In Salvador Dalí’s house

The Nine Most Surreal Things to Happen to Me in 2006

I don't know about you, but this year was sort of surreal for me. It wasn't at all a bad year (though there were bad moments: a lawsuit, a smashed up car, neither of which was my fault you see) but it had its share of weird moments. Here are nine of them - which, grouped together, tell the story… read more!

Walter Matthau at 36 (with Patricia Neal)

Nine Actors Who Were Never Young – Even When They Were

You know how when you see an early Robert De Niro or Paul Newman movie, you get astonished at how young they once were? Conversely, you know how, with some other actors, you can see their work from the '60s, the '70s, the '80s, the '90s, and even today and they look like they were always perpetually fifty or sixty… read more!

John Lennon sang backup on David Bowie’s “Fame”

Nine Rock Stars Who Sang Backup on Other People’s Hits

The title of this list pretty much explains everything. You know, rock stars becoming friends, deciding to collaborate, etc. Some of these cases of famous artists singing backup are well known. Others, not so much. MICK JAGGER, "You're So Vain". Although the honoree of Carly Simon's '70s classic remains a secret - James Taylor? Warren Beatty? - it's not such… read more!

Big Fish

Nine Films Featuring Siamese Twins

The proper term is "conjoined", but in popular parlance, "Siamese" is still used to describe those twins who are biologically adhered to each other. In keeping with the vaguely Halloween-ish theme of this month's Lists of 9, I present the following nine films. Some are funny, some are spooky, some are touching, all are surreal – and all feature Siamese twin characters. FREAKS (Tod Browning,… read more!

Natalie Wood (with Christopher Walken) in Brainstorm

Nine Movie Stars Who Died During Production

It's never too early to start celebrating Halloween, and this list is a spooky tribute to those famous Hollywood actors who, while plying their craft, kicked the bucket - sometimes even while the cameras were rolling. (And while Steve "The Crocodile Hunter" Irwin would be a good addition to this list, I'm not technically considering him a film actor.) John… read more!

Frenzy

My Nine Favorite Hitchcock Films

Few film directors achieve the notoriety that Alfred Hitchcock enjoyed during his long, successful career. Yet today, many have only seen one or two of "the master's" fifty-plus features. Millions erroneously remember him as a "horror" director, though only two of his films - Psycho and The Birds - qualify as such. There are studio marketers who routinely pull quotes… read more!

Hire a different stills photographer

Nine Things I’d Do Differently If I Could Make Claustrophobia Again

There's no milestone in Claustrophobia's history being celebrated today, no anniversary. But I'd been meaning to write a more personal List of 9 for some time, and also wanted to share my regrets with other independent filmmakers who might learn from my mistakes. Hindsight is 20/20, of course, and some things were beyond my control (such as my distributors changing the title… read more!

Silhouette

Nine Common Words Named After French People

I had hoped to post this list on some relevant date like Bastille Day, but I missed that. And France didn't win the World Cup this year either. So this is a truly random list that I'm putting up for no good reason, other than that I was recently thinking of eponyms – words named after individuals (e.g., mesmerize, shrapnel) – and… read more!

Village of the Damned (1995)

The Nine Least Necessary Horror Remakes Ever

I'm not entirely against remakes, especially with horror films. Sometimes an old B-movie will have a good concept yet will fail to deliver on its potential. Later, an interesting director may find hidden depths to that movie and a strong reason to remake it. Thus the copy surpasses the original. David Cronenberg's The Fly is the usual example here, but… read more!

The Queen Mum

The Nine Most Famous Documented Centenarians

Here we pay tribute to those lucky humans who lived to see their one-hundredth birthday. Now, I realize that when you start going back into the murk of ancient history, you hear tales of all kinds of really, really old people. Methuselah comes to mind. He lived to be 969, if you believe the Bible, and I don't. So for… read more!

Liberace

The Nine Gayest Men of All Time

Last Sunday was the annual Gay Pride Parade here in West Hollywood, the city with the highest percentage of openly homosexual citizens in the world. And in the midst of all the continued controversy over gay marriage, as well as this recent brouhaha over including historical figures' sexual preferences in school textbooks, I thought I'd pay a little tongue-in-cheek tribute… read more!

Three of the things

Nine Things That I Have Won

On May 19, 2006, my one-minute film The Closest Thing to Time Travel was named the grand prize winner in a Getty Images competition called The Next Big Idea, where contestants had to make shorts using stock footage and imagery from Getty Images' library. With a $10,000 cash prize and whirlwind trips to New York and Chicago, it's easily the… read more!

Time After Time

My Nine Favorite Time Travel Movies

I recently made my first short film since college, a 60-second entry for Getty Images' "The Next Big Idea" competition. I titled it The Closest Thing to Time Travel as I - like many filmmakers before me - have long been fascinated by the concept. The irony is that there is no actual time travel in my film; I think… read more!

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Nine Notable People Who Died at 35

I turned 36 yesterday. Last year, I made a list of nine notable people throughout history that I had officially outlived the moment I turned 35. That was fun, so I'm doing it again, only another year older. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, 1756-1791. A good example of why one should never compare one's own achievements to those of other people: Even… read more!

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water…

The Nine Most Influential Movie Taglines Ever

For decades, American motion pictures were marketed with the usual carny cries: "Gaiety! Glory! Glamour!" "The Entertainment Experience of a Lifetime!" "The Greatest Event in Motion Picture History!" With few exceptions, it wasn't until the 1970s when the serious, film-specific, no-explanation-points taglines that we know today were employed. Short, sly come-ons meant to pique a potential audience's curiosity, they quickly… read more!

Creedence Clearwater Revival

The Nine Biggest Bands to Come from the San Francisco Bay Area

Although I've now lived in the Los Angeles area for almost half my life, I'm still a Northern California boy at heart - raised in Cupertino, home of Apple and about forty miles south of San Francisco. So this is my tribute to all the Bay Area recording artists who have given the world a wealth of great music. While… read more!

Tombstone/Wyatt Earp

Nine Pairs of “Copycat” Films

After Philip Seymour Hoffman's Oscar win in Bennett Miller's Capote, I imagine the folks behind an upcoming movie called Infamous are pretty worried. Why? Because their film is, like the Miller/Hoffman project, about Truman Capote writing In Cold Blood. Oops! But while this phenomenon, where two features with strikingly similar storylines go into production at the same time, is unusual… read more!

Out of Africa

The Nine Worst Best Picture Oscar Winners

Once in a while, a film that truly is the best of its year wins the coveted Best Picture Oscar: Casablanca, On the Waterfront, The Godfather, The Silence of the Lambs. Then there are other films that, while good, have proven not to be the classics that other eligible films in their year of release turned out to be (Going… read more!

Was President Arthur born in Canada?

Nine Presidential Rumors

In honor of the upcoming Presidents' Day holiday, and in the midst of my country's current scandal-plagued presidential administration, I thought I'd list nine of the more interesting legends involving our past heads of state. Some are rumors, some are guarded secrets, some are mysteries never to be solved. I'm making it a point to avoid sex scandals, as they… read more!

Catalina Sandino Moreno

Nine More Famous Women Whom I Have Crushes On

I know I've done this list before. Why bother with these? One: they're easy to write. Two: it's a nice way to pay tribute to those enchanting ladies whose talents are, at times, undervalued or overlooked. By all means, Google some of these names if you're unfamiliar with them. You will wind up discovering some movies, music, and other things… read more!