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November 09 2007

Still More Purple Prose: 5 Great Strike Movies. Joss cannot get out of bed. Neither can he shut up.


Hi campers (and people not currently camping)! Still phegmtastic, but wanted to say a quick thanks to Dreamlogic (I will not reveal her real name here, for I know she has many enemies) (which is weird ‘cause she seems nice enough) for bringing the sign and the food and the love yesterday. The place was mobbed, and in addition to Drew and Marti I got to hang with BKV, and Liz Craft and Sarah Fain (Women’s Murder Club – Catch it! When it comes back!) and many other fine folk. And yes, there was talk of a Buffy picket (or really a Mutant Enemy picket) being set up when I’m not sick and Tim’s not on jury duty.

Since I don’t have any real news and don’t feel like waxing poetical (can you bikini wax poetical?) (like short, painful prose that reads real smooth after?) I’ve decided to list my five (off the top of my congested head) favorite strike movies, to get us all in the proper frame of mind. Hopefully, none of them can be downloaded.


#5: BILLY ELLIOT. This is primarily about a boy who wants to dance, but the backdrop is the miner’s strike in Manchester in the 80’s, and it’s gritty and tough and depressing and uplifting. (Thatcher and Reagan really got the ball rolling on anti-unionism. Thanks, guys!)

#4: DAY OF THE DEAD. Okay, not a strike movie. And it’s a stretch as an allegory, but it’s not a stretch to find a critique of capitalism laid out in it. Expanding (as Romero always did) on ‘Dawn of the Dead’s themes of mindless consumerism and conformity (zombies outside the mall) and ‘living the American dream’ of pointless acquisition (people living IN the mall), Romero takes us here to the bleak end of that scenario, where the ‘haves’ (soldiers and scientists) are holed up in a cave with acres of trailers and boats and goodies – all of them useless – going completely insane while the ‘have-nots’ (zombies) are left outside or kept in a pen, the lucky few being fed the occasional dead person. The zombies are much more sympathetic than the humans, especially ‘Bub’ (the unforgettable Sherman Howard), who is being tested and showing signs of humanity, and who becomes the ‘voice’ of the starving (okay, for brains) masses. I myself am a capitalist, but like any system, taken to its extreme it’s unfair, untenable and results in the destruction of the system. And what is this fight about if not capitalism at its untenable extreme? How much money do these corporations need to take from us? Seriously. In what way can our basic rights actually damage them? Have they ever said “We can’t guarantee you fair residuals on all media because of such and such, because it will lead to this and that?” What, exactly, is their position besides “Nuh-uh”? The bile riseth. So I have no problem including a film with entrail-munching on my list.

#3: NORMA RAE. Duh. ‘Sides, Sally Field was on the picket lines yesterday. Yay her.

#2: NEWSIES. Oh, you knew this was coming. The wonderful irony of Disney making a children’s fable about the power of workers’ unions was lost on me when I first saw it (it was not lost on the L.A Weekly). The politics of this film are clear, intelligent and uplifting. And the songs are catchy. And Batman’s in it. (And hearing my children walking around the house singing “No one can make us give our rights away” makes all of this a lot easier.) Is it dorky? YOU’RE dorky! Dork.

#1: MATEWAN. This is one of my favorite movies, period. John Sayles captures a coal miners’ strike from the thirties with beauty and pain and extraordinary verite. He also captures Chris Cooper, Mary McDonnell and David Strathairn long before they were well known, in indelible performances. And you don’t know what contempt is until you’ve heard James Earl Jones use his James Earl Jones voice to spit out the word “scab”. A classic. (Fun fact: Kevin Tighe plays a heavy in this AND ‘Newsies’. Have a Kevin-Tighe-is-a-meanie double bill!)

There! Now you can makes some popcorn, cosy up on the couch and get all strikey! I’ll check back in when I’ve got actual news, or any leads on Dreamlogic’s many enemies. (Wait a minute… didn’t I see her talking heatedly with TrollLogic?) Let me know if there's any good movies I missed.

Parenthetically (seriously, what’s up with that?), –j.

[ edited by zeitgeist on 2007-11-09 17:54 ]

I hope you feel better soon! And best of luck with the strike. We're all rooting for you and the WGA. You and the other writers are who make television worth watching and I hope this strike makes more people realize that. Get well soon!

[ edited by fizz6kitty on 2007-11-09 07:39 ]
Joss, if you've never seen, watch Cradle Will Rock (not to be confused with The Hand That Rocks the Cradle, an entirely different beast), written and directed by Tim Robbins. Art, theater, labor, vaudeville. Awesomeness. And one of the best final shots in any movie, ever.

Also, I hope Tim shares jury duty stories.

[ edited by theonetruebix on 2007-11-09 07:06 ]
phlegm, bile and day-seizing ... where do I sign up?! :D

I suppose if there's one upside to this whole mess, it's us getting to see the Boss more often!

Hope you feel better, Joss, and please keep us in the loop on the Buffy day so fans4writers can organize something suitably Whedonesque, as it were.
Thanks for the reminder of some great films. I will have to update my Quickflix queue. (Australia's answer to Netflix)
It's not a movie, but there's also the Battlestar Galactica episode "Dirty Hands".

