"Nova" submitted, last-minute changes, and a brief history.

After the past month or so trying to squeak it past the submission guidelines, I finally turned "Nova" in to the [lately] oft-mentioned screenwriting competition that was recommended to me by a friend. There's still quite a bit of time until any sort of judging happens, and naturally, I'll keep updating this space whenever I find out something new, but for the moment at least, it is out of my hands. Which after the past twenty-four/forty-eight hours or so, is a bit of a relief.

The reason that I came in so close to the deadline with my submission was because I was waiting on some feedback from someone who I really trust -- someone with a good eye, and a real knack for editing, and while I knew it'd put me in a crunch waiting, I also knew the work would be better if I had their input. As final notes go, there wasn't as much as I expected, and most were easy-fixes, but there was one big thing that I initially didn't think I could do much about. And then I changed my mind, and at least five pages of the script.

To better explain, I suppose a little history lesson is needed. About ten months ago, while working on a feature length screenplay [re: Trendsetter], my Dad died. This derailed work on Trendsetter pretty badly, partly because so much of it was about individual happiness and personal relationships, not to mention the future, which was just not what was on my mind at the time. I wasn't even sure if I had it in me to keep writing, so I just tried not to force anything, and did my best to be content with anything I produced -- in this case, mostly short screenplays, which were either about my grief, or just fun attempts to try and make myself feel better. The first half of "Nova" was one of these shorts.

Now, I won't say that "Nova" isn't me dealing with some of my grief, but if you'd asked me at the time, I'd have placed it more in the category of something that would make me feel better, something safe, and funny, and sort of comfortable for me to work on. I didn't take as much care as I usually do to cover up my influences, and there was some Smith, some Tarantino, some Wright, and some Romero in it -- and by some, I mean a whole lot, to a degree that I might normally consider embarrassing. But it sort of worked, it was sort of compelling, and they did feel [at least to me] more like influences, and not direct rips from any particular thing. And as I worked through draft after draft [and there have been a lot of them] this disappeared, to the point that I think you could read "Nova" and say "oh, he must like this" or "I bet he's a fan of this" but not necessarily consider the work derivative.

But, I still had the damn thing set in a video store.

I thought that was a conscious choice on my part, not because I was a Smith fan, and not because I liked Clerks so well [though I do], but because I wanted some place that was dying, that was sort of going out of business, something that was almost an anachronism -- and some place where I could have a specific sort of interaction between two people happen. There's also something about a video store that reminds me of Dad, and all those times we'd bounce between the four or so different stores on the river, looking for deals, tapes for sale, or just the second sequel in a series to round out a movie marathon. Because even if they have Beastmaster 3, it doesn't mean they have Beastmaster 2.

It's possible the decision wasn't as intentional as I remember it being though, as again, when I was writing "Nova" and the other shorts, a lot of what was going into them were things that made me comfortable, things I liked, and I've always enjoyed Smith, and have even credited him as one of the reasons I started really writing. And in my earliest comics, almost all my settings seemed to come straight out of the Jersey trilogy. So it's possible that's what this was, and... well, you can't be influenced by Kevin Smith and set a movie in a video store without the whole thing just feeling derivative. Even if you were, say, the best fantasy writer in the world, if you called your mythical land "Center Earth" or "Barnia" you'd be hard pressed to be taken seriously.

So, way past the time I had intended to submit it, I decided the video store in "Nova" had to go.

It actually wasn't the first time. In the now lost original severe cut of "Nova," I stuck the protagonists in low-rent alley-view apartments, eliminating the store entirely. It botched the pacing I was going for, and I was never entirely pleased with it, but if we'd needed to cut ten minutes [I can't believe that scene used to be so long] and a location out of the film, the store could very easily go without hurting the overall story. But that version is still missing, and since I was submitting this, I wanted the pacing to stay strong, so I knew I had to substitute View and ReView Video for a new location. And I'll admit, I was actually kind of surprised, because it only took a few hours to turn my video store into a dive bar [note: This is actually misleading, as it really just concerns the aesthetic change -- renaming the locations in the scene headings, and describing the new places for the reader/filmmaker. A lot of in-story continuity issues took longer to smooth out].

