Ok. There isn’t a website. There’s a MySpace page in tribute of the man – but no one ever really talks about him. I want to begin an open forum about any Cassavetes film. Anything goes. More people need to talk Cassavetes. And what better place for it to begin but here.
Dude look around the site believe we me we’ve have talked about cassavetes, catch the doc on him titled a constant forge. A must see for any aspiring actor:)
john cassavetes is my favourite aspect of cinema full stop. i wrote my dissertation on him, and you wouldnt believe how difficult it was finding research matter on the guy. granted this was three years ago now, and an official (of sorts) biography has finally been published, but his recognition is still ridiculously low.
Eh. The information on other websites isn’t fun and engaging. The point of this forum, or atleast I’d like it to be, a place where people are coming to talk Cassavetes…and it’s a forum I started. That’s all.
I’ve seen “A Constant Forge”. I own the Criterion Boxed set. I’m a huge fan. We’ve been lucky in the last few years to get “Forge”, and the book that Marshall Fine wrote. What we need is a “Husbands” DVD.
I felt bad for not liking Shadows. Was I missing something? Should I give him a second chance?
Yeah husbands is a must i’m surpirsed criterion hasn’t put it out:) But have you looked around other forums on this site that talked about cassavettes.
Don’t feel bad if you don’t like “Shadows”. If you have a problem with “A Woman Under the Influence”, then there’s no hope. :)
I liked Shadows more the second time I saw it. The first viewing was shortly after I saw Faces and Opening Night so I expected it to be at least almost as amazing as those bad boys, which is pretty unfair considering it was made by a much less experienced filmmaker. It’s a simple, innovative picture made with tenderness.
Criterion hasn’t put out Husbands because Sony made it too expensive or something but it’s coming out in 2009 as part of their Martini Movie Collection along with a bunch of mediocre swingin’ sixties caper movies they had in a dusty vault. It’s already out in Germany. The downside is that instead of having special features that could’ve included The Making of Husbands, at least an hour of deleted scenes, commentary by Ray Carney, and multiple TV appearences by Cassavetes, Falk, and Gazzara promoting the film, it has directions on how to make a tasty beverage. All a part of the collection’s gimmick. Ain’t that the be all to end all?!
And apparently it’s shorter than the already butchered VHS version. I’m hoping to God/Allah/Elvis that they fix that for the U.S. print and maybe just MAYBE they’ll restore to it to the 154 minute version (AKA the director’s cut), but that’s a huge long-shot. I’ll be more than content with the 138 minute joint.
A friend of mine let me borrow his criterion box set. I watched four of them in the span of a few weeks. I was happy to take it all in at once. I was blown away when I watched “A Woman Under the Influence”. Gena Rowlands gave what I think might be one of the greatest performances in film history.
No question about Gena. I saw the film at the theater when I was in high school and I was still blown away by it 20 years later. Otherwise, I tend to like the idea of Cassavetes more than the actual experience of watching him. He’s an indie hero, a man who did it his way and let nothing stand in his way, but I find a lot of his films just impossible to sit through. I’ve never been able to finish “Faces,” if only because all that improv acting just looks more and more fake and self-indulgent as it goes along, and rather far removed from whatever reality the director is trying to reflect.
Agreed. I did finish “Faces”, but it wasn’t easy. I find it easy to notice the errors in his work, whether they’re purposeful or not. Errors are usually okay, but I would agree with what you said about having difficulty sitting through them. Still, Cassavetes is (and always will be) a hero of sorts. There’s no denying that his work was important and influential.
I wrote a letter to Gena Rowlands when he died. She sent a little card back and I still have it on my bulletin board. One other thing I should have pointed out: I tend to love him as an actor, particularly in Elaine May’s “Mikey and Nicky.”
Gena Rowlands is beauty personified. Her acting in opening night is a study in brilliant instinct acting. One of the riskier perofmarnces a female lead has ever attempted.
She’s also great in “Love Streams,” a late Cassavetes film that is quite moving.
Mikey and Nicky is one of my favorite movies. Cassavetes and Falk are amazing in it. Faces wasn’t improvised though.
Ray Carney’s pages are unassuming but probably the closest thing to an official Cassavetes website: http://people.bu.edu/rcarney. He’s one of my favorite film critics and generally considered the authority on all things Cassavetes. The only reason the uncut version of Husbands (featuring the infamous barroom song sequence) actually exists still in print is thanks to Carney.