Edited the link to one with a cooler and more relevant image, and it also includes the writing credit lexigeek points out below.

[ edited by jam2 on 2007-11-09 07:27 ]
Joss, oh Joss, I have wonderful images in my head of your children running amongst the crowd of writers tomorrow singing about rights dressed in turn of the century lower class rags.

Not that I normally think of your children as borderline destitute. Just right now, and Tuesdays. }-)~

[ edited by bobw1o on 2007-11-09 07:16 ]
It's not a movie, but there's also the Battlestar Galactica episode "Dirty Hands".

Written by our very own Jane Espenson, no less!
I've sent 'Newsies' to the top of my netflix queue; I've never been so much into strike movies, more rousing to me are the out and out rebellion films:
V is for Vendetta
But I guess I'll have to settle for Union Solidarity (does 'Pajama Game' count?).

Give us a few days lead time on the Mutant Enemy day, if you can, because I am definitely hoping to be there (and I swear I'm not dreamlogic's enemy).
Cradle Will Rock! Damn! My shame, not having seen it... I used to listen to the album of the revival of the original play as a kid. (You wanna know how old I am? Jerry Orbach played the Angry Young Man.) That brings up the Broadway Musicals Edition of this list. Briefly, and in no order:

The Cradle Will Rock
The Pajama Game
Billy Elliot (the musical)

Will watch 'Cradle'. Possibly in this damned sickbed. (Which is very much like my wellbed, execpt I'm in it more and much crankier.) -j.
Proof that a writer must write, or he starts haunting message boards. :)

The fans are behind you 100%. Down with Blue Sun -- oops, I mean, Down With The People Not Wanting to Fairly Compensate Writers! Up With Nathan Fillion in tight pants -- wait, no, I mean, up with writers. (I always get greedy corporate types confused with greedy corporate types -- not to mention Nathan Fillion confused with Tim Minear. It's a thing.)

Get better soon, Purple God of All Things in the Whedonverse! (Too much, right? I knew that.)

[ edited by Chelleatrix on 2007-11-09 07:23 ]
Day of the Dead is totally my favourite Romero movie. Good call on your part Jossy!
That is the first time I've seen 'Day of the dead' explained as a strike allegory. I will never watch it the same again.
Newsies, I remember seeing that when it was in the movie theatres. I think I was a little young to appreciate the politics of the movie, maybe I should re-watch it now.

Another protest sort of movie, but its not unions per say, but protest against authroity(Nazis) is Swing Kids, man I loved that movie, great dancing and great drama.

[ edited by kurya on 2007-11-09 07:29 ]
Ah, great strike films....."Brassed Off" would be a good one to watch. Not exactly a strike film- I don't think there was a strike in it, been awhile since I watched though, but it does relate to His Purplenesses #5 pick.

Right now I'm imagining WGA members forming their own brass band, it amuses muchly.
Is it dorky? YOU’RE dorky! Dork.

oh ye Gods, truer words never spoken. (Though I'm not a fan of Newsies, or Christian Bale... or Nolan's version of Batman... do I get my dork cred taken away??)

yay! Joss when sick and striking apparently blogs! This is going to be fun.
joss, i must say i give you extra extra amazingness points for mentioning Newsies...:D you continue to make me proud!!!
Day of the Dead? What does that have to do with strikes? God, now I gotta watch it.

Hope you get better soon! Being sick blows, especially when your head feels like it's full of cotton but at least there's a bright side. Your nose isn't made of felt so it won't come off.
Hah! Fiorello!

I grew up singing "A Little Tin Box" as a kid, not having the remotest clue what it was all about.

And I've been singing "Seven and a Half cents" in my head (and out loud, driving my partner to distraction all week. I played a magnificently drunken "Mae" in high school the-ayter.)

Why does the chant "We want the formula" keep ringing in my head?

Oh, yeah, Salt of the Earth.

We want the formula! We want the formula!
Aw, Joss, I wish I'd ever been able to get through Matewan. I know I've tried at least twice. Maybe not hard enough, and I'll try again, after I end my boycott of buying or renting DVDs. In the meantime, to prove that I'm not averse to excellent stories of old time strikes, have you read Daughter of the Hills: A Woman's Part in the Coal Miners Struggle, by Myra Page? If it's out of print, I'll lend you my copy.
And yes, there was talk of a Buffy picket (or really a Mutant Enemy picket) being set up...

Oh, I forgot. I trust someone will come up with a pithy chant that calls upon Buffy explaining that it's about power.

Um, yes, I've been trying to come up with one for the past two days and failing miserably. (I mean, really... "We will walk for hour after hour, Buffy was right that it's about power" just kind of, well, blows.)
No love for The Replacements? ;)
Feel better soon, Joss. I swear, every single one of my female friends has been obsessed with Newsies since it came out. It's way past time I watch it.
Here's hoping that the Powers that Be see sense and realize that, yes, you do need to pay the guy that makes all your money for you. (Well, seriously, where would the tv and movie industry be without writers??) It's about time that writers get a fair cut, and while I may have to fore-go new tv shows and stock up on some DVD-fare, I fully support this strike and hope that it is strong and successful.