The few people I've discussed it with felt it was a positive change. It's left me questioning just how important setting is in screenwriting, and I have a feeling whatever I work on next I'll be asking myself that a lot. Probably in an unhealthy, obsessive way. But for right now, under this deadline, I have to admit I'm pleased with what I have. And I'm very thankful for everyone who've helped me along the way [I'm sorry for not naming names and doing up links -- I'm honestly really tired, and worried I might offend someone if I left them out by accident. Just know that if you put in the time, I'm so grateful].

You know, I haven't really said this to anyone, but when "Nova" stalled before Kyle and I could start looking for funding, and with pre-production so close, I was actually pretty disappointed. Maybe it couldn't be helped, but I'd spent so much time [and so much time since then] working on this script, living in this world, that I was really getting to a place where I could see this being put to film. In a way, however, the stall-out was a blessing [though I hate that word], because had we actually taken steps to put "Nova" into production, I wouldn't have been able to submit it now. And even if nothing more comes of it than all these sleepless nights and losing my entrance fee, as a writer I found it quite the experience. Especially since, with the kinds of things that I write, I don't often get to submit work.

But, as I said before, it's out of my hands now.

Quietly, he mentions his hiatus.

Bit odd for me, to go over a week without posting. I'm not sure. I don't think it's happened since that week I stayed with Kyle, and started using Twitter with any real frequency.

I don't have a great deal in the way of updates on writing or work. "Nova" is still pretty much done, still at 25 pages. Done with rewrites, I just pull it up every now and again to read, check. Make sure everything is polished and perfect. I was going to submit it over the weekend, but I just decided to hold off, use the last couple of days to go over it, talk to some people about it. If you've helped, if you've even offered to help, thank you. So much.

I'm sorry I haven't talked about what all this is for. I am submitting "Nova" someplace, but beyond that I don't feel comfortable saying what or where. I don't know if there are any rules against this, talking too much about the work, or where I'm sending it, so I'm just not going to risk anything. I'll probably talk about it at greater length later, especially if it looks to be panning out. Honestly, and you can call this superstition, or melodrama, I'm starting to feel a little like this space is becoming an idea graveyard -- any project I spend anytime talking about tends to just linger here and die. So look at this as me holding off on the whole big "I'm doing this!" post, and then following it up later with a smaller "Well, that's not happening..." update.

I'm going out in a couple of hours. Some errands in town to run, get some pavement under my feet. Maybe have lunch, or see a movie. As much as I hate to give the daylight hours any credit, it does tend to get the old brain firing, and maybe I'll have some idea what I'm going to work on next. I've talked before about how odd it is to "finish" something. And there's also a lot going on right now that has zip to do with writing, and while everything feels like it should be slowing down, it hasn't yet.

Naturally, updates on in progress stuff will continue [re: Calamity Cash and the Town with No Name]. Definitely keep checking Justin's website, along with his own sketches, he's still putting up comic panels. Pay attention to that bar on the right hand side of the blog, too -- I know things have moved around a little, and I've expanded my tweets from three to five in my Twitter Bar, to showcase some of the articles and blogs that go up by writers or journalists that I know personally [or in rare cases, am just really into]. It's sort of a real-time answer to this idea I had for permanent links -- this at least keeps everything fresh, you know what you're seeing there is current, and Twitter just works better than some of the blog roll programs I've messed with.

Permanent links are still in the cards, too. I just keep getting hung up on little things about them. For now, this is better.

Hopefully won't be another week until my next post. If it looks that way, might do a post just to be posting. Deep down, I think people probably hate those, but they keep me limber. Also have some prose I might break out, though that means some editing and Jesus God I'm a little sick of that.

