Saturday, June 28, 2008

You Don't Mess with the Zohan

You Don't Mess with the Zohan starts out with an interesting premise, in fact inspired by true life story of a trio Israeli commandos who became hair dressers in California.

However, the movie unravels like teenage juvenile fantasy writing. Starting with the opening, it opens like an Israeli tourism ad, showing bikini babes on the beaches of Israel. Following it, the theatrics of how skillful Zohan is is over the top with a heavy sprinkling of special effects.

The plot is predictable and tries to be politically correct, to spread a message of peace between Israelis and Palestinians. In the wake of Mel Gibson's drunken anti-semitic outburst, it snipes him and his movies a couple of times, which I didn't appreciate since I do like his movies.

There's really nothing new here in this movie. I wasted my money watching this. Rent this movie only if you really have nothing to do except to watch Adam Sandler in his newly buffed body.

One and a half stars out of five.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Creating Characters

jack_sparrow.jpgA good character in your movie script can do wonders for you to sell it.

Meryl Streep practically begged for the title role in Sophie's Choice. And Captain Jack Sparrow played by Johnny Depp saved the movie Pirates of the Caribbean.

Your character should be so unforgettable, so unique that it carries the movie across. A good character is multi-dimensional with strengths and flaws.

A good character has a rich history, a biography that forms his emotional life. What is his birth like? Childhood? Defining incidents in life? Education?

Next, what is his professional life, his personal life and his private life?


  • Professional: What is his job? Are they sad/happy about it? Etc.

  • Personal: Marital status, friends, hobbies, etc.

  • Private: What does he do alone? Pray? Exercise?



A good character is active not passive. He acts not just reacts to the situation around him.

Four things that make a good character:


  • Dramatic Need: What does he/she want?

  • Point of View: How does he/she view the world? Anne Frank would differ from HItler

  • Attitude: How they feel and act, their opinions that shape their decisions.

  • Change: During your screenplay, what change do they undergo?



Every scene, every interaction reveals some aspect of your character. "What is character but the determination of incident? And what is incident but the illumination of character?" - Henry James.

Being Better

In a game between England and Germany and both sets of supporters pray to God for a win, whose prayers will God answer?

If we pray to win, aren't we praying for the other party to lose? If we pray to be rich, aren't we praying that at least 51% of the world is poorer than us?

The human condition likes to compare itself with another.

Instead of asking to be better than someone else, we should consider being better than ourselves, so that the person we are today is better than the person we were yesterday.

An elite marathon runner runs a marathon in about 2 hours 15 minutes. I run a marathon in 6 hours 20 minutes. I don't need to compare myself with them. I can only compare myself with my previous time.

Life is about becoming the best person you can be.

Being a better husband, lover, than yesterday. Being the most confident, most assured, most knowledgeable, most competent person.

Each day, I should behave in a manner better than what I was yesterday. That's another reason why we should journal. We evaluate who we are at the end of each day and consider how we can become better the next.

Coming back to England and Germany. I am reminded of Olympic sprinter and missionary Eric Liddell's prayer when someone asked him whether he ever prays to win. "I dont pray to win. I pray that God may be glorified."

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Question I Would Ask Bill Gates

If I had the chance to pose a question to Bill Gates, it would be this:

"What is business ethics to you? What are the values you would define for ethics? What do you consider 'fair'?"

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Question I Would ask Lee Kuan Yew

The question I would ask Lee Kuan Yew, if given a chance is:

"If you were born in Nazi Germany would you have led a rebellion to resist and defeat Hitler? Or rather, how would you resist evil? What is evil to you? Is dictatorship evil? How would you define dictatorship?"

Monday, June 23, 2008

Western Religion

Don't you find it interesting that people call Christianity a Western religion when it originates from a guy who was born and bred in the Middle East?

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Happiness and Money

Sometimes I wonder, why is it that when people chase after money so that they can become happy, they become even more unhappy?