Re: City Island. Click on the above to read the marvelously positive notice about our movie in Film Comment magazine. Film Comment, snootiest of the snooty cinema rags, has never before (to my knowlege) deigned to write about one of my films. So Amy Taubin's excellent piece is a real thrill for me.

Re: our "sponsor screening" the other night. The Tribeca Film Festival gave a little party for the executives who work for the various companies who sponsored the festival--Amex, Snapple, Heineken, Delta Airlines etc. were all represented. Our movie was the chosen entertainment--and Julianna Margulies and I showed up and did a little Q&A. Thank you to Tribeca for picking us and thank you Julianna for coming out for the movie once again--a peach of a pro. Click here for pictures of the event.

crowe Re: Cameron Crowe and "jazz abuse". Here's a very articulate post I dug up, reprinted with no permission whatsoever, written by somebody identified only as "lunacymusic"--it was on the IMDB discussion board for "Jerry McGuire". Before fanning the flames of this not very controversial controversy, let me add that I love the movie "Jerry McGuire" and even really like Crowe's ode to the rock he adores (and that I abhor) "Almost Famous". This is a very good summary of Crowe's most egregious jazz bitch-slap--the unfortunate "jazz nerd baby sitter" sub plot. Viz:

I find it curious that Crowe would blemish an otherwise very entertaining movie with unecessary digs at jazz. I cringe everytime it gets to the part with the male babysitter; he's portayed as a complete anti-social jazz nerd. When he says that he's gonna teach the kid about jazz (something that I think the kid would benefit from), Dorothy says something like, "That'll put him to sleep, for sure." I have kids and they've always loved jazz their whole lives and never went to sleep on it, unless they were already tired. And then the real idiotic part is when the babysitter tries to give Jerry some music that is supposed to "romance" Dorothy - so he gives him Miles and Trane in Stockholm, music that was recorded when Trane was in a transitional, searching period in his career. Not romantic background music, to be sure. The kicker, of course, is that when Jerry takes his advice and plays the CD, it ISN'T Miles in Stockholm; the source music that they use is actually Mingus - "Haitian Fight Song" - another intense and serious jazz composition. Finally, an exasperated Jerry says, "What IS this music??", at which point we then hear some lame, tired, and tepid "indie" sounding pop song.

My point is that jazz is an American art form that everybody in the world recognizes as important, except here in America. Cameron Crowe may look at jazz as "elitist egghead music"; he certainly portrays it as such. Likewise, a jazz musician (which I am) may look at Cameron as a film maker, who has neither the inclination, capacity, nor attention-span to understand jazz.

Thank you, lunacymusic, whoever you are.

Re: the Woody Allen clip I posted last time. I still don't know quite what its from (it feels like raw footage--unedited that is--for a TV profile piece). As always with New York footage, the primary joy for me are the period (in this case mid-sixties) views of the Upper East Side--the neighborhood I live in by the way--where Woody has always lived/worked. We see the brownstone on East 79th that he then inhabited--the apartment was (is) a duplex in an old five story house. Later Woody moved to the fabled penthouse on Fifth Avenue and 74th--the views of Manhattan seen in the magnificent opening montage of "Manhattan" were shot from the terraces of that apartment.

cavett When he left 79th Street, he gave the lease of that apartment over to Dick Cavett, who continues to live there to this day. Jim Gavin and I shot a wonderful interview with the very witty and erudite Mr. Cavett a few months ago and then walked him home. He told us that his apartment had formerly been Woody's and then mused: "I always liked saying 'we took the Woody Allen place'--the way people in Hollywood used to say 'we took the Gable and Lombard place'. Wouldn't it be great if somebody said, 'We took the Leo Gorcey place'?" For those of you who know who Leo Gorcey is, this is prime Cavettian humor...

The not so upbeat ending of our "Two Family House" saga will follow shortly (and Cameron Crowe once again figures into the action...). Below, Woody and Dick--old pals and not yet landlord and tenant?--jaw it up on Cavett's network TV program from the early seventies.

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  1. I agree with you that the Jerry McGuire "establish the loser by making him be into jazz" gag is a cheap one that panders to mainstream American's "I don't like it, it's weird" prejudices.

    As for "abhoring" rock and roll, let's just agree to disagree. The best of all music, be it rock or jazz or country or Oh-my-God even rap, burns at the core with passion and invention. Many people, when you ask what kind of music they like, will reply with "All kinds." But when you press them on it--"Opera? Do you like opera?"--they'll reply, "Well, not opera. Opera's kinda boring." "How about country?" "Well, not country either, it's all cheating and beer-drinking songs."