Justin, telling us about his process on "Calamity Cash"

Justin has a new blog post up, talking about how he prepares panels, pages, and just his overall process and thought process during the work. Plus, there are some sample panels up, which you've got to love, and more than just what I ganked here.

So, your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to go check out his write-up over there. And, you know. Pour one out for a really cool actor we lost today. I don't have some internet blog-soliloquy about his passing, as naturally, I didn't really know the man. But I grew up watching "Airplane" [like most people over, and over, and over again], and in high school I watched a lot of Mission Impossible... mostly, just to be different, but also because it was a really cool show. I'd put it right up there with "The Avengers" and "The A-Team" just for the amount of crazy scripting going on.

Photo courtesy of the Washington Post.

Just Breathe: Nova, in 25 Pages

Well, it's done. "Nova" is now 25 pages.

Lets crunch the numbers. Last draft was 32 pages, and over a period of about two weeks, I cut 7 of them. That's about half of a page each day. There's part of me that's not sure you can call that "progress." What I see in my head, when I picture the job that I had to do, was Steven Bach at the end of the table, a copy in front of him and those long fingers gripping a thick pen, putting broad strokes through each wordy, unnecessary, or trite line. In 10 minutes he might have easily have gotten me to 25 -- maybe 24, hell, maybe 20 -- and maybe I'm exaggerating a little, but anyone who'd seen Bach go to work on script would know, not by much. Of course he had the experience, but still, I can't help but feel without when I think about how I couldn't do the same when I sat down with my sharpie and my clipboard.

On the other hand, I don't feel like this was a broad strokes sort of job. "Nova" was, technically, finished. More than 7 drafts is a ludicrous proposition for a screenplay, and brings up memories of the horror show which "Last Action Hero" turned into -- a movie re-written so many times, by so many different people, that even Carrie Fisher did a draft. The 32 pages I wrote felt like the necessary amount of time to tell the story I wanted to tell, while hitting all the beats I wanted to hit. It felt tight, and even the things that went a little slow, seemed like digressions, I think I tied them in, and gave them reasons to be in there. Because of this, taking things down became more complicated, I had to rephrase some things, speed some conversations up. Cut here, or cut there, a couple of words gone, a line dropped. Take out too many swear words, Nick loses his edge, take out too many BEATs, shoot the pacing I'm going for all to hell.

Irony of ironies, there were actually things I found, things I changed for the sake of thrift that I'd probably keep, if I decided to go back to the 32-pager. I think... there are things in this draft that work better than in my last long draft. There are also things I knocked out that killed me a little to leave on the cutting room floor, and if given the opportunity I will squeeze back in.

Which is why I'm saying to anyone who's had a look, or who volunteered to have a look, or who I asked to give "Nova" a read through, and who hasn't yet, to please, still do. I would really like to hear what you think, and am still up to cut more, to remove some things, partly to get things I let go back in, and partly so the script itself doesn't look absolutely stuffed into 25 pages [we're talking one line, and I'm back to 26]. Besides, if there were things you saw that you liked, or things that didn't seem clear, I'd like to know those things too, because even though my focus lately has been getting the script slimmed down, I don't want it to look like I neglected the story itself.

I want to thank everyone else too -- particularly Ian, whose notes helped get me out of that tunnel I was talking about last post. Honestly, Ian's cuts could have gotten me from 26 to 25 right away, Steven Bach-style, but there were just a couple of things that I didn't want to give up. Still, his suggestions helped me drop over half of that last page, which made the leftovers something that could [mostly] be sweated out, or rephrased. It even gave me enough room to move, to rewrite one or two things that I'd been putting off, waiting to see if there'd be room.

So that's me. Small victory. Maybe now I can get to those unanswered e-mails in my inbox [apologies if you're waiting for one], and to my living space which has... deteriorated a little since I've started working. Maybe since a little before then. When all you have is a single room no one else sees, you tend to neglect the upkeep a bit, especially if you have more important things to focus on.

