Friday, December 25, 2009

Happy Holidays!

to my 9 loyal followers and anyone else who happens to stumble across this blog.

Hope you all have a safe and happy New Year!

Friday, December 18, 2009


I've heard a lot of mixed things about AVATAR in the last few weeks, so I thought I better check it out and see what the ruckus was all about. I went to the 12:01 screening tonight and I just got home. Some people have called me cynical in the past (you know who you are), but it takes a bigger cynic than me to call this movie anything short of spectacular. Yes, the story is derivative (and what the hell isn't nowadays?) but the vision and execution is amazing. Cameron said he was going to deliver an "immersive" experience and that's exactly what it is. After about 40 minutes I started to feel like I was right there with the screen characters in the amazing world the filmmakers had created. I almost yelled at the screen a half dozen times. Either the movie was very effective or I need to alter my meds (maybe both).

There's plenty to nitpick here, but I'll leave that to everyone else. All I can say is: AVATAR. 3D. IMAX. Go there!

P.S. - Jim Cameron is a madman!

Monday, November 23, 2009

It's that time of the month again...

Hmmmm.... I see by the old calendar on the wall that it's time for my monthly bit of Blog Wisdom.

Try this one: I used to think the Internet was kind of cool. Then I thought it was amazing. Then I thought it was a bit annoying. Then I thought it was possibly dangerous. Then I became convinced that it was the worst thing that's ever happened to the human race (and considering humanity's past, that's quite an achievement).

I now believe that it's possible (maybe even probable) that the Internet - or some mutation of it - will eventually lead to the end of human civilization as we know it. And possibly the actual destruction of the planet, i.e. a series of events so catastrophic that the Earth is sent spinning off its axis and out of orbit rendering it a dead rock or a burning cinder.

Well, that's my say for November.

Go back to your coffee.

Oh, and Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

9 Dragons

Last year I traveled to Hong Kong (and Macao) to shoot footage for a book that Michael Connelly was researching. That book, 9 DRAGONS, was published last week. Usually Mike has written the book before I shoot anything, but this time the process was reversed, so I wasn't sure what the exact content of the book would be as I worked. Below are links to a few of the clips we have posted on YouTube chronicling the adventure.

Friday, September 25, 2009

I had a feeling we were heading for this....

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

I will not read Josh Olson's fucking article!

So please, people, quit sending me the links offline.

I get it. The man is busy.

But so am I. Too busy to read more than the first two paragraphs of that rant.

(Shoe is on the other foot now, J.O.)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Gryphon Books

Gary Lovisi, the man behind Gryphon Books, has republished one of my few short stories, DETOUR DRIVE, in his fine magazine, HARDBOILED (#40), and an interview that Al Guthrie pried out of me a few years ago in PAPERBACK PARADE (#72). Mr. Lovisi has been saying very kind things about my work in his magazines over the last few issues and I'd just like to thank him for the support and give his company a plug here on the mighty JAFO blog. He's got a lot of neat stuff for sale and it can all be found at this e-dress:

Sunday, September 6, 2009

What the Hell? (Robert Ryan edition)

Robert Ryan was only in about 80 films and a handful of TV shows during his long career, yet he seems to be in just about every movie I watch lately.

What the Hell?

Friday, June 19, 2009

Hickey and Boggs

Ever wonder why, dear reader(s?), there are so few posts on JAFO? Probably not. But I digress.

I could lie to you and tell you I'm out "Observing." But the fact is I'm not that comfortable with this blogging stuff. Every time I think I might have something of interest to say, my impulse to share information is overwhelmed by my love of anonymity. Then there is the bottomless pit that is the internet. I have found that almost anything I want to say has already been said by others - and usually better than I can say it. So why bother?

This brings me to HICKEY AND BOGGS, a movie that has, for some odd reason, stayed with me for thirty-plus years now. It's a minor obsession at times. And I've been going through one of those times of late. Something about its stripped down style appeals to me - especially in light of today's diet of overblown, expensive junk hitting the cinema screens.

