Broke? Wear a barrel

Nine Common Cliches That We Got from Cartoons

This year I got to witness two famous cliches in real life: I saw the blind leading the blind (two blind Mexican musicians walking down the street, one leading the other) and I got to see somebody rolling out the red carpet (workers preparing Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood for a premiere). Stuff like this made me think about all… read more!

Gary Oldman as Sid Vicious in Sid and Nancy

Nine Rock Stars Who Got the Biopic Treatment

After recent Oscar wins for Ray and Walk the Line, the music biopic is, for better or worse, very big right now. After all, it promises an easy ticket for Hollywood actors who thirst for awards. Too bad the movies themselves are usually lousy. 2007 has seen the music biopic at its peak, though input from the US this year… read more!

Ice-T, Werner Herzog, Miranda July

Nine Famous People I’d Invite to a Dinner Party

The game of "What historical figures would you have over for dinner?" has been played for ages. The predictable answers are Joan of Arc, Jesus, Gandhi, and so on. Thank you, but I'm limiting my fantasy guest list to still-living people who all speak English, so they can understand each other and so I can follow what's being discussed. If… read more!

Die Monster Die!

Nine Movie Titles With Exclamation Points!

A movie title becomes invariably silly when a "!" has been added to it. Few studios will make the attempt today, because they know how goofy it is. (Imagine: Good Night and Good Luck! The Matrix! American Beauty!) But back in the day, I suppose the exclamation point was meant to inform viewers that there was much fun and excitement… read more!

No available costume photos, so here’s my cat Cricket.

Nine Things I’ve Been for Halloween

It's that spooky time of the season again, and frankly I'm surprised that, after having written these Lists of 9 for nearly ten years(!) now, I haven't taken advantage of the late October period to list some of the Halloween costumes I have worn in the past. Sadly, the memories are fading, but I still recall the following outfits: Han… read more!

The Godfather

The Nine Highest-Rated Films on the AFI “Top 100 Movies” List That I Didn’t Like

As a filmmaker and a film fan, I should agree with the American Film Institute as to which 100 American films (read: Hollywood features) are the greatest, right? Wrong. But that's part of the fun of these lists: disagreeing with them. Now, there are quite a few films on AFI's updated 2007 list that I never saw, and a few… read more!

Blind Lemon Jefferson

Nine Legendary Blind Singers

It's interesting to note how many notable blind musicians there have been over the past century or so. (I suppose deaf singers would be more interesting, but...) You could say that, owing to their sightlessness, these people turned to music to make their lives more meaningful (and let's not forget instrumentalists, including jazz pianists Art Tatum and George Shearing), but… read more!

Me at 10, with my velour shirt

Nine Things I Wanted to Be When I Grew Up

A few days ago, I quit my job as a producer at an interactive agency in order to return to the sort of day jobs I prefer: art director and designer. (It's a nice way to pay the bills as I wait to get my next film funded.) This has made me look back at all the careers I wanted… read more!


Nine Cult Movies I Saw in Theaters When They Were New

For the sake of argument, I'm defining a "cult movie" as something that, upon its release, was too strange or too obscure to find a major audience, but that, in the years since, thanks to cable and home video, developed a massive following. (In other words, Star Wars isn't a cult movie, but Blade Runner is.) This list is not… read more!

Two out of three generations of Fondas

Nine Three-Generation Film Families

Nepotism. It's an inherent part of showbiz. Centuries ago, when actors were poor and looked down upon, the children of traveling players would be expected to carry on the "family business." Now that movie people make millions, the allure for their spoiled offspring to make it equally big is obvious. And, of course, the opportunities are there: just talk to… read more!

ABBA, naturally

Nine Top Swedish Pop Acts

Sweden is the third largest exporter of pop music in the world today, after only the United States and Britain. Think about that. While Japanese pop groups are big in their home country, and the same can be said all over the planet – France, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Italy, India, etc. –- not even musicians from Ireland or Australia… read more!

Adrienne Shelly

Nine Filmmakers Who Were Murdered

By and large, "filmmaker" is a pretty safe career choice. Most live long, healthy lives, remaining both creative and well-respected into old age. But history is still peppered with the occasional violent death of a prominent director. Most of these people you've probably never heard of, but as they say, behind every murder is a great story. Theo van Gogh.… read more!

Me and Christina Ricci

Nine Celebrities I’ve Been Photographed With

Behind every photo is a story, and this list isn't so much about "who I know" - for really, I don't know any of these people; I was simply in the same physical space as they were for an hour or so - but about the randomness of living in Los Angeles and of attending the occasional film festival. In… read more!

Barenaked Ladies

Nine Misleading Band Names

An innocent eye (and ear) might see the name Joy Division and imagine upbeat, sunny pop. My late grandmother surely would have. However, this isn't what you'd call a "misleading" name for a rock group that produced tense, dark music for three years before frontman Ian Curtis killed himself, once you learn that Curtis took the name from a Holocaust-themed… read more!


Nine Classic Films Originally Panned By Critics

Though it may have made more sense to have posted this list shortly after my film Claustrophobia was released to mostly poor reviews amongst the hardcore horror crowd, I probably would have looked whiny and defensive in doing so. And I'm not saying Claustrophobia will ever be heralded a "classic". But for a filmmaker like me just trying to make… read more!

The Pointer Sisters

Nine Famous “Sister Acts”

The previous List of 9 was all about well-known filmmaking brothers. I thought it only fair to give equal time to teams of sisters who have achieved notoriety for their work, and since, sadly, there aren't enough teams of filmmaking sisters to draw a list from, I had to broaden the scope a little bit to include female siblings in… read more!

The Farrelly Brothers

Nine Pairs of Filmmaker Brothers

Brother acts have long been a showbiz mainstay: Warner, Marx, Smothers, Nicholas, Wayans - can you think of any of these surnames without adding the word "Brothers" to it? Heck, you can go all the way back to the Grimms. But this list is about those brothers behind the camera, the brothers that almost never make films separately from each… read more!

Janis Joplin

Nine Members of the “27 Club”

After hearing about her son Kurt Cobain's suicide in 1994, Wendy Fradenburg Cobain O'Connor reportedly muttered, "Now he's gone and joined that stupid club." She was referring to the "27 Club", those famous 1960s rockers who all died at 27. In honor of Cobain's death, 13 years ago today, I thought I'd list nine people who qualify for the club.… read more!

Yo Mama

Nine Art History “Yo Mama” Jokes

Many say that the origins of modern-day hip hop lie in the inner city practice known as "signifying", wherein two young friends or rivals spar by hurling hilarious, often vulgar insults at each other – usually involving crude remarks about their mothers. These quickly became known as "Yo Mama" jokes. Now, there is probably only a very slim overlap between… read more!

Leonard Nimoy (left) in Mission: Impossible

Nine Odd Connections between Star Trek and Mission: Impossible

The topicality of this list is vague at best, though it does look forward to the future a little bit (see entry #3, below) and also has to do with my former place of employment (see entry #2). Born in 1966. Both TV series debuted in this watershed year, when color TV was still new. I Love Lucy? Both shows… read more!