Probably post about "Nova" again before submitting it. Expect to take at least one more run at it, especially after I talk to a couple more people. More soon.

They'll say he looked like a skel, and wrote about angels...

Not sleeping so much these days.

Still working on "Nova," though the past two nights I've felt a little like I was spinning my wheels. It's... odd, to put time into something, to lose sleep over something, only to have it in fairly the same condition when the morning finally comes. Through re-writes and scene sweating I've gotten "Nova" down to a svelte 26 pages, just one page over what it needs to be, and that last page and I have been squaring off for two or three days now.

And I'll delete this, or I'll delete that, or I'll try and work out X thing completely, and usually end up going right back to the old draft, and overwriting whatever it is I just came up with. I've mentioned it before, but I delete a lot when I write -- I have tendencies to get talky, to write overly-specific dialogue [not for the story, but overly-specific in a referential sense], to latch on to certain digressions and follow tangents that don't really go anywhere. I try and save the best stuff, but the honest fact is a lot/most of it is the same thing in different forms or colors, and likely will show up once more when I sit down to try again later.

All of that... process, I'll guess we can call it, that's what I've been doing with "Nova" the past few nights. And about the time the sun is coming up or "Angel" is coming on, I've decided what I had before was better, and reverted back to it. I mean, I've even tried re-writing the ending, which either doesn't make as much sense as I thought it did, or does and I've just been looking at it too hard. The new thing I did for the ending struck me as cheesy -- or rather, I couldn't decide if it was cheesy or not, so I chucked it just on the outside chance that it was. Which would probably seem like absolute stupidity, if not for the fact the new ending I wrote? It was a half a page longer than the existing one, instead of being one page shorter like it needed to be.

And what, may you ask, is all the point to all this melodramatic bitching on my part? Well, nothing really. Just one of those rare moments to document how maddening it can be to see the finish line, but not actually be crossing it yet. It vaguely reminds me of trying to hold my breath through those god-awful-long highway tunnels, so sure if I could make the air in my outstretched cheeks last that I'd be granted some sort of wish for my voluntary apnea -- but it never failed, no matter how long or short the forsaken man made asshole of whatever West Virginia hill we'd decided to go straight through, as soon as I could see that light at the end of the tunnel my face would get sore, and my lungs would start screaming, and there's be this drum beat in temples for the world's slowest conga line.

Which is what all this pissing and moaning is. I'd like to breathe. But I also want "Nova" to be good. I want my wish, I guess, to carry the metaphor.

Of course, I'm lucky. I'm getting some help, as I've had a few friends volunteer to look at the latest draft, and let me know what they think, and hopefully -hopefully!- something brilliant will shake loose between me and them. Sometimes the smallest comment or question can bring something bigger to life, which actually happened when Julia wrote me back after looking at a [slightly] longer version, and reminded me of the Steven Bach edict on screenwriting that we don't know what our characters are thinking, only what they do, and what they say. She used that to point out one error, in one line, but overall it helped me clip down almost a whole page.

So that could happen. Or maybe I'll just unclench and realize on my own that something is expendable, or would sound better in a more succinct way.

To keep this from being completely about me, I thought might toss everyone a few links of some newer blogs I've been reading online, a few which have popped up in the old "Following" box, and a few who are fellow Bennington alumni.

First up is my friend J'aime Chatfield -- she's a photographer I went to school with, who I've only recently reconnected with online, and you can see some of the wonderful pictures she takes on her Flickr account. I'm a pretty big of fan. She's about to embark on this big trip overseas, where she'll be living in Paris and just generally being more glamorous than the rest of us, and she's writing about the experience on her own blog, "In Transito." I will admit, I bug the piss out of her to keep her posting over there [yes, she hasn't even left yet], but only because what she's doing is so incredibly ballsy and I want to keep up with every minute of it.