Like many others on Whedonesque, I become interested in shows because of the writers (for instance, I will follow Tim Minear to any show that he works on... and they really should stop canceling them all.) You guys rock.
Yeah, I'm all about the writers... but I am in a writing program at film school, so I just assumed I was biased.
What would the internet be without an Internet Petition! If some of us are unable to support the WGA in any other way, the least we can do is get our names on a nice big list of people in support of them.

Thank you, Joss. Thank you for pushing my Netflix queue over 400 movies long now, and for convincing me to get Netflix in the first place, and for writing all that other stuff too. Get well soon!

Support your unions! and your writers! and your writers unions!
I saw Norma Rae when it first came out which just goes to show that I am really old. :P Despite growing up in Detroit, that film probably taught me more about unions and strikes than anything I've seen before or since.

Oh, and please Joss, if you see them again soon, tell Liz and Sarah that there's at least one WMC fan here who's looking forward to a long run! :) (After the strike, of course ;-)
Well, seriously, where would the tv and movie industry be without writers??

I could see tv becoming All About Sports. But hell, even then, some television executive would probably come along and cancel the Superbowl.
Poor jossy,
I hope you're feeling better soon, but it give you time to percolate (like you need it) and rest (like you want it). Also, I love billy elliot, I really cannot sing enough praises to that, otherwise I'm sad to say that i haven't seen any of the rest of those movies (and here come the tomatoes, and fancy scarves) -_-'
Otherwise, I really really hope that the studios come to their senses cuz I can't wait for dollhouse.

Cheers and te deseo salud
Joss, you have your own category now. It's named 'Whedon' for now, because it's not even 8am and I'm still in my jammies. Consider it the label for your purple prose.
hooray! you just completely validated my childhood obsession with the one disney movie that none of my friends ever saw! mr. whedon sir, you're the bestest (for more reasons than that of course, but this is just icing).
The best chants I've heard are actually either reworded pop songs or military marching cadence calls. It occurred to me walking back from the printshop tonight that "Fans support the writers" scans nicely with "We will, we will, rock you." All you need besides that is some stomping and clapping. I also know many cadence calls.
Thanks, Joss, for the movie suggestions. I'll add them to my Netflix queue. I've always dreamed of a movie discussion club lead by our fearless leader. Maybe this is the start... Oh, and get well soon!!
How about F.I.S.T.? Never was a huge Stallone fan, but I really liked him in that. Plus there's Rod Steiger, always a good thing. :)
"Fans support the writers" scans nicely with "We will, we will, rock you."

Damn you. Damn it, damn it. Now I'm going tobe hearing that all night. As I see red dots everywhere. (In-joke, so sorry.)

Meanwhile, how about some fun with Photoshop?
OMG b!x: I LOVE that, I must make it my signature....
Good one, b!x! I like that a lot.
bix, you just made my freakin' day, my friend. :D
The Comic Strip's "Strike!". Al Pacino as Arthur Scargill, can't be beat.

*continues for eternity*
Meanwhile, how about some fun with Photoshop?

Damn, I want the t-shirt. Seriously. Can I post that in my LJ? Who do I give credit to?

[ edited by ElectricSpaceGirl on 2007-11-09 08:22 ]
I sincerely hope, Joss, that you won't mind if I put your strike movie & musical recommend list - and others mentioned and not-yet-mentioned herein - in the link page when I edit and expand it tomorrow? 'Cause I think it's a super dorky dork kindof a good idea.

And I wanna say "Go to bed, old man" but you're not old, and I'm ten years older, so I won't, but I'm thinking sleep and get well...

ETA: yeah, wonderful grr argh-y strikeyness, b!x, with partial credit or maybe residuals to the lexigeek.

[ edited by QuoterGal on 2007-11-09 08:31 ]
An amazing french movie on unions, opposing corporations and individuals and a father and his son, set in the northern part of France: "Human Resources" (it's on Netflix, subtitled in English). It won quite a few awards when it was released a few years ago.

[ edited by Yorick on 2007-11-09 08:37 ]
Well, Joss, can't say I much like either Billy Elliot or Day of the Dead, the only flicks I've seen from your list. Been meaning to see Matewan and Norma Rae for some time...and Newsies intrigues me...

I support you and hope you feel better!

(The Grr, Arrgh pic is great.)
Thanks to theonetruebix for the Grr Argh guy joining the pikcet line. I'll add it to my MySpace.
Who are these MutFans and why do they support the writers' enemy? :)

Thanks for the diem-carping, Joss.
Um, yes, I've been trying to come up with one for the past two days and failing miserably. (I mean, really... "We will walk for hour after hour, Buffy was right that it's about power" just kind of, well, blows.)

Just change the order and make it more chantable:

Buffy was right
share the power
we will walk
hour after hour

It's always kind of annoying to repeat (no variety), but maybe try altering the old democracy chant to say

What should our residuals look like?
(Not what our residuals look like.)

Or, some better version of one of these might work:

4 cents per DVD?
(That's not much for good tv!)
4 cents won't pay our rent
(With nothing from the internet!)

