What do ‘Max Payne’, Kevin Smith, Charlie Kaufman and Woody Allen Have in Common?

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(from left) Charlie Kaufman, Kevin Smith, Mark Wahlberg in Max Payne, Woody Allen

Wednesday is going to be a busy day for me, but I won’t be busy updating RopeofSilicon until later in the day due to a busy morning schedule, and if anyone was wondering why David Frank’s The Shallow End articles have been so sporadic, fear not, he has been busy with the part of his life that makes him real money and just hasn’t had time to hammer out his regular words of wisdom. He’s not gone.

Just so you have an idea of what I will be doing while I am not updating the site tomorrow; I will be seeing Charlie Kaufman’s Synecdoche, New York at 10 AM. I will then rush home to take the dog out and show him a short bit of attention before rushing back to the same theater to check out Max Payne at 1 PM. From there I will pick up the mail, take it back home, feed the dog and then head down into Seattle for a 1:1 chit-chat with Kevin Smith who is here promoting Zack and Miri Make a Porno.

I should be back in the RopeofSilicon offices around 5 PM to begin doing some real updates as I watch John McCain and Barack Obama battle it out one last time for those that have still not made up their minds.

I am hoping that in-between Max Payne and the Kevin Smith interview I will be able to at least get online the Latest MPAA Ratings like I do every Wednesday, but I can’t make any promises. However, Thursday morning is going to come equipped with a special four page feature many of you are sure to enjoy. I recently interviewed Mike Leigh for Happy-Go-Lucky and I am also working on a review of Woody Allen’s Hannah and Her Sisters from 1986, and I think I can safely say now that I think Woody is one my top ten favorite directors. Recently I watched Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Match Point, Scoop and Manhattan and Woody’s neurosis and questions of existence are so fantastic I can’t get enough of them.

I will admit Match Point was about 30 minutes too long and really wasn’t all that good as a result, but Scoop was surprisingly entertaining and in watching those two films as well as Vicky Cristina Barcelona in reverse order of when they were released really shows how much better Scarlett Johansson has gotten as an actress. She is great in Vicky Cristina, fun to watch in Scoop and lacking a little something in Match Point, although she gets much better as that film goes on. It’s no wonder she and Woody struck a good working relationship, it really paid off for both of them.

As for Hannah and Her Sisters I will hold any comments for now, but I will say the midway point of that film has one fantastic line and one fantastic scene that made it all worthwhile. The strangest thing about that movie is its title, but at the same time it could be its most telling.

Speaking of Woody Allen I recently cracked open Roger Ebert’s “Book of Film” from 1997. I bought it used at Amazon for like $1.50. Now that is a bargain. Anyway, inside he has a short piece written by Woody talking about Elia Kazan’s stage play of Snow White, and not the traditional Snow White you may be thinking of. In his description he mentions a reference to the classic quote from German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche that I just love. The original quote reads as such:

God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it?

The reason for that quote’s popularity doesn’t need explaining, but I found the variation of the quote Woody references from the play to be so much more simple, yet so much more wide open for interpretation:

God is dead. Everything is now possible.

You could build an entire career’s worth of screenplays around those two sentences alone and to some extent I think Woody has, and in very literal terms in some instances. I love thinking about such things and the finality and yet openness of those seven words is staggering.

Nevertheless, now is not the time for a great big philosophical discussion, at least not from me. I’m not nearly smart enough to even know where to begin. Feel free to dig into it in the comments yourself, though, if you are interested. I would love to hear some opinions.

Finally, if reading material is something you are looking for, I will point you to this LONG article at “Rolling Stone” about John McCain and his career. I haven’t had the chance to read it yet, but I have been told it is quite an eye opener. Or you could just watch the stupid (and not safe for work) Hayden Panettiere PSA below from Funny or Die (Die in this case) and call it a day.

See you this afternoon…