The Fish
for 14 May 1999. Updated every WEEKDAY.
Suck Staff

Joey Anuff
Joey Anuff
Editor in Chief


Terry Colon
Terry Colon
Art Director


[the fixin' pixie... ]
Emily Hobson
Production Manager
& Rhythm Guitar


Heather Havrilesky
Heather Havrilesky
Senior Editor


[Ian Connelly]
Ian Connelly
Marketing Manager


[Tim Cavanaugh]
Tim Cavanaugh
Special Guest Editor


[Brian Forsyth]
Brian Forsyth
Production Editor
& Pool Monitor


[Copy Edit]
Erica Gies
Merrill Gillaspy

Copy Editors

Suck Alumni
Suck Alumni Text

Carl Steadman
Carl Steadman


Ana Marie Cox
Ana Marie Cox
Executive Editor


Sean (Duuuuude) Welch
Sean Welch


Owen Thomas
Owen Thomas
Copy Editor


T. Jay Fowler
Production Manager
& Ass Kicker


[yes, it's a plunger. i'll l
eave the rest up to your imagination ... ]
Erin Coull
Production Manager


Monte Goode
Monte Goode
Ghost in the Machine


Matt Beer
Matt Beer
Development Manager

Slow Budget

A friend at a major studio
says that shooting for the
film he's been working on
runs as follows:

* Shoot five different
   versions of the same scene.
*Put all five in front of a
   test audience.
* Record their reactions.
* Drop all but the highest-scoring
* Repeat until 120 minutes have
   been completed.

And people wonder why films
cost so much to make.

Recently, those of us within
media reach of El Lay saw
protests by union types
demanding protection from
those nasty Canucks
subsidizing their film/TV
industry. Our esteemed state
legislature will probably cut
the studios a juicy tax
break, but this points out
two things to me:

(1) Industry twits like Rob
Reiner who love spending
other people's money don't
comprehend what high taxes do
to the genuinely productive,
even in their own industry.

(2) The real problem of high
film costs can be solved only
by clamping down on directors
and producers who don't know
what they want in the first
place. If George Lucas can
make Star Wars: Episode I for
US$125M, there's no excuse
for Titanic, and even less for
The Incredible Mr. Limpet.
Studio execs, though, are not
likely to admit this in
public, and will cheerfully
join the unions in demanding
big tax cuts - for
themselves. (But where's
Sharon Stone for me when
April 15th rolls around?)

Just a thought,

Robert L. McMillin

And people wonder why films
cost so much and are so bad.
This is the same thing that's
happening on the Web,
incidentally, as interesting
work is being weighed down
under armies of professional
second-guessers and
nitpickers. But perhaps we
can come up with still
another medium and get ahead
of the game for a bit again.

Or not.

Ambrose Beers

Fish With Letter Icon

Kornheiser du Jour

Dear A.B.,

Nice piece, but you did it
again - you ended just when
you should have been warming
up. Your piece raises all
sorts of interesting
questions: Why do we refer to
remakes of Mr. Limpet (tell
me you were kidding about
that, please) using the same
word we use to refer to, say,
Dreamlife of Angels? How is
it that people get involved
with cinema because they
think it's an art form and
then cheerfully work in a
special-effects factory? Why
do so many people truly,
passionately care about
movies when movies (as shown
in your local multiplex) are
so unbelievably bad?

To be sure, there's nothing
wrong with making and
producing cotton candy for
the mind, and if the egos and
the paychecks at the top seem
excessive, well, maybe you
haven't been spending enough
time with the senior people
in other businesses. (OK,
maybe movie people are a
little sillier; but then, the
senior people are younger,
prettier, and have been
selected for something other
than analytic intelligence -
and intelligence is overrated
as a survival trait anyway.)
I'm just trying to figure out
the connection between this
harmless, mass-produced
product and the reason people
care so passionately about
the movies.

Maybe your next essay? I look
forward to it.

Alan S. Kornheiser

Ah, I could go on about this
at great length. But I don't
have the energy, so here's
the short version: Many, many
young people go into film -
or journalism, for example -
with a distant, idealized
idea of what the work is
like. They then find, once
they realize it's not like
that at all, that they don't
know how to do anything else.
I know quite a few people
employed in creative
enterprises who are stuck
between the realization that
they work for uncreative
organizations and the need to
make a living. But what are
you going to do - join the army?

Ambrose Beers

Fish With Letter Icon

Another quality rant today.
I'm writing about the
pictures, though. One
illustrates some nerd type
proving 2=1. Whoever did the
illustrations must know
enough math to understand the
flaw in the proof. I had
stereotyped the Sucksters as
not math oriented. Nice to
see someone there proving me

James Vlahakis

It's true, we were innumerate
for many years. Then we
realized we would need better
math skills in order to count
all that money.