Well, I watched the flick again a few days ago and was considering a blog post about it, but lo and behold, my buddy at Secret Dead Blog beat me to the punch. Read all about it here:

I posted a reply and a link to a page where you can watch the film for free in his comment sections, so if you want to hear me ramble any more, you'll have to go over there.

Peace out, my bruthas and sistahs.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Another cool idea from David Lynch

Friday, June 5, 2009

David, part 2

Looks like the photo I posted yesterday isn't showing up on some computers. Here's a link to the shot if you want to see it, but can't, on this newfangled blog of mine.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

David Carradine


I wish I could share some stories about my old drinking buddy, David Carradine, but the few I can actually remember aren't fit for public consumption - at least  not this soon after yesterday's tragic event. So I'll just share this shot of us on the set of Armed Response back in 1985 (or 1986). From left to right: That's me, looking dazed and confused in the yellow shirt, director Fred Olen Ray, David, Maxine Shepard (our set decorator), Jesse Long (our script supervisor) and Lee Van Cleef scratching his nose. Fred's trying to explain the script to David and Lee. Despite the fact that I wrote the thing and am less than two feet away, I was not consulted. I guess Fred felt that the bourbon breath I was exhaling disqualified me from partaking in the discussion.

Next time David and I have drinks, I have a feeling they will be Hot Toddys.  Farewell, buddy. While you were here, you sure as hell stomped the terra!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Monkey see, monkey do

That line gets funnier and funnier every day.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Chapter 3

The last chapter of Conflict of Interest is now up and running:

Friday, May 22, 2009

Paperback Parade

I was going to tell you all about Paperback Parade and Gary Lovisi, but Ed Gorman already wrote about it on his blog yesterday. Since I am lazy by nature, Ed has kindly allowed me to quote him here:

"As I've mentioned here several times before Gary Lovisi's Paperback Parade magazine covers material you never see anywhere else. Gary's love of pbs--and their history--has now carried him through seventy two issues. Features in the new #72 include a long and informative interview with novelist Terrill Lankford. Alan Guthrie is a fine interviewer as he shows here. There's are several pages of pb cover art by Paul Lehr, an interesting artist in that he never quite got the credit he deserved though when you see this collection you'll see how important and distinct his work was. Lots of other pb material, too, including a lengthy letter column and plenty of ads for buyers. Buy it.

Dames, Dolls & Delinquents is 200+ pages of full color pb covers of every kind of good girl art. This is a stunning book and a definitive one. Chapter include Sultry Streetwalkers, Deadly Femme Fatales, Women in Peril and Luscious Lesbians. Not only are the covers knock-outs the title are downright deranged: Make Mine a Harlot!, Never Trust A Rich Bitch and the famous Kiss My Fist. If you have any interest in paperback history, you really have to buy this outsize, jam-packed full color book.

Finally, Gary has edited a very cool collection of short stories called Deadly Dames. Modesty forbids me from commenting on my own story here (though I will say that my mom likes it quite a bit) but I will tell you that there are many standouts in this handsome trade pb including those of Max Allan Collins, Vin Packer Wayne Dundee, Michael A. Black and Gary himself among many others. If you like hardboiled fiction, this is for you."

Monday, May 18, 2009

Chapter 2

Chapter Two of Conflict of Interest is now posted on youTube. As always, please watch in HD careful out there.

Attention. Earthlings.

Please. Stop. Using. Single. Words. As. Sentences. Especially. On. Magazine. Covers.

Worst. Literary. Gimmick. Ever!

Enough. Is. Enough. 

We. Get. It. Already.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

What say JAFO?

I've gotten a few off-blog notes asking just exactly what JAFO is. I thought it was fairly common knowledge, but a detailed explanation of the term is probably too rude for blogger. So I will just have to suggest you all pull out your DVD copies of 1983's BLUE THUNDER and take another look (hopefully in HD). The answer my friends, is blowing in the super-helicopter downdrafts.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Porky's - A critical re-evaluation?