The future's on the internet
(We can't keep making no percent)
Residuals are only fair
(It's our work; where's our share?)

But I figure they can write better Buffy lyrics. ;) And I think I'll stop before I offend the internets.
Thanks for hanging out with us in bed, Joss. It's like a dream come true, only with phlegm! I don't have any strike films to recommend, but your current writer's nasal? block reminds me of Barton Fink, which was possibly the first film I ever saw that gave me a sense of just how miserably hard it might be to write in H'wood. Squeezing drops of blood from one's forehead might be easier.

As a kid, I can remember my father striking along with other members of the CWA union in the early '70's (I think - I'm a little fuzzy on the exact year - but it was before Ma Bell broke up). It was a difficult concept to get my mind around, and a little scary, that he wasn't going to work because of something he believed in, but I respected that his principles meant so much to him that he risked losing the only job he ever had until he retired.

It's been your writing that made me a fan in the first place, but to see your integrity and dedication to writer's rights makes me admire you as a person even more. Be well soon, and take all our wishes for your success back to the front!
"I'll show you the life of the mind!"

FYI, I saw that movie in Chicago, when I was staying at the Lawson YMCA. Try going back there after seeing the scene where John Goodman yells that line.
We challenge you to pistol duels
So that we'll get residuals

Can't you see the words we write
Are worth the same as bits and bytes?

So apparently writing good chants is hard. Who knew?
haha there is a movie called "Strike!" and it has Vincent Kartheiser and Kirsten Dunst in it. As far as I remember it's about a girl school that is on a strike because they wanna turn it into a boy/girl school (not very smart... boys are good ^^). That is actually the only strike movie that comes to my mind right now. but that's probably because it's early and Im at work (and I dont have such a fun job like you) which means Im kinda braindead this early.

But they if you're still striking in Feb. Ill make sure to stop by when Im in LA :) then I would bring you some Germany chocolate.

hope to see you at the bronzer reunion thiny

xoxo nic
I'll donate $5 to the fans4writers fund in honor of the first person to write a good strike chant which uses the following phrase:

"A wounded dwarf with the mystical strength of a doily."
Oh, dear, after toiling so long on this one, I can't go back and start again! I'll have to save the doily one for a time when I'm not supposed to be working.

Sung very badly and not scanningly to "She Wore A Yellow Ribbon":
Around his neck he wore some fancy neckwear
He wore it in the autumn and in the month of November
And when we asked him why the heck he wore it
He wore it for the writers who the folks at home never remember.
So, bix, I guess, "hey hey, ho ho, A wounded dwarf with the mystical strength of a doily must go" won't cut it, huh?
Let me add to the "Cradle Will Rock" love. Inspiring.
I'm sure everyone else can do better, but how about..

"The studios think we're wounded dwarves
but we think they're oily.
We are strong cuz we have
the mystical strength of a doily"

I changed it after someone pointed out what it really said. So I changed it. I still think anyone else can do better.

[ edited by impalergeneral on 2007-11-09 10:01 ]

[ edited by impalergeneral on 2007-11-09 10:02 ]
Er, it's a doily, not a dolly. ;) This is an important distinction cuz everyone knows how mystically stronger than dollies doilies are. o.O
"A wounded dwarf with the mystical strength of a doily,
was there to make noise for his rights,
to get paid for the stories he was writing,
to get a fair share for the world he was creating,
he won't leave the picket line until he is treated alright!"

well, here is my try. be gentle... it is early and Im at work. ;)
... everyone knows how mystically stronger than dollies doilies are.

I'm fairly sure that sentence violates some part of the Geneva Convention. Ow.
A wounded dwarf with the mystical strength of a doily
Attempted to reason with executives so oily
They had the notion
Web stuff was "promotion."
The dwarf couldn't believe that it was fucked up so royally.
None of you have a usable understanding of how scansion goes with marching. It has to be either one or two lines, easily remembered, or call and answer. It has to have a strong beat that goes with a footfall, either left or right, military is left. Picture yourselves having to teach these to a large crowd, most of whom were never in band or choir.
Oh, I only went with SWAYR because it's classic cadence, but I couldn't figure out how to shoehorn "folks at home never remember" into the space taken up by "far away" so I stopped while I was ahead. Of a dwarf. Wearing a doily. ;)
I missed all the limericks. Those have to go on signs. They're not march-able, but should surely be included.
A wounded dwarf with the mystical strength of a doily
Is all you'll be if you don't give us our royalties!

*shakes head* :P
"A wounded dwarf with the mystical strength of a doily,
is what you need for good tv."

I think Ill give up... lol
Definitely not march-able, but Polter-Cow, yours was the only one that made me laugh out loud :)

Joss, please get well soon. That involves being patient and resting until you're really all better. And for whileing away the bed-ridden hours, there are these three really awesome TV series' on DVD .... Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel and Firefly ;)

For anyone who hasn't ever seen Matewan, have a box of tissues nearby and prepare to feel you've been punched in the gut, hard and repeatedly. It's masterful & oh so worthwhile, but not easy to take.
What do we want ?
The Mystical Strength of a Doily !
When do we want it ?
Just after we get our residuals you fuckers !