Speaking of being far, far off the beaten path, another Bennington alum, Maggie Duffy, has a blog up called BurAnTipodes, which I've only recently found [I think it may have only been recently started as well], where she chronicles her time in Indonesia, of all places, where she is, by her own account, teaching and traveling, and watching as Jakarta goes crazy. There are always lots of pictures in her posts, and considering Indonesia is a place I know absolutely nothing about, I am always impressed with something I've never seen before.

Finishing out the trifecta of Bennington Bloggers [Stan Lee-like alliteration, I'm rocking now] is the NYC girl Jessica Condyles, who we almost lost to tumblr, and who even though I didn't know terribly well at Bennington, I'm getting to know now, through her writing at Lotus Blossom Pond. She's very straightforward and introspective [pity knows why I'd enjoy a blog like that], and willing to share personal things about herself in a public forum. My own writing here has an aspect of getting to know myself by sharing myself, and I see some of that same vibe, just more focused by Jessica at LBP.

And finally... not a Bennington person, not even someone I know all that well, though I am starting to feel like I do from their comics -- that's right, I'm plugging the work of John Kinhart, over at Sorry Comics, whose art I just love, and who I encourage everyone to sink a few hours into his archives of autobiographical comic strips. They're simple, at least in color scheme [blue was a good choice], but always seem to nail exactly the melancholy they seem set on portraying, and though updates are sporadic it's always worth wait. I have no idea why he started following me -- probably a courtesy gesture, for me publicly subscribing to his website, but I'm flattered to even have a fleeting connection to comic work I enjoy so much.

Just ask the guys over at Modern Mythology Press.


A movie review? What the hell was that?

In what was sort of a first for the Mojo Wire, the previous post was a review for a short film hosted online -- specifically [like you've forgotten already] "Contact" by Jeremiah Kipp.

This is new feature, and something that only cropped up because of the two weeks of guest blogs that was hosted here featuring the Top Ten Horror Films of the Past Decade. As some may remember, one of those lists was compiled by my friend and occasional Fangoria writer Audrey Quaranta, well, Kipp just so happened to also be a contributor to the magazine, and asked if I'd review "Contact" here on the website for him. I was really surprised to be asked to do something like that, but I'm not totally without experience in the area [ah, the broken dreams of a high school journalist/movie reviewer], and thought it would be a really awesome way to follow up Horror Week in some way. Mind you, the Mojo Wire is far from being Final Girl, or anything quite that awesome, but I enjoyed the experience a lot, and am considering including reviews for other things [perhaps even unsolicited ones] in the future.

Obviously, I'd like to thank a few people. Audrey, again, for doing her top ten list, which no doubt got me on Kipp's radar. Jeremiah Kipp himself, for approaching me to review the film [which I thoroughly enjoyed, if you couldn't tell]. I also owe my oft-badgered friend John Wiswell a big thank you for helping me edit the review, along with fellow Bennington alum/journalist Sarah Crow. I'm always glad that John is my go-to guy in these situations where I need a master wordsmith, and Sarah is, by all definitions, a real editor and the notes she sent me were the kind that I wish I got from everyone who looked at my stuff. Between the two of them, the "Contact" review is one of my more polished pieces, and I'm very pleased with it -- and plan on integrating it into my writing portfolio, if I ever actually get around to making one of those.

To anyone else who might be reading, if you're a director, if you're a writer, if you're an illustrator, or animator [or know anyone who is one of those things], and you produce something you'd like to have reviewed [be it movie, short, comic, or cartoon], feel free to send me links to your material, and I would be glad to review it here, and plug it copiously. Though reviewing things was never my intention with this blog, discussing creative works does lend itself to analyzing the creative process, and I'd like to do more of that. Don't be afraid to ask -- I really would love to do it, and be exposed to some things I may not have found on my own.

