Saturday, February 23, 2008


This is long overdue. The past few months have been insane. You might remember an entry I put up in December in which I ruminated on the World Series, foods I miss, and my new job working on a movie about a famous clawed comic book character. I took that entry down because I didn’t want to risk violating my scary and litigious non-disclosure agreement. I don’t think I violated it, but I didn’t want to run the risk. More on that in a bit…

I hope everyone’s holidays were fun. My own were spent with other goofball travelers. Parties at local hostels. Beer. Barbecues. Funny accents. Fireworks. Same shit as last year. I started early on New Years Eve and ended up falling asleep around 1:30 AM. Not since the late 1980s have I quit so early on New Years. Pathetic.

Another troubling thought – Here in New Zealand where the drinking age is 18, spirits can legally be served to people born in 1990, the year I began puberty. Had I put my biological developments to prodigious use and sired a child, I could now have a drink with him/her to celebrate my liberation from child support payments. Woo hoo! No more Baby Daddy drama!

I missed the Super Bowl. I guess you can’t have the Red Sox and the Patriots win within such a short span of time. When the Pats won in 2002, I was 2 blocks away from the victory parade in Boston. It was absolutely freezing, but that didn’t stop more than a million fans from celebrating in the streets. That particular victory was the first bit of good news Boston had heard in months. It was just after 9/11. Israel was blowing up. The Church scandals were finally coming to light. Anthrax was in the mail. That Super Bowl lifted everyone out of the mire. For the first time in months, everyone was happy (Pats fans, anyway). It would have been even better if my lame-ass boss had actually let us go up to the parade like every other sane boss in The Hub. What a dork.

All of New Zealand was bummed out by the passing of Sir Edmund Hillary, co-conqueror of Mt. Everest. Up until the rise of Xena: Warrior Princess, Sir Ed was the world’s most renown Kiwi, and the national papers ran full page photos and articles commemorating his life and achievements. There is a movement to name a mountain after him, which seems appropriate. I wonder if there’s a Mt. Tenzing somewhere in Nepal. Maybe Mt. Everest should be renamed Mt. Hillary-Tenzing. Shouldn’t the mountain be named after the guys who first climbed it, rather than a former Surveyor-General of India? Compared to Hillary and Norgay, Everest was a punk-ass bitch. Why does he get that naming rights?

Bummer about Heath Ledger, too. He was one of the few young actors to emerge in the past few years with the potential to be a truly interesting and unpredictable leading man, rather than just another overly hyped pretty boy. When I heard he would be playing The Joker, I was fascinated. After such a brilliantly understated performance in “Brokeback Mountain,” I wondered what he would bring to one of the most over-the-top characters ever conceived. What the hell was he gonna do with it? How would he compare with Jack Nicholson? The fantastic trailer for “The Dark Knight” boded well. He looks wonderfully sinister, and I think it would have catapulted him to a new level of stardom. It always depresses me when talented people die too young. At least we’ll have that last glimpse of his talent. RIP, dude.

I managed to catch “Sweeney Todd.” As with any Tim Burton flick, it looks fantastic. Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter are terrific. But man, what a weird movie! It has nasty people living in a hellish environment committing horrific acts, but they’re constantly singing. I have nothing against musicals. “Moulin Rouge” still ranks as one of my favorite movies of the last decade. I thought “Chicago” was well made, even though it glorifies the kind of people I despise. “Rent” totally sucked. There has never been a musical like “Sweeney Todd.” There are no big production numbers, no dancing, and very little in the way of romance. It is a bloody tale of revenge. Really bloody. The first big throat slashing (and there are many) had me wincing. And they just keep on singing from one gory scene to another. The juxtaposition of form and content was baffling. I walked out a little depressed. I have a hunch that I’ll have to see it again to make my final verdict.

So, yeah. I’m working on a great big movie about a guy with claws. Most of the movie will be shot in Sydney, but there are several weeks of location work here in NZ. When I first started traveling 15 months ago, I never thought that I’d be doing film work. I figured that I’d tend bar or do whatever I needed to survive. Now I am halfway around the world working on a production bigger than any of the shows I worked on in my 3 years in Los Angeles. Isn’t it ironic (dontcha think?)?

At the moment, we are doing night shoots. 6 days a week, usually 14 hour shifts. It’s exhausting. My #1 task on set is to distribute and keep track of nearly 200 walkie-talkies and constantly supply fresh batteries. We’ve shot in magnificent valleys, forests, a mountaintop, and a very muddy lumberyard. We’re supposed to finish in mid-March, but you never know what could happen. If the writers’ strike is 100% resolved, revisions could be made. We shall see. I won’t get to see the Oscars this year, either. Kinda sucks, but I haven’t seen any of the Best Picture nominees anyway.

Until I finish the movie, I will have basically no social life. Once we wrap, I’ll need a week just to catch up on sleep. There are a few things I want to do in Queenstown before I leave, but I’ll be very eager to move on. I’m not sure what the first stop will be, but it will definitely look something like this:


Anonymous said...

At last! a great new blog.
So good to hear your could actually make a few bucks writing! Its that fun.

Ramble on!

Flip said...

Mike, good to hear you're still alive. The Pats' loss was gut-wrenching. Brady's ankle wasn't working right, so he had trouble throwing and, frankly, the Giants played really, really well. Well, we'll always have the Sox.

Anyways, be good.

Anonymous said...

Oh, thank god, I was SO jonesing for a new entry from you, Mike. Send your younger-older sister some nice Kiwi guy, okay? Preferably someone who looks somewhat like the actor playing that claw guy with the hair. Only, you know, without the claws.
You didn't miss much about the Oscars, except Tilda Swinton's acceptance speech, which was hilarious. And Jack Nicholson's inanimate body in the front row. How many drinks can a person have and still be breathing?
I too am bummed about Heath Ledger. He was really getting interesting. When River Phoenix died, I think Johnny Depp inherited his career. I wonder who'll pick up Heath's?
Keep on blogging!
--Nicole (Jessi's bud)