Admittedly not catchy but "to the point" has to count for something right ?

Strike movies ... hmmm. "The Empire Strikes Back" or "Jackie Chan's First Strike" are my nominations ... Err, could you repeat the question ?

("The Proud Valley" isn't bad from what I remember, not seen it in donkey's years - it's about a Welsh mining village, quite old, might be hard to find. Or "Boys From the Blackstuff" is an utter classic of British TV - not about a strike, more about what happens when "they" walk all over you. About the most damning indictment of the Thatcher government you'll see and a pretty good argument for why fiction is as important as fighting terrorism or curing cancer)

And I am dreamlogic's "Enemy (Mine" that is i.e. if we were ever stranded on an alien planet together we would eventually overcome our differences and work together to survive. Also, i'm a lizard).

And *doffs hat* to Simon for mentioning 'Strike !" by the Comic Strip, hi-larious. Thanks to that film in my mind industrial unrest, starving children and the vilification of the working class will always mean wacky hijinks and hilarity ensuing. Fun fun fun !
Phlegm? Yeuk!! Hope it goes away soon. I have a strike movie to add to your list. Unfortunately, it didn't do as well at the box office as it should have. It is a classic. Allegedly, "they didn't get it in America" but I know Joss will. The film is Brassed Off, set during the massive pit closures in the mid-80s, it's the story of a colliery brass band trying to keep hope and the band together as the men are tossed on the employment scrap heap. It'll make you angry, it'll make you laugh lots and it'll break your heart - oh and that brass band music...! It stars Pete Postlethwaite, Tara Fitzgerald and Ewan McGregor as well as a load of stalwarts of British TV and film.
What was that about Mute Enemy? The chants will be silent but at least Joss can cough a good tune.
A couple more great strike films - Germinal, the Claude Berri directed adaptation of Zola's novel; long and grim yet strangely uplifting. And, of course, Sergei Eisenstein's first film Strike, silent and Russian from 1925, it still packs a punch. I was lucky enough to see it on the big screen with a live musical accompaniment - ah, great film days!

Matewan is a wonderful film and the appearance of Mary McDonnell and John Sayles in the same sentence allows me, I hope, to mention another favourite of mine, Passion Fish, nothing to do with strikes - just a great movie.

Get well soon, Joss.
The British period drama 'North and South' is a great mini-series about a miners strike, centered around a variety of characters separated by class.

The first episode drags, but the second episode is brilliant.

Good luck Joss! Get better and please keep posting. :)
OK, so I mistook "doily" for "dolly". I blame the font.
But I was thinking about "The Cradle Will Rock", which Joss said was one of his favorite musicals. I saw it on PBS more than 20 years ago, and it's a shame it's not available anywhere. I remember John Houseman saying it was the first time since 1937 the musical had been performed on stage. I'm not sure that's officially true, but it was a great musical. I will look for the movie of the same name, though.

[ edited by impalergeneral on 2007-11-09 12:08 ]
I’m sorry I can’t help myself but in the interests of accuracy, Billy Elliott is not set in Manchester but in the north east in a fictional town in County Durham. And the strike in North and South is in the cotton mills of a fictional town which was modelled after Manchester.

Other British series that deal with strikes include Alan Bleasdale’s GBH and, a childhood favourite of mine, When the Boat Comes In with James Bolam.
Showing yer age there moley75 ;-). The thing that sticks most about WtBCi is the song. And James Bolam being a very un-Likely Lad.
Yay, Matewan love!

There's fire in our hearts, and there's fire in our souls!
But there ain't gonna be no fire in the hole!
Just adding to the MATEWAN love. When I first saw that, I remember thinking (and quite possibly saying out loud; I do that sometimes), "Whoa. There's never been anything like that before."

Still pretty sure my gut reaction was right on that.

Don't really see how I can turn it into a catchy chant, though.
It's like a dream come true, only with phlegm!

You mean your dreams don't involve phlegm? What manner of heretical nonsense is this?! ;) On topic, there're a couple more pics added to the Strike photos that Zack Stentz from TSCC sent in - a new one of the TSCC cast, and two of DB that weren't from Zack (thanks, Jennie!).
My last dream without phlegm was in 1987. It had catarrh though. And an earwax walk-on.
Not a movie- but check out "Pins and Needles", the Ladies Garmet Workers' musical-(even older than I am)-several revivals and an album or two over the years, featuring numbers such as "Better with a Union Man", and "Not Cricket to Picket":

Go home and starve like gentlemen,
Not like a noisy brood.
Real ladies never make a fuss,
Though they lack clothes and food,
And money's never talked about,
For that would be quite rude.
Not cricket, to picket,
Not cricket.
Here in Austin, The Alamo Drafthouse does Newsies sing-a-longs from time to time..totally awesome.
Get well soon, Joss.

That's not an order just a request and hope that you'll feel better as soon as possible.
I just noticed that the bloggers on the writers' website keep referring to the producers as "The Alliance". Amen to that! ;-)

Also, has no one noticed that Tim Minear is on jury duty? Dude, I do NOT want to be that defendant. Please, please, must have more details when they become available! :-D

ETA: I can't spell. Yay me.