During a feverish period of attempted sleep yesterday, I turned on the Fox Movie Channel and watched Bob Clark's PORKY'S for the first time in about twenty years. Now it is probably a big mistake to make your third post on a blog a defense of PORKY'S, but either the sleep deprivation I was suffering or the Jack Daniel's coursing through my veins made me sit up and take this movie far more seriously than its reputation seems to deserve. Yes, it's - at times - crude, silly, and dare I say it? Ham handed. (Sorry.) But PORKY'S has more on its mind than just crotch jokes and revenge fantasies. 

PORKY'S is Bob Clark's bawdy nostalgia film about growing up in the 50s. And while it certainly set a standard for crude humor that many films have since tried to emulate, it also deals with topics as wide ranging as racism, anti-semitism, and child abuse. It packs a lot of serious subplots into its mostly comedic 95 minutes. It's these extra layers of characterization that set the movie apart from the dozens if not hundreds of movies that tried to ride the PORKY'S bandwagon after its massive financial success. It also deals with friendship on a level that is sometimes subtle and other times practically homoerotic (or more precisely, to use a 50s term,  just plain "homo." I wouldn't class the joint up by trying to call it erotic.) Recently the Judd Apatow team have been working this turf and I think they must have all sat through PORKY'S more than once in their lives.

The thing that may have impressed me most about PORKY'S was Bob's casual way with the camera and his ability to fill frames with lots of young actors doing difficult bits without it all seeming stagy (most of the time, at least). It looks effortless. But anyone who has ever tried anything like this will tell you it's not. The movie bounces all over the place, but that is part of its charm.

Yes. Movies are far more technically sophisticated now. (And far more expensive - PORKY'S cost only 4 mill and grossed over 100 million in the U.S. alone. This was back when a hundred million dollars was considered a lot of money.) But PORKY'S retains a strange, almost one of a kind, power to engage the viewer in the lives of people who seem real while at the same time seem to exist as classic caricatures as well.

Full disclosure - I knew Bob Clark - mainly through his long time association with my very good friend Alan Ormsby. We all even worked together on a film called POPCORN back in 1990, a situation that didn't really work out for any of us and put a strain on relationships for a while. But Bob and I were casual acquaintances and I usually got invited to the premieres of his films and I watched him ride the huge wave of success that PORKY'S brought him. I think the movie also cursed him a bit as well. His next film was the classic A CHRISTMAS STORY, but after that he had a very up and down career and I think PORKY'S has a lot to do with it. While he got the initial career boost that a giant hit will bring a director, the crude reputation of the film also stigmatized him in some of the loftier penthouses of Hollywood. (I have a feeling that most of the Hollywood snobs who turned their noses up at PORKY'S never even saw the movie.) 

But the financial success of PORKY'S also gave Bob a sense of self-confidence that was not always warranted. I always felt Bob was a far better director than writer - his early collaborations with Alan Ormsby prove what he could do with a low budget if he had a good script - and once he felt he could write or rewrite everything himself, I think his work suffered. If you watch his films in the order they were made you see a distinct growth in discipline leading up to PORKY'S. But PORKY'S is loose and funky and it worked for that movie (mainly because I think it was a very personal film for Bob), so I think Bob might have thought that looseness would work for every movie. And that did not prove to be the case. Success in Hollywood, like in most fantasy towns, is usually a double edged sword. 

(It should also be noted that when Bob stuck to the script in later years, as he did with an adaptation of Arthur Miller's THE AMERICAN CLOCK, he once again showed great discipline and form.)

Bob and his son were killed by a drunk driver a few years ago while driving late at night on the Pacific Coast Highway. While he was alive he made a lot of movies, some of them good, some of them bad, some successful, and some far from it. A couple were classics of their genres. PORKY'S was a big hit and it is funny as hell. I think it's also a pretty darn good movie as well.

Conflict of Interest

Too must....tell...blogees...about....Conflict of Interest....

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Michael Connelly's THE SCARECROW

Michael Connelly has a new book coming out at the end of the month called "The Scarecrow." It's Mike writing at the top of his form and features both Jack McEvoy and Rachel Walling as the protagonists. 

Recently we shot a promo for the book out in the blazing hot Nevada desert. Check it out!

We have a very large project related to "The Scarecrow" that will hit the web in the next week or two. Stay tuned to this blog to hear more.

As always,

your faithful servant, TL