I’ve seen “Mikey and Nicky” more times than any other movie I can think of, and Cassavetes’ performance in it is to my mind the best ever captured on film. Better than Brando, better than DeNiro, better than you-name-it.
The Cassavetes’ box set is, by far, the best investment in my dvd collection I have ever made. It is a lynch pin in my collection. I blind bought it. Constant Forge is just an amazing doc. I haven’t been able to get through Opening Night, though. Woman Under the Influence… rips the heart out. Its such an amazing film and its so hard to watch, not because its bad, but but because it is so good. I think KIlling of a Chinese Bookie is my favorite of the box set.
Yeah, I’d vote for more Cassavetes in the collection.
Marcus – Thanks for the update about “Husbands”. I saw “$” as a part of that “Martini Collection” the other day – and wondered why “Husbands” isn’t out. Sucky that it’s going to be under that umbrella.
“Mikey & Nicky” – For those of you who have seen it…one of the best, horrific endings ever.
another great topic for discussion. I just hope that there will be sub-categories under each of these topics eventually instead of one long thread with 454 posts. Anyway, I found a copy of Minnie and Moskowitz on VHS and that’s another under-appreciated movie. It’s actually pretty enjoyable since it’s not nearly as heavy-going as some of the Criterion boxset films. I really think Gena R was the most talented actress of the period, and Seymour Cassel is woefully unknown by the great unwashed masses.
Yeah, unless you point out that he’s Max Fischer’s dad.
Or Dusty the Doorman…
John Cassavetes is my favorite director of all time. Looking forward to Husbands release.
1. The Killing Chinese Bookie
3. Minnie and Moskowitz
4. A Woman Under the Influence
That’s very interesting news about HUSBANDS on DVD. Figured the were some contractual and cash issues going on there. But, really, how confused are people going to be who buy the boxed set just on the Martini/swingin’ films gimmick alone? HUSBANDS remains (and likely will for a long time) one of the most surreal movie-watching experiences I’ve ever had. Pitch-black comedy.
I loved “Shadows” and “Opening Night”, but “Chinese Bookie” was a huge disappointment for me. Cassavetes is a challenging watch, but one that is always worthwhile. I love the fact that it always feels like there is so much life poured in his films. For me, “Shadows” is one of the great films of the last 50 years, and to capture on film what Cassavetes did was amazing. The intimacy of those conversations, and the emotions that the film goes through still astounds me everytime I watch it. Gena is always mesmerising and “Gloria” should be accorded more respect too.
i only know cassavetes for his acting in the noir-inspired tv show “johnny staccato”. i havent seen a single of his films yet.
Bobby Wise: It may be an act of self-flagellation, but at least once a decade I’ll pull out the collected John Cassavetes and watch most of them again. Faces, A Woman Under the Influence, Opening Night. (I’ve dropped Husbands from the list because its joke has grown tired. And I don’t own a copy of Minnine and Moskowitz and my memory of it is poor.)
Should you watch these things? Maybe Faces would be a good first test: a mess of a “home-movie” with its poor soundtrack, often unintelligible dialog, and the crazy 16 mm camera racing behind our characters or out onto the dance floor with them, to dizzily dance. Your reward for enduring all of this is a dose of cold reality slapped across your face. You’ll also have the opportunity to watch a few interesting method actors at play. And you’ll be introduced to Gena Rowlands.
Rowlands was more than Cassavetes partner in marriage. She was his muse, his inspiration, and she was a dyed-in-the-wool actress who allowed even his more dubious experiments to be watchable. Shadows should also be mentioned, his first experiment, but this one without Rowlands.
And then that oddity (also without Rowlands) which has evolved into my own favorite Cassavetes: The Killing of a Chinese Bookie. Cosmo Vitelli (Ben Gazzara), impresario of the baroque strip joint, The Crazy Horse West, a fragile, female-dependent, almost Hamlet-like figure who is put to a difficult test.
Everyone enters Cassavetes’ world through their own door, but it is clearly a distinct world, a unified body of work like no other.
“Mikey and Nicky” was written and directed by Elaine May. It’s a dramatization of an event that happened in her own family. And in once sequence Mike Nichols is referred to.
But because she let Cassavetes and Falk paly the parts the way they wanted to play them it has the look and feel of a Cassavetes film.
I have the script, btw, and there was no verbal improvisation whatsoever.
Here’s a scene from “Mikey and Nicky”
“Izzy” is Mike Nichols