Other things. I haven't been sleeping well, and so have spent the bulk of my free time working on "Nova," trying to trim the page count down -- if you've talked me in the past week or so, or if you're unfortunate enough to follow me on Twitter, you've probably noticed I haven't had much more to talk about than that. Which isn't to say that there nothing else going on in my life -- there have been the usual errands and chores, and some other, less pleasant things [re: Dad's death certificate finally arriving, 9 months later], but I've been trying to throw myself into the writing. Agonizing over page count, and doing re-writes is unpleasant in a lot of ways, but it's a far more bearable unpleasantness than a lot of other things going on right now.

Plus, it makes me think of Steven. One the first real lessons Bach imparted in screenwriting 101 was "sweating" pages down -- taking out a word here, or simplifying a phrasing there. You never want to do it to the point that the screenplay itself is less charming or less readable, but in a pinch, you find a couple of pages lost just to formatting by hanging sentences, or unnecessary beats, or even giving direction for things you just don't have to. Best comparison I can think of is packing a suitcase, and how folding your shirts just so can get you that extra pair of pants in too. And it's real brain-dead work until rephrasing and rewriting comes into it, which gives me a rare moment "off."

So the plan has been to turn 32 pages into 25, and about two of those were gotten by straight-sweating. The rest have been cuts and rewrites, which are never exactly fun on a project you thought you were finished with [seriously, this is effectively, a 8th or 9th draft for "Nova"], and I'm now a page and six or seven lines away from my intended goal. That's right -- "Nova's" just over 26 pages.

Almost there. And I'm at the point now where I'm just asking for extra sets of eyes. Anyone interested, let me know. And anyone who read "Nova" back when it was finished the first time is also welcome to take a look at the new version when it's finished. I'm vaguely paranoid that to slim down, I may have butchered it. So, if anyone can stand to read it again, allay my fears.

REVIEW: Contact (2009) - Directed by Jeremiah Kipp

Review by Randall Nichols

In the past ten years, most “bad trip” movies – that is, movies depicting the darker side of recreational drug use, have pulled heavily from the aesthetic of the 2000 film adaptation of Hubert Selby, Jr’s Requiem for a Dream. While Aronofsky’s portrayal of substance abuse was revolutionary for its time, I always thought it left the next decade of drug-related cinema a little bland, with too many fast cuts and too much shaky camerawork, as though the intention was to make us, the viewers, feel sick, through motion sickness rather than empathy.

In comparison, Jeremiah Kipp’s Contact as a stylistically ambitious take on the genre. The film follows a young couple’s experience with a mysterious drug purchased from a flamboyant and almost other-worldly pusher [played by Alan Rowe Kelly], an encounter that sends them on a runaway psychotropic horror-trip that neither will come out of unscathed. While it would have been easy [and effective enough] to follow Aronofsky’s aesthetic, Kipp culls his influences from earlier films. Contact wears these influences proudly on its sleeve, boasting both a Dario Argento-like score and a David Lynch-like feeling of suspenseful disorientation.

The film rings strongly of early George Romero as well, owing largely to the hipness of the movie’s characters, in both costuming and attitude, contrasted with the darker side of the world they operate in. Even a dingy no-man’s land beneath an underpass seems fresh in Kipp’s vision, adding a compelling sense of “cool” to the film’s overall aesthetic. And it is in this dilapidated and dangerous setting we meet our unnamed protagonists, our young couple looking to score, and join them on their downward spiral. A fall which is portrayed with a perverse appeal, where in the most startling, violent moments there is something desirable about the world Contact is set in.

However clear its influences, Contact is not a derivative work, and its true innovation lies in narrating this type of story using the framework of a suspense/horror film. More impressive is how minimalistically Kipp goes about doing this -- the opening scene consists of little more than an older couple setting a table at dinner, but with a subtle pause at the addition of third plate the mood becomes suddenly tense. Thus the tone is set – we are left with a sense of apprehension, even as the scene transitions to the film’s starring couple.

