallander” are superb, both from a technical and writing standpoint). In television we’re allowed to take characters on interesting journeys because we have the benefit of a pilot episode that gives us origins and backstories, and then we can go wild from there.

Every filmmaker dreams of that amazing opportunity to do an HBO/ Showtime series, where censorship and ad revenue are not a concern, and budgets tend to be more robust. If I had an opportunity to direct an episode of “The Wire” when it was airing or “Breaking Bad” I’d jump on it.

But this is where I have to be absolutely truthful, in that I’m partial to the feature film format. I’ve always loved the idea of building a world from scratch, and making it a complete capsule of a time and era. Feature films also allow me the opportunity to really put craft into each shot, whereas television is more about productivity, volume and delivery, and the narrative takes absolute precedence over any kind of cinematographic or aural flair. In feature film, everything is of equal importance and gets equal emphasis. In my mind, at least.

I also have a theory about what direction television is moving in, and of course this doesn’t apply to every television show but I’m finding it more and more prevalent. With the downfall of the daytime soap operas (General Hospital / Young and the Restless in the US, EastEnders / Coronation Street/ Brookside in the UK, Neighbours / Home and Away in Australia, etc.), much of television is filling that void by creating “high concept soaps.” These are shows that focus almost entirely on relationship dynamics but place them in incredibly bizarre circumstances. I think of “True Blood” essentially as “Days of Our Lives” with a lot of blood and fucking. Same thing with “Spartacus,” “The Borgias.” “The Tudors.” These shows all start out interesting because of the concept but become ever more “relationshippy” as writers work out different combinations of leads - they fall in love, fuck, and move on to the next character. All with amazing production values.

I used to watch this for the stories…and Nicola Charles.

Thing is, I’m not a big fan of soap operas, and if I had an opportunity to do a major television show my nature is to go far off the beaten path and really try something new. Not long ago I was watching the Tarantino-directed episode of ‘CSI’ (which was excellent), and I wondered what I would do if handed the opportunity to direct an episode. After thinking long and hard, I thought of an episode which focused on the CSI staff on their days off, doing mundane shit like going to the grocery store, buying a new television, getting an oil change, etc. and showing how they inadvertently apply their CSI skills to those tasks. Very black humor, almost disturbing, a commentary on how their work defines them to an absurd extent. Somehow I don’t think that would fly, but my friend keeps telling me that I need to write that spec script and submit it.

I’ve written television bibles before and it’s a hell of an undertaking, and everything I write tends to be rooted in more cinematic origins, which means those television projects require more money and creative freedom. With television you never know, but it also responds to trends more than film. If you have one successful cop show, you’ll spawn ten copycats. For every successful ER there’s twenty other emergency room dramas, but with that one, teeny tiny difference. Sometimes there’s no difference at all, it’s just being opportunistic.

'Modern Family' vs 'The New Normal' - can you tell the difference?

So long answer short, I would do a television show if it allowed me to be faithful to film. That answer works because I can’t do a film and be faithful to television, right?

5-star Review: Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 2

For my 5-star review of part one, click here.

So at the end of Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2 I kept thinking to myself what an absolutely amazing film it was, complete with jaw-dropping performances, painterly cinematography, and a thoughtful and clever script that belongs with some of the greatest pop-confection screenplays that’s ever been written in the past decade. I marveled in the film’s exquisite direction, its fleshed out characters and how the filmmakers really covered all the bases of the origins and physiology of both the vampires and shapeshifters. I was reminded of the paean tribute to pure love, that love indeed does conquer all and above everything else it is the central source for the energy of life.


Really? Seriously? In fourth grade I wrote a story for English class about Thanksgiving. It featured a turkey that was being hunted down by a farmer with a shotgun. The farmer cornered the turkey in a thicket and prepared to blast the turkey into fucking oblivion when - in a genius move according to my idiotic eight year-old brain - the turkey woke up AND IT WAS ALL JUST A FUCKING DREAM. I even drew a picture in crayon of a turkey with a gun in its face and it was sweating bullets. I was really proud of that shit. Like I’d just written Finnegans Wake or something. A week later I got my story back from my teacher with a big fat fucking ‘C-’ emblazoned across it with a final note from my teacher saying ‘you can do better than that.’ That’s all I kept thinking about after watching a guy who’s supposed to control the elements punch a fucking hole in the Earth down to the magma.