Flawed proof,

Ambrose Beers

Fish With Letter Icon


Re: Special movie theater

I used to manage a movie
theater. Apparently in the
1960s, when the epic film
Cleopatra was released, they
sold tickets to the nighttime
shows for US$10 each in our
theater chain. This went on
for a few weeks until the
price was dropped to $5,
still twice the price of a
regular movie ticket. I have
not been able to verify this
report, or bothered to, I'm
afraid, but several
old-timers swore by this

The reasoning went something
like this: They could only show
one film per evening and the
rental price was staggering.
I know at the college theater
I once ran that we would often
price tickets by rental cost.
All the regular second-run
features would cost about
$500-$1,000 per week or so
(exact cost eludes me but I
know Animal House cost us
like $350 and paid for weeks
of Tuesday-night art films),
so when an Aliens came up at
like $1,500, we charged $3
instead of $2.

Just tossing in my devil's
advocate two cents.

Popcorn Boy

Everyone always talks about
this "ticket pricing" for
movies. But what I wanna know
is, which theaters are people
going to where you don't just
put in another quarter every
few minutes? Maybe people
aren't going to the same
theaters I frequent. Pretty

Ambrose Beers

Fish With Letter Icon


Thank you, thank you. Every
Wednesday you remind me that
there is at least one thing
left in my life that I can
enjoy without large quantities
of hard drugs.

I live for Filler.


Ross Balmer

I pity you.

Could you please send those
large quantities of hard
drugs you aren't currently

Thank you.



Fish With Letter Icon

Hit & Run

Re: "We've never had such an
ample supply of Schadenfreude
for Big Media's blunders."

Oh, you haven't? Am I the
only one who remembers your
"damage joy" on 3 October
over discovering that
Pathfinder's prototype of the
Netly News was accidentally a
public rip-off of the young Suck?

Jim Burrill

Yes, you are the only one who
remembers it.

Denying the past in order to
relive it,


Fish With Letter Icon

Your site loads way toooooo
slowly. And isn't it great
that the ad banners come up
long before any real stuff?

Karen C.

What real stuff?

Fish With Letter Icon

Katz gets enough undeserved
abuse over there at Slashdot
without you taking potshots
at him by request. He is
doing what he has set out to
do, which is to be the geek
liason to the real world - to
tell their stories. Beyond
that, you do a lot of people
a disservice in writing off
the testimonials of the
several thousand who flooded
him with stories of the
hell of their own school
days. And I am mystified as
to why you don't seem to
consider the Littleton
killers to have been
particularly alienated and
persecuted. I speak as
someone profoundly scarred
and emotionally and socially
crippled by having been an
outcast among outcasts all
through my school years. I
don't expect you to
understand the experience of
someone thus persecuted or
that reading Katz's articles
and the accompanying stories
touched a still very raw
nerve in me (and obviously in
a lot of other people). As I
read, I had tears running down
my face and was flashing back
to the brutality I suffered
in school, which to this day
haunts me. He doesn't have to
insert any elaborate
commentary into the issue; he
is doing a far greater
service by simply being an
advocate and then letting
people like me speak for
themselves. I have been
deeply fond of Jon Katz for a
long time, and he continues to
prove to me his compassion,
ethics, deep interest in his
subject matter, and, yes,

Elizabeth Durack

Well, this is a you-can-
two-eyes issue. I keep
hearing about how rough poor
Dylan and Eric had it, and at
the same time, I keep seeing
the swingin' hillside pad, the
presentable prom date, the
capacious posse, and the host
of classmates who considered
themselves friends of the two
until the budding killers
themselves gave them the high
hat (with that sad sack
Brooks Brown being the most
frequent example). If this is
high school alienation and
persecution, I wish I could
have had some of it. I'll
accept Michael Carneal, the
little scrawnster who shot up
his Paducah, Kentucky, high
school, as a picked-on kid.
These two were just a couple
of spoiled pricks.

I also wouldn't feel too
sorry for Katz, who writes at
will (and at length) and
whose new book is selling
very nicely.

Yr pal,


Fish With Letter Icon

 The Shit
Left for Dead in Malaysia, Neil Hamburger, Drag City, 1999
The Pyrotechnic Insanitarium: American Culture on the Brink, Mark Dery, Grove/Atlantic, 1999
Crazy from the Heat, David Lee Roth, Hyperion, 1998
Keep It Like a Secret, Built to Spill, WEA/Warner Brothers, 1999
Abbott's Pizza Company, near the corner of Abbott-Kinney and California, Venice Beach, Los Angeles (delivery hours limited)
Piper at the Gates of Dawn, Pink Floyd, CD remaster, EMI 1994
Motorhead, CD remasters, all
Det Som Engang Var, Burzum, Misanthropy, 1998
Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park, Nashville, Tennessee
A History of the Modern Fact, Mary Poovey, University of Chicago Press, 1998
V., Thomas Pynchon, HarperCollins Publishers, 1999
The Coffee Mill, Emeq Refaim, Jerusalem, Israel
The Salesman and Bernadette, Vic Chesnutt, Capricorn Records, 1998
Good Morning Spider, Sparklehorse, Cema/Capitol, 1999
Third Floor, Anderson Building, Los Angeles County Museum of Art

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