From the first page of the book...[Roosevelt's] life reads like a movie that requires a big bag of popcorn, ... We start at 25, as he begins to transform himself through sheer force of will from this asthmatic, nearsighted 125-pounder to this Sherman tank of a man so tough that he once got shot on the way to make a speech and completed his talk, bleeding with a bullet in his chest.
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So the Lincoln movie gets trashed because Connecticut voted for the amendment - not to mention how the people in Connecticut feel - but there's a lot of that. And I think it precedes from a fundamental misunderstanding of cinema. They are entertainment. And I'd like to say that entertainment isn't a synonym for disposable or mindless or stupid. Hamlet? Pretty entertaining from where I come from.
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The truth is that I used to read J.J. bedtime stories. He came up to me at the FOX commissary about four years ago and he said, "Do you remember what you gave me for my Barmitzvah?" I said no. He said, "You gave me the annotated Sherlock Holmes and my son is reading it now." It was the gift that kept on giving.
My father's book is about is about a number of things, but about Houdini's rage to not be a failure like his father, and it's also about converting X-rated material, namely bondage, into family friendly safe fare, which is what he did. It's also about death and resurrection, and rising to live again another day when everyone thinks you're dead.
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With a historical novel you know that liberties are being taken. Since Walter Scott, we know that poetic license, dramatic license, that events been conflated and that liberties have been taken, characters ditto, dates rearranged. But people don't seem to understand that movies are fictions, they are dramatizations, at least historical movies, and we should accord the moviemakers some of the same understanding and latitude. When you go to a movie you know it's a dramatization and not history.
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I wrote an article not so long ago that was published in the Los Angeles Times, and I think I titled it "Movies vs. History." But I think they had another title for it. I got sort of sick and tired of seeing movies that got picked apart by people because they had taken dramatic or poetic license and I said "These people don't understand the distinctions."
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I think that the reason that people are so up in arms about movies that have historical inaccuracies is because now that we've trashed our education institutions beyond repair, people fear that the only people are getting their histories is through the movies, so the elephant in the room is that no one wants to talk about why we're so passionately obsessed with accuracy.
Roddenberry had his own utopian vision about he perfectibility of man, and I never really believed that. And I don't think the show demonstrates that. I think it is about gunboat diplomacy. In the final analysis, the Enterprise fires. They're always shooting and bringing civilization, and coming to worlds where they don't approve of tyrannical enterprises "" no pun intended "" and they substitute their own quote unquote enlightened version of how society is supposed to work, which is essentially American.
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