The Only Good Musical is About Actual Musicians

Eddie and the Cruisers, from 1984.

Although music forms a huge part of many of my novels, I don’t, as a rule, like traditional musicals. People bursting into song, unless it’s played for laughs (as in Cannibal: the Musical, an early film by South Park’s creators), overwhelms my suspension of disbelief. Even something as monumentally clever as Little Shop of Horrors stops dead (and never recovers) … Read More

Interview: filmmaker Lisa Stock

Filmmaker Lisa Stock

When it was announced a few years ago that Joss Whedon would be doing the new Wonder Woman movie, I was of the unpopular opinion that he was dead wrong for it. My main reason was that, in all the shows he’s produced and scripts he’s written, he has yet to show he can write about anything other than boys … Read More

Guest blog: Dale Short on his film Recovering Racist

Dale Short

I was honored to be the first contributor to this documentary Kickstarter project, and rather than attempt to convince you myself, I asked acclaimed author Dale Short, one of the people behind the film, to explain where the idea came from and how important it is.  And please check out the video trailer at the end of his article and … Read More

Film Review: Over Home: Love Songs from Madison County

over home final

Way back in the early years of this century (being able to say that makes me smile), the spark of the idea that would become the Tufa struck me at the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, Tennessee. Also at that festival, I first heard Sheila Kay Adams at one of the midnight sessions, in a huge tent on a warm … Read More

Witchcraft Through the Ages (of TV and Movies, that is)

Sandra Bullock in "Practical Magic."

Witchcraft has an iffy history in film and television. When I first started doing my Firefly Witch stories, one thing I reacted against was the standard image of the pop-culture witch. Leaving aside the blatant “wicked witch” portrayals, it’s still hard to find anything remotely accurate, let alone sympathetic. It’s not impossible, though. One of the earliest films about witchcraft, … Read More

George Lucas and Elvis: Echoes from 1977

starwars_poster

Thirty-five years ago, two things that fundamental changed my life happened in the same summer. In May, Star Wars was released. In August, Elvis Presley died. The arrival of Star Wars turned the thing that everyone in my small town mocked, that had gotten me teased and beaten up, into the hippest thing in the world. Spaceships, aliens and robots … Read More

Review: Road to Hell

RtH

There are a lot of film parodies, but not so many films that function as commentaries. Offhand, the best known example might be The Freshman, in which Marlon Brando both spoofs his Godfather persona and simultaneously creates a new, ironic character. Road to Hell, the new film by Albert Pyun, is a commentary film, in a sense. Michael Pare plays Cody, … Read More

Interview: Filmmaker Sterlin Harjo

Sterlin Harjo at Sundance in 2007

Sterlin Harjo is an Oklahoma filmmaker with two extraordinary feature films under his belt. His first, Four Sheets to the Wind, is about a young man struggling to connect to the world after the loss of his father; Barking Water tells of two elderly lovers on a last road trip. Both are set against the background of Oklahoma Native Americans (Harjo … Read More

Interview: Kim Dryden, co-director of Appalachian film “Over Home”

Storyteller and ballad singer Sheila Kay Adams.

My introduction to Appalachian culture, which figures so strongly in The Hum and the Shiver, really took place in the late 1990s. Prior to that, I’d looked on the Smoky Mountain region of Tennessee with some of the same distant awe as anyone else. Tennessee is a long, narrow state, and I grew up on the whole other end from … Read More

Film review: “Dawn of the Dragonslayer”

The dragon itself.

First, a digression: the SyFy Channel, much like MTV before it, has done considerable damage to the very thing it first embraced. Now the phrase, “A SyFy Original Movie” elicits the same sort of laughter as Mystery Science Theatre 3000, and for the same reason: you hear it and you know you’re in for a bad movie. And SyFy is … Read More