[ edited by billz on 2007-11-09 15:17 ]
This is one of the funniest pages I have ever read. The limericks and other prose are making me giggle at my desk. I just hope that no one walking by in this (somewhat stuffy) law firm thinks I've finally gone off the deep end....
The fact that Tim Minear is on jury duty popped out at me too. My mind wet into a little bit of a spin for a minute, imagining that.

"The Comic Strip's "Strike!". Al Pacino as Arthur Scargill, can't be beat.
Simon | November 09, 08:14 CET"

I have looked for some reference to this elsewhere and have not found it. Am I missing a joke?
I once mentioned Newsies to my college roommate, who's from LA. She said, "You know Newsies?! I was *in* Newsies. Her chorus from High School did all the big group songs.

And got a post on
Nothing witty to add. Just wanted to say get well soon.
Joss, very sorry you are sick. Get well soon so the sickbed can be a wellbed again and you can get out of it more.

I love "Matewan." Brilliant movie about how management can absolutely abuse absolute power. Never thought of "Day of the Dead" as a strike allegory before (just thought of it as a narratively ambitious zombie movie), but now that Joss has explained it, it seems like a good analogy.

Saje, a real chant from the Beverly/Fairfax CBS picket line: "One, two, three, four -- give me my money, you jerk!" This chant was repeated occasionally, but never carried very long, due to scanning issues you mentioned. Another was, "No clever slogans until we get our contract!" That actually scanned better.

Whedonesquers on the strike line at above-mentioned location -- Jenny Mollen (Nina the werewolf) showing SAG support on the line. She says she was in Boston for awhile making a movie with Dane Cook and Kate Hudson. Also met David Sobolov, who told me I should rent "Firefly." I explained that I of course *own* the box set and he then told me he was one of the Reaver voices in "Serenity" (the voices you hear onscreen, especially in big group scenes, are not necessarily the voices provided by the onscreen actors when the scene is being shot -- often other actors will be brought in to provide appropriate vocalizations after the fact).

[ edited by Shapenew on 2007-11-09 15:49 ]
About a month ago I was making the argument about "Cloverfield" (or whatever they are calling it this week). Everyone was all hyped up about "J.J. Abrams new project!!!" and it seems like I was the only one pointing out that J.J. didn't actually WRITE the awesome writer named DREW GODDARD did. It came from his mind. He sat there and spent hours working on this movie. Not that I have anything against Abrams. I just think the credit should go more to the writer. But...that's just me.

I really do hope everything turns out for you guys and gals. I am boycotting all reality tv (The Singing Bee is a guilty pleasure...but I'm not watching it!!). As someone who likes to dabble with writing herself I appreciate what is happening for futrue writers as well. Thank you.

And Newsies is shiny.
I'd also like to say that I want, "What, exactly, is their position besides “Nuh-uh”?" on a tee-shirt.
How much money do these corporations need to take from us?

I'm assuming you know the answer to that question (as much as you'll allow them to).

As a creation of yours once said, "It's about power." You have it; you just have to use it. Which brings up my next point: why not extend the list of strike films to include TV? I nominate "Checkpoint" from Season 5 of Buffy. Buffy is the worker here; the Council, the "owners" (or capitalist pigs, if you prefer). She realizes, belatedly, that she really has all the power, and they don't. With this sudden realization, she takes control.
1starbuckstown...Good call with "Checkpoint." I've been kind of obsessed with this episode as of late. I think that's a great analogy.

"Willow's a demon?!?"
1starbuckstown, bang on the money.
MATEWAN!!! Thanks Joss! I have been trying to remember the name of that movie all WEEK! As soon as the word Strike started coming up, that films' images were the first thing that popped into my head. I was working in a Video store in college (and now you know how old I am and possibly why my memory is fading) when this came out. I recommended it to EVERYONE. Fabulous film.

Oh, not totally a Strike film, per se, since the story set pre-Union, but THE MOLLY MAGUIRES is a good 'workers vs. management' movie. Plus, it was filmed in my very own backyard. Ok, not literally, but I grew up within spitting distance (ew!) of the towns where it was set and filmed.

Oh, and thanks for the Musical love, once again.
I was the only one pointing out that J.J. didn't actually WRITE the awesome writer named DREW GODDARD did.

Directors getting the "A JOE DIRECTOR MOVIE!" credit on a movie is one of the things that bugs me. In the case of a spec script where the writer originated the whole thing, story, characters, plot, setting everything he/she deserves the headline credit.
This is one of the areas where TV treats writers better than movies.
You know what... I've never seen Newsies. *hides*
#5: BILLY ELLIOT. This is primarily about a boy who wants to dance, but the backdrop is the miner’s strike in Manchester in the 80’s, and it’s gritty and tough and depressing and uplifting. (Thatcher and Reagan really got the ball rolling on anti-unionism. Thanks, guys!)
It's further north than Manchester. :)
Ooh, hey, yeah. Brassed Off belongs on that list. And maybe some Star Wars or Harry Potter, just for the boost of light overcoming dark? (Which probably means sticking to the early HP movies.)

And then, let's see, there's this one movie about the little guy doing something really awesome and trumping the big guy just for a second. What's that one called? Oh, Serenity.

