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Office Christmas Party

Another reminder that allowing your cast to madly improvise instead of actually providing a coherent script with a scintilla of inherent logic often leads to…

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Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

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Movie Answer Man (05/21/1995)

Q. I do some computer programming on the side and I have learned much about the machine's capabilities. Seems that it might be possible one day to produce a movie completely by computer without the need for actors, props, sets, or human music. Would the public accept this? How about yourself? I doubt if I would like a Clint Eastwood movie with no Eastwood--just computer art and sound. How far should Hollywood go? Could everything become like that Holodeck on the new Star Trek? (Mike Jordan, Snow Camp, N.C.)

A. It will definitely be possible to produce a movie that looks "real" but is entirely the product of a computer. Already, a special effects company in the Silicon Valley is said to have a Marilyn Monroe program that can create a cyber-performance by MM. My guess, however, is that such programming will create images that don't have soul. To paraphrase Mark Twain, actors cloned by computer will know the words, but not the music.

Q. Dustin Hoffman's was "Outbreak," Meryl Streep gave it a shot with "The River Wild." Isn't it about time for Meg Ryan to stop playing the woman everyone falls in love with and start killing bad guys? (Thomas Allen Heald, Rapid City, S.D.)

A. I just can't see it. Somehow, that would be like handing Doris Day a howitzer.

Q. After screenwriters Roger Avary and Quentin Tarantino picked up their Oscars for "Pulp Fiction," Avary said, "I have to take a pee." While this acceptance speech was admirably short, I found it somewhat lacking in propriety. Did he really have to take a pee, or was there some deeper message? (Ronnie Barzell, Chicago)

A. Although the Academy's members awarded many of their Oscars to "Forrest Gump" and "Pulp Fiction," they apparently didn't pay attention during either movie, or they would have made the connection that Avery's line occurs in both films--most memorably in the scene where Gump says it to President Kennedy. I put your question to Roger Avary, who replied: "I guess there's a little Forrest Gump inside of all of us--including the writers of 'Pulp Fiction'."

Q. Re your earlier discussion of Goofy as a single parent: As most of us with children know (having been subjected to a billion hours of the Disney Afternoon), Goofy did not go through a custody battle to gain his single parent status. Max was adopted prior to the beginning of "Goof Troop" on television. Just thought I'd let you know. My wife Annetta, however, has expressed an interest in Goofy in the past, so there are women out there who would be glad to have him. (Neil Moody, via CompuServe)

A. Gorsh!

Q. Just wanted to thank you for your latest "Movie Answer Man" column, about the guy who saw "Before Sunrise," met the girl on the train, joined her in emulating the movie, and ended up being thrown out of law school. The column was as richly detailed as any movie I've seen lately, and it truly made my week. Would you be interested in knowing that "My Tutor" is based on my adventures with a well-endowed teacher who saw me through summer school? (Steve Bailey, Jacksonville Beach, Fla.)

A. No, but I think Penthouse Forum would.

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