EppsNet Archive: David Mamet

David Mamet on Acting


When they were shooting Casablanca . . . someone comes to [Humphrey Bogart] and says, “they want to play the ‘Marseillaise,’ what should we do? — the Nazis are here and we shouldn’t be playing the ‘Marseillaise.’” Humphrey Bogart just nods to the band, we cut to the band, and they start playing “bah-bah-bah-bah.” Someone asked what he did to make that beautiful scene work. He says, “they called me in one day, Michael Curtiz, the director, said, ‘stand on that balcony over there, and when I say “action” take a beat and nod,’” which he did. That’s great acting. Why? What more could he possibly have done? He was required to nod, he nodded. There you have it. The audience is terribly moved by his simple restraint in an emotional situation — and this is the essence of good theater: good theater is people doing extraordinarily moving tasks as… Read more →

Thinking on Your Feet


I can forgive someone who lies, but if he can’t think on his feet, he has no business representing my interests. If he can’t lie to me, how can I expect him to lie, on my behalf, to the other guy? — David Mamet, The Secret Knowledge Read more →

Good Causes


The Good Causes of the Left may generally be compared to NASCAR; they offer the diversion of watching things go excitingly around in a circle, getting nowhere. — David Mamet, The Secret Knowledge Read more →

The War on Poverty is 50 Years Old


The New York Times has an update from McDowell County, West Virginia, on how the War on Poverty is going after 50 years . . . Of West Virginia’s 55 counties, McDowell has the lowest median household income, $22,000; the worst childhood obesity rate; and the highest teenage birthrate. It is also reeling from prescription drug abuse. The death rate from overdoses is more than eight times the national average. Of the 115 babies born in 2011 at Welch Community Hospital, over 40 had been exposed to drugs. . . . Many in McDowell County acknowledge that depending on government benefits has become a way of life, passed from generation to generation. Nearly 47 percent of personal income in the county is from Social Security, disability insurance, food stamps and other federal programs. . . . The poverty rate, 50 percent in 1960, declined – partly as a result of… Read more →

EppsNet at the Movies


Thanks to Netflix, I’m catching up on movies that I never got around to seeing. It’s a long list because I don’t see a lot of movies. Almost Famous With the exception of the boy’s mom, there aren’t any interesting characters in this movie. It’s like spending two hours with uninteresting people. The Lester Bangs character doesn’t count because Lester Bangs was an actual person who was interesting in real life. You don’t get credit as a writer/filmmaker for creating an interesting Lester Bangs character. Cameron Crowe seems to have learned his directorial style from an Olive Garden commercial. Great soundtrack. Rating: Blah. The Big Lebowski Look at the scene and ask yourself “Is it dramatic? Is it essential? Does it advance the plot? Answer truthfully. If the answer is “No” write it again or throw it out. — David Mamet This movie has interesting characters and snappy dialogue. I… Read more →