In keeping with the recent "scary" theme of the List of 9, and in the wake of the American release of my film Claustrophobia, here are nine of the most frightening events in my life. While compiling this list, I realized I have been very lucky: no real brushes with death, no truly horrifying moments. Even when I was mugged… read more!
With the American release of my film Claustrophobia (retitled Serial Slayer by distributor Lions Gate), and in anticipation of the growing number of site visits from horror fans as a result, I thought it would be fun to add a few fright-related Lists of 9 to the usual batch. So while I'm not comparing my modest thriller to George Romero's… read more!
[Note from Mark: I just got back from yet another trip to the UK - my eighth in ten years - so there is some relevance in posting this now. The list itself is written by my highly opinionated girlfriend Miki. She'll take it from here.] A few years back, someone pointed out to me that I seemed to hate… read more!
Somewhere in cinema history, the idea of the "movie trilogy" was born. Sequels, of course, were part of the biz since the beginning: if a movie made money, a sequel was almost guaranteed to make some more. Then Star Wars became the biggest box office smash of all time, and George Lucas said, "Actually, I plan to make nine films… read more!
Over the last three years, it's become common for ordinary dumb Americans to, basically, hate Arabs. Not unlike Germans in the US during World War I (when anti-German fervor was so great that sauerkraut was rechristened "liberty cabbage") or US-born Japanese during World War II (who were placed in internment camps, with all their worldly possessions taken away), today just… read more!
[Note from Mark: I've only seen one film over ten times in my life: Star Wars. So it was with great surprise that I heard my girlfriend Miki, who is neither a filmmaker nor a film geek, declare that she had sat through the following disparate collection of movies so frequently. I'll let her take it from here.] These are… read more!
In pop music, the phenomenon of the one-hit wonder is well-established: A band or artist comes seemingly out of nowhere, produces a monstrously popular song that takes over the world for a few weeks or even months, then, failing to repeat that success for whatever reason, promptly vanishes. What people don't talk about as much is the one-hit wonder actor,… read more!
Why is it that rock stars seem to get all the girls (or boys)? I suppose it has something to do with talent, fame and charisma. It sure doesn't have anything to do with beauty. To prove my theory, I have listed the nine ugliest that I could think of, out of hundreds of contenders. (In fact, there are so… read more!
I just got back from a two-week trip in Italy, and as my girlfriend Miki, who accompanied me, said, "Who could not love Rome?" A lot of people, apparently: friends have told me that they feel alone in their admiration for the Eternal City, and others have had reservations about visiting. There seems to be a belief that Rome is… read more!
You might think that every two weeks or so, I sit down in front of my computer and simply start writing a new List of 9 off the top of my head. Not true! I often find inspiration for a list quite randomly. One or two entries for the list usually come to mind quickly, but rarely all nine at… read more!
You know how it is in show business: Fortunes can change seemingly overnight. One star rises while another one falls. And so on. This list was inspired by an earlier List of 9 where I wrote about 1986's The Money Pit and then realized that, in those days, Tom Hanks and Shelley Long could receive equal billing in a motion… read more!
[Note from Mark: My good friend and erudite novelist Thomas Lakeman has contributed to the List of 9 before. This list was too good to pass up. I'll let him take it from here.] As anyone who's ever studied it will attest, The Iliad is a big damn poem about a guy who spends most of the war pouting in… read more!
"Moratorium" is a good word: it's a legal term that means, in this sense, "a suspension of activity". The following nine songs have reached such a level of media saturation that their activity should be suspended for at least fifty years. People may still listen to them in the privacy of their own homes, but please, no more use in… read more!
A few years back, I was curious to see if my being born under the sign of Taurus (April 20 - May 20) meant anything, and so I started researching famous Taureans to look up any consistency in personality traits, vocations or whatever. To my surprise, I discovered that many of the world's biggest tyrants were all born under Taurus.… read more!
The talented and often hilarious Scott Spears, the cinematographer for my first feature Foreign Correspondents, came over to my house one afternoon and started rattling off all the various lines low-budget producers have fed him when trying to get him to shoot their short films for no pay. He hit it so right on the nose that I asked him… read more!
For a long time I've entertained the idea of doing a movie about the infamous "Typhoid" Mary Mallon. Lucky me, when I looked for the domain name typhoidmary.com, I found it unregistered. So I snagged it. Thus began several years of my having to put up with a sometimes friendly, sometimes angry public, particularly students writing term papers on Mallon… read more!
I dedicate this to my father, who turns 66 today, for he has given me nerdy self-improvement tips much like these ever since I was a kid. (The only one I really retained was "wash your hands after using the bathroom".) I've since come across various little household tips throughout my nearly 34 years, some of which I have found… read more!
I believe every filmmaker should, at least once, experience life in front of the camera, to better understand actors' needs and issues. But the director-actor crossover field is a large and varied one: you have actors who quit to become directors (Ron Howard, Penny Marshall), actors who also direct (Clint Eastwood, Robert Redford), director-actor auteurs (Woody Allen, Spike Lee), and too… read more!
My buddy Jon once asked friends to each send him two songs people could "get it on" to for a mix CD. I guess if you're horny enough, you can get it on while listening to anything. Or can you? This list is inspired by a story my girlfriend told me about kissing someone, when suddenly the theme from Ghostbusters… read more!
After taking a year off, due to there being nothing really being overrated in 2002, I'm happy to say that, thanks to an exceptionally dull year for cinema in which far too many ordinary movies were heralded as near-masterpieces, the Great List of the Overrated is back. Mind you, most of these films are actually fairly decent. But they are… read more!