And maybe some Zorro. With Antonio Banderas and Catherine Zeta-Jones, because, well, there's some kind of saving-the-captives story in-between all the shameless sexual tension.

Yeah. And, hey, striking's an ancient Egyptian thing. Just like cats!
I will look for the movie of the same name, though.

To be clear, the movie Cradle Will Rock isn't a film adaptation of the play. It's about the play. And the political environment during its production. And art. And commerce. And labor. And stuff.
As a big fan of musicals, both on and off-screen, I just have to say that the movie version of The Pajama Game was one of the worst movie musicals I've ever seen. Both my mom and I were like "seriously?" after 20 minutes. See everything else Joss recommends before you see that! However, the on-stage Broadway version (especially the Harry Connick, Jr. revival) is fantastic. I just think its better left on stage.

I digress from the real issue at hand, Go Writers!
*honks from Iowa*
I'd like to suggest the movie "October Sky". Has the strike element. Has Firefly elements (homemade rockets!!, and the space program). Even has a Whedonesque element: Chad "Sherman" Lindberg played Dave in "I Robot - You Jane".

[ edited by OneTeV on 2007-11-09 17:32 ]
Dear Joss, you bring the funny even when you is sick.

Great list of films. I didn't think anything could endear you to me more; then you had to go and put Day of the Dead in the list. Hoffa might be an interesting film to watch at this juncture, seeing as how the Teamsters are lending such support to the WGA. And Matewan is getting put in the Netflix queue just cause I need to see me some John Sayles goodness.

Hope you feel better soon.
It has to be either one or two lines, easily remembered, or call and answer. It has to have a strong beat that goes with a footfall, either left or right, military is left.

Yeah, you're exactly right dreamlogic.
Pajama Game -Yeay! Now I have wonderful images floating through my head of all the Mutant Enemy writers striking in black bowler hats and doing a kick ass rendition of "Steam Heat" including Bob Fosse choreography - "Come on Union - Get Hot!"
OneTeV I just came back to this thread to recommend October Sky- great pick. Fabulous movie, with a strike, and rockets!

[ edited by Trek_Girl42 on 2007-11-09 17:56 ]
Less than great strike movie by great director: Godard's Tout va bien. Strike in a sausage factory. Jane Fonda and Yves Montand taken hostage by radicals--oh wait, that's a description of the casting process. Maoist hijinks ensue.
"Can you bikini wax poetical" goes up on my office door today!
As if Joss needed to be any cooler than he already was - he has Zombie Love!!! :) Teh Awesome!
Trek_Girl42: That's just creepy. I was going to mention Brassed Off until I saw your post. I thought it had a strike too (doesn't... only has the workers being squeezed to save a few bob for the industry).

Speaking of Trek, maybe pick "The Turnabout Intruder". Horrible episode, but we can imagine that a studio accountant has been transplanted into Kirk's body (instead of Janet Lester) when Shatner goes over-the-top cookoo .

"There is one rule for the industrialist and that is: Make the best quality of goods possible at the lowest cost possible, paying the highest wage possible."
- Henry Ford

I'd like to add "The Pajama Game" to the list of Wonderful Union Flicks. (And yes, "The Cradle Will Rock" is hella-cool!)
In Pajama Game, Doris Day plays Babe, Howard Keel as Sid (recently played by the absolutely DREAMY Harry Connick Jr in the Broadway revival...can a Southern drawl be sexy? AW HELL YEAH!) and the setting is a pajama factory whose workers are about to strike for a whopping 7 1/2 cents raise. (Those were the days, y'all.)
Great songs, great choreography.
Feel better soon, Joss!
Solidarity Forever!
And I forgot about the Peter Sellers movie "I'm Alright Jack" which works amazingly well as a satire on management and the unions.
To be clear, the movie Cradle Will Rock isn't a film adaptation of the play. It's about the play. And the political environment during its production. And art. And commerce. And labor. And stuff.

Yes, and if you want films about the censorship of art, this is a good one, too. It reconstructs the notorious jack-hammered removal of Diego Rivera's mural from Rockefeller Center.
How often does Tim get called for jury duty, anyway? Because I know he talked about it before--he served with a certain former-Frasier actor... That was Tim, wasn't it?

My synapses may be misfiring, but for one reason or another this post is putting "Labyrinth" and "The Great Mouse Detective" in my mind. But there wasn't striking in either. Maybe it's the theme of outwitting the bigger, stronger, spandex-ier/Vincent Price-ier antagonist. Or I watched them a lot in conjunction with Newsies growing up.

Hey, if we're going for insurmountable odds that some how end up mounted, how about Branagh's Henry V? It's got a tiny Batman in it, not to mention that Patrick Doyle theme that'll never ever leave your head. And hey! The St. Crispin's Day speech!
Having seen the original production of The Pyjama Game in utero (yeah for John Rait!), this is one of the few musicals I enjoy. And hmbscully, I saw a truly terrible stage version directed by Simon Callow and full of almost naked dancing men. Not that I usually mind that sort of thing but they just didn't fit.
Jossir, I think you need a little Steam Heat to make you feel better!
If you get on the wrong list in LA County you end up being called every year for jury duty. Guess how I know that.
"...the setting is a pajama factory whose workers are about to strike for a whopping 7 1/2 cents raise. (Those were the days, y'all.)"