If anything, Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2 is a devastating magnifying glass into the failure of the global educational system, in its inability to impart rational thought and logic in our prefrontal cortexes. The beauty of any fiction is for us to suspend belief in something really new, but then when a story fails even its own batshit crazy ideas, that’s an entirely new and epic level of stupidity.

Hey, I can run faster than the speed of fucking light, so, I dunno, let me just jump into my Volvo and drive all the fucking way to Seattle to have dinner with Bunk from ‘The Wire.’ Yeah, that makes total sense! Or hey, I just delivered a genetic abomination that pretty much killed me, my father who inexplicably still loves me thinks I’m dead, and the first thing that comes to my mind is let me rip the throat out of a fucking mountain lion who was probably just trying to feed her cubs. Oh and then I’ll have sex with my douchebag husband who knocked me up and pretty much is the reason why I’m walking dead in the first place. Shheeeit - my newborn and my dad can wait until I knock out a few orgasms and yell horrible shit at the wolves who saved my bony ass in the last movie. That’s gratitude for ya, Bella Swan! FUCK YOU.

But here’s the point in my review where I’m man enough to make an admission, which is that in my review of Part 1, I called the Cullens a racist piece of shit family for killing the one black vampire in the universe. I was wrong. Apparently there are other black and minority vampires in the world, easily made apparent by, oh, the motherfucking Amazonian women wearing nothing but feathers and leaves and the Mayan vampires who, despite living for 115 years, have yet to discover a pair of Levis jeans and Gisele Bundchen flip flops. And oh! That vampire MUST be Irish because I dunno, he’s a big pasty white guy with red hair and he wears a knit beret! Yeah! Aye, lassie! Hooray for vampire diversity! FUCK YOU TWILIGHT THIS ISN’T ‘BIRTH OF A NATION.’

Kiss me I’m Irish, if you couldn’t tell.

The Cullens also represent that weird demographic of rich people who decide to have wine, s’mores and monkey sex while the most evil, heinous group of attackers are bearing down to kill a small child. It’s akin to having an Arby’s beef-n-cheddar while the INS raids your home and deports your family. But mm mm - that Arby’s is sure is delicious! And what in the flying fuck took the Volturi so long to get to the Cullen compound? I mean, they run at the speed of light and shit, right? Did they also drive Volvos across the Atlantic Ocean? And why are they all dressed like extras from an unmade made-for-tv version of ‘Phantom of the Opera?’ Wouldn’t they be best served by using their bottomless pits of money to hire a team of attorneys to have the Cullens imprisoned for money laundering, pedophilia AND necrophilia? There isn’t a magical vampire power in the world to defend yourself from the legal team of Bryan “Bulldog” Moore.

I’d like to see you throw a shield up against this rabid asshole, Bella Swan.

'Twilight' also introduced me to a powerful new writing tool, which I'd like to affectionately call 'Have Any Shit Conveniently Come Out of the Fucking Forest to Fill a Plot Hole,' or HASCCOFFFPH for short. Trying to get Alice and Jasper back into the story in a convenient way? Just have them walk out of the fucking forest. Need a Mayan to tie up a convenient battle that never happened? Just have him walk out of a fucking forest. Need a catalyst to see a child and not bother to ask any questions, thereby triggering the weakest motivation for war ever conceived since weapons of mass destruction in Iraq? Just have that idiot appear at the edge of the fucking forest. This is such an unequivocal, studio-approved writing convention and I'm all the better for it. Need to resolve a conflict between two warring alien races on Mars? Just have the love child of both warring sides walk out of a fucking forest. BUT IT HAS TO BE A MARTIAN FOREST. We can't afford to be sloppy here.

Conveniently walking out of the fucking theater, I couldn’t help but think that we deserve the ‘Twilight’ film franchise. It’s a product of our collective desire to shuck crap at the lowest common denominator and somehow pass it as a “guilty pleasure.” Twilight isn’t a guilty pleasure, it’s a series of snuff films documenting the live assassination of our sense of dignity. As before, its role as a harbinger of our impending doom makes it one of the most important and critical documents of the decline of human civilization, and it must be treasured and lauded for its sheer ambition to destroy all living life forms. The Twilight franchise is therefore our generation’s Rosetta Stone, a codex necro for a new way of thinking, which is to not think a goddamned thing at all. And for that alone, it belongs in the canon of the most important films ever made. Weird fucking CGI baby and all. Five more golden, sparkly fucking stars.

Sssoo c-cold…