When they finally take the drug, the payoff is as impressive as the suspense has implied it would be. Things turn dark and violent quickly, and so much so that mere minutes into the trip even the visual of the two lovers touching is unnerving. All this is made even stronger by the performance of Kipp’s leading lady, Zoe Daelman Chlanda, who goes from innocent, intimate, and trusting to terrified and vulnerable by this runaway trip she’s trapped in. Her chemistry with co-star Robb Leigh Davis takes the performance to the next level, conveying the couple’s descent into their own psychopharmacological nightmare – a nightmare which isolates the lovers from each other so completely that, even lying next to one another, they could not seem farther apart.

There’s little actual dialogue in the film, with most verbal exchanges between characters just mouthed, with the film’s impressive score taking the lead. Contact works well despite its pointed silence, and its minimalist aesthetic is strengthened by letting the actions and expressions of the characters speak for themselves. While it is slightly jarring when we’re allowed to hear the dealer speak, the advice imparted, a simple instruction to “take this together,” hangs heavy as you begin to realize that even in the same room, the couple are going to have to take this trip they’re on alone. It was a risky choice, but one that works well, and even someone as fond of dialogue as I am was charmed by the final effect.

Contact is an impressive film that manages to have all the trappings of the art house style, coupled not inappropriately with the sex and violence of an old school grind house picture. It’s suspenseful, scary, and clever, with the deliberate pacing necessary for a short film that plays up the tension and eventually delivering on the promised horror. The end result is a consummate example of what low budget horror can be in talented, capable hands – stirring, unsettling, and beautiful.

Jeremiah Kipp is a New York filmmaker with credits in writing, directing, and producing on numerous independent films. His latest work is Contact, which he wrote and directed, and can be viewed online as part of the IndieRoar Online Film Competition [http://www.indieroar.com/]. When not making movies, he contributes to Fangoria magazine and several other horror -related publications. More information can be found on Kipp and his future projects here.

Emilio's Hot Box Thrust, or Writing for Crying Children III [Guest Comic]

A third Randall Nichols-penned "Pictures of Crying Children" has gone up today, which I encourage everyone to go check out before reading the rest of this, if for no other reason than for the added surprise.

Back now?

This was one of my favorite scripts I wrote for PCC, and CheriAnn gave me pretty much exactly what I had in mind for it, short of the screen-capping, which was a bit of genius I didn't consider. I am not one of those people who are enamored with the 80s, but there's something about the movies from the era that I will admit to being fascinated by. As a writer, plot holes drive me insane -- not only do I feel like it's my responsibility to explain how things happen, but also why, and it absolutely never fails, even when I'm writing something with say, vampires [re: The Familiar] in it, realism always feels like one of the most important things.

Movies from the Eighties really don't care. Whether it's the Illinois Nazi's car falling from above a skyscraper in "Blues Brothers," or Emilio's amazing hot box thrust in "The Breakfast Club," these things just happen, whether the screwball tone fits the world the movie's set in or not. And every one's pretty much okay with that -- I've seen film students destroy something like"Memento" or "The Matrix" for the tiniest plot inconsistencies, but anything made from 1980-1989 tends to get an immediate pass [Kevin Smith's "Mallrats" is a good example -- very much an 80s movie, and often derided for the things that were quite common in 80s comedies at the time]. I'm guilty of this too, and there are a lot of different explanations for it, from people today being too anal about realism, to just loving these old movies enough to forgive them their flaws. Myself personally have always felt like 80s flicks have an almost folklore like quality, where maybe John Henry couldn't really beat the steel driver, and maybe Emilio couldn't actually shatter that glass -- but these aren't the details that are important, these are just the incidentals of a meaningful story.

Whatever you believe, it's really rad sitting around on a couch with people talking about it. Ridiculous, but absolutely always rad.