Ironic that after all these years, it sounds like the WGA would end the strike immediately for a 7 1/2 cent raise...on DVD's at least. The new media might take more. ;-)
Tim put off jury duty, then forgot about it, then got called again with a shaky fist and threats. So now he sits, and I send bad joke text messages.
Actually, if I could get hold of a tape or DVD of the stage production of Studs Terkel's Working, that would be a joy to watch right now. I'm not even sure one exists.
Great list! "Day of the Dead" being the only one I haven't seen. What is more capitalist than the defense of property rights including intellectual property? And the right to earn a wage for your labour? The writers are defending capitalism from the thieves who seek to get something for nothing. Work that into a slogan!

Matewan: Fabulous movie. When Lone Star came out, Sayles had to defend casting the "uncharismatic" Cooper. Nice that Chris is now recognized for the great actor he is. (Not strike related but City of Hope is maybe the perfect movie - as is Serenity.)

Newsies: "Brooklyn is great. I spent a month there one night." Feeling the love.
My synapses may be misfiring, but for one reason or another this post is putting "Labyrinth" and "The Great Mouse Detective" in my mind.

Maybe it's that line "You have no power over me!" Seems appropriate to the situation. ;)
Brilliant deepgirl187! That must be it!
It reconstructs the notorious jack-hammered removal of Diego Rivera's mural from Rockefeller Center.

And also has one of Bill Murray's best roles/performances ever. (Don't worry, he does not play Rivera.)
Oh man, now I've got Newsies running through my head. Is it sad that this is straight out of my memory?

Pulitzer and Hearst, they say we're nothing!
Are we nothing? No!
Pulitzer and Hearst they think they've got us.
Do they got us? No!
Even though we ain't got hats or badges
We're a union just by saying so.
And the world will know!
As a Republican, my taste in strike movies runs more towards On the Waterfront but I've been passing the word along when I can and signing my name to it as appropriate.

As a Kitten I'll always be a bit miffed with you, Your Purpleness, but you can always count on my casual support. (And my not-so-little daughter Katie-kat ranks you up there with JK Rowling and CS LEwis and George Lucas.

ps; my own union experience such as it is has incl;uded the Treasury Employees, Federal Government Employees, and Communications Workers at various times.

[ edited by DaddyCatALSO on 2007-11-09 21:42 ]
That's not sad at all, I just watched the Newsies with my roomies a couple of weeks ago (I have the whole soundtrack and most of the dialog memorized).

Not sure if this has appeared anywhere, but its a pic of Joss striking with a dollhouse sign that says "Dollhouse: Not Coming Soon" which is so sad, but made me laugh out loud regardless!
Glad to know that you're a John Sayles fan, Joss.

Best strike film ever - Harlan County, USA. Documentary of an ongoing strike in 1973, in Harlan County, Kentucky. The nonfiction Matewan.
Hey Joss, think you can add to the negotiations a condition in which you get the money to do another Serenity (Firefly) movie. :-)
Best strike film ever - Harlan County, USA. Documentary

Agree about Barbara Kopple's Oscar-winning doc. She followed that with another Oscar-winning strike doc, American Dream. And, while mentioning documentaries, one should add Michael Moore's Roger and Me. It has all of Moore's flaws, and I always have to skip over the bunny-killing scene, but it certainly has its moments.
A filibuster is like a strike...nothing is accomplished until we've said our piece. With that introduction, could I be talking about anything but Mr. Smith Goes to Washington? Always inspriational.

It's not chant-worthy but it rhymes (sort of):

The suits wont pay our due,
They think their world is cheery,
Try to mess with Joss’ crew?
You don't want to test that theory!
I heard a radio d.j. making fun of the writers for this chant:
Who's got more money than they can count?

I think maybe dreamlogic should help them out a bit with that scansion/marching thing.
Worst chant I've heard:

"We write the story-a
Eva Longo-ria!"

I was listening to the Newsies soundtrack on my way home from the Fox rally today!

So they gave their word
But it ain't worth beans
Now they're gonna see what stop the presses really means!

Ah, the poetry.
Awww 'Newsies', time for a re-watch, me thinks. Thanks for the recs, Joss.

I can sympathize with the 'stay in bed or on-the-couch-with-a-box-of-tissues' variety of sickness. In my case, I have asked friends to bring over some TV boxsets, so I can appreciate the work of the TV writers who are striking.

However, I can't help but wonder- is Tim Minear able to take notes on the trial, or does he have to rely on his awesome super powered memory?
Oh, re: the Cradle movie... don't forget to keep an eye out for a certain head of the Watchers Council.
"Oh man, now I've got Newsies running through my head. Is it sad that this is straight out of my memory?

Even though we ain't got hats or badges
We're a union just by saying so.

No, teenes, the sad part is when my husband is watching and says, "Actually, it wasn't until the Wagner Act of 193x, that unions were granted the right to exist based solely on member votes." Talk about a nerd.

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