    I believe that portions of Madame Butterfly elicit as much raw power as Iggy Pop, that Willie Nelson is every bit as soulful as Ray Charles, that the wit and sophistication in the lyrics and melodies of Cole Porter may never be surpassed. I believe that a jazz pianist who has trained and studied every day of his waking life is capable of creating worse music than a guy who learned to play three chords on a beat-up Strat three days ago.

    I think Stardust by Hoagie Carmichael is a masterpiece. I feel the same way about Gimme Shelter by the Rolling Stones.

    It's the same with movies. Those who won't rent anything older than last summer's blockbuster because "old movies are boring" are denying themselves pleasure. Those who won't go to a Pixar movie because it's "for kids" are denying themselves humanity. Denying oneself anything in this too-short lifespan is a waste of precious time.

    Thus endeth the sermon.

    Can you tell I'm between jobs right now?

  2. Jazz just is not Jazzy enough
    for most folks. I'm a Blues man
    myself.Eric Clapton, funk ,Music
    for me is to listen to not for
    sound filler in the home. I am one of the few who know that Frank
    Sinatra had a great style and voice
    but did not enjoy hearing him sing.
    I just do not get people with listening to so
    much music while doing something else such as jog...BOOM BOXES AHHHH
    Just walking through the woods
    or the quiet of the country air..
    now people have to have something stuck in there ear making noise..
    to each his own....

  3. Jazz? Awful noise! It's not music. Music is a lilting melody with a clever story told in verse. Ask anyone, you'll see.

  4. @W.S.Gilbert-Jazz IS music, music for morons!

  5. @Daniel--'Can you tell I'm between jobs right now?'
    YES!!!!! Get a job!

  6. Easy, trolls.

    I just posted a few paragraphs against deliberate narrow-mindedness. Didn't expect rebuttals in favor of it.

    Those of us who work in the film business are always either in between jobs or working insane hours on the jobs we have. Not a complaint, it's the way of our world.

    Friggin' trolls....

  7. You tell em' Daniel! I applaud your vigor!

    In my day, of course, we worked all the time. We took every job offered, not like today, you kids are so selective, but good luck to you and keep up the fight!

  8. In spite of being a musichead for most of my life, I too have begun to wonder why we need something playing in our ears at all times. The "i-pod as a way of life" thing puzzles me--don't we value the natural white noise of life at all anymore? Similarly with cell phones on the street: we used to hide in private booths to make public phone calls, now we shout whatever is on our minds into the cell while walking around. What about a nice walk where we take in our surroundings, live with our thoughts and don't listen to music? Is it all so dreadful that we need to control our own soundtracks at all times?

    Daniel: I'm with you actually. Take a bite of everything at the table. Try it all. Life is short. Though, truth be told, Iggy Pop blows, guys who learned three chords on their Strat three days ago suck and most rock is for demented nine year olds. But you're dead on about Hoagy and Cole. :-)

    BTW, I'm getting the distinct impression that we have one troll with multiple screen names. Any thoughts about that?

  9. I think it's the same "witty" troll as the Addison DeWitt character from a few weeks ago.

    As for your put-downs of Iggy Pop and rock in general: you know I love and respect you Ray, but don't make me get with my posse of Cameron Crowe and Michelle Rodriguez to come over and "educate" you, if you know what I'm sayin'....

  10. What a great review. I love seeing praise for this movie that I'm so eagerly anticipating. I do have a question though...I know there were Q&As at Tribeca when you screened the film and you mention that there was one with you and Julianna at this particular screening. Are these available anywhere to see or read in a transcript? I'd love to hear what what was said.

  11. The International Alliance of Moronic Nine Year OldsJuly 4, 2009 at 3:19 PM

    We would like to voice our objections to Mister DeFelitta's comments. That is all.

  12. Me and me mates Paul McCartney, David Bowie, Stevie Wonder, Bruce Springsteen, Tina Turner, Bono, Eddie Van Halen, Chrissie Hynde, Bono, Eddie Vedder, Green Day, etc., will be holding a massive concert event this summer, USA Against Raymond. All proceeds go to the International Alliance of Moronic Nine Year Olds.

    Details to follow.

  13. Fourth of July brought out all the fire works I see....Lets kiss and
    make up its only life....ciao
    I send you all a hug....

  14. Hmmm I never thought of "Jerry MCguire" and jazz in that way before. Thanks Raymond for posting this lol

    Have a great week all

  15. PS Daniel I enjoy reading your comments as much as I enjoy reading this blog!


  16. To those who are wondering about the sudden influx of trolls...Write your prejudices with comments to the following and we'll see what becomes of it all...


    (ps-AB--some new friends in the offing?)



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    I'm also still very interested in hearing anything more you can share on the movie. You've told us previously what your favorite scene with Andy way, but what about the rest of your main characters? I'd love to hear what scene stood out most for you with each of them.

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