Wednesday, January 11, 2017

J.W. Rinzler: Outstanding Author

J.W. Rinzler is a former editor at Lucasfilm where he wrote several books including the one we'll be discussing on this podcast, The Complete Making of Indiana Jones.  You can purchase the book on Amazon and can visit J.W. on his website.

Special Guest:
Joseph Passman is an Iraq War Veteran, a PhD candidate, a childhood friend, and a seeker of fortune and glory.

Total run time: 53:15

  2:20 - How J.W. got started at Lucasfilm
10:31 - CGI and its effect on quality
14:58 - Temple of Doom and Last Crusade
18:33 - Crystal Skull
23:10 - Indy 5
25:35 - George Lucas
33:06 - J.W.'s current projects
35:12 - Joined by special guest Joe Passman to talk all things Indiana Jones

The embedded player works best in Google Chrome.  You can also download the mp3 by clicking here, and the podcast is available in iTunes.


  1. Good interviews.

    Rinzler said a lot of people think the first Indy film was the best, plenty like the third best, and "almost nobody" likes the second film best. I don't think that's true. "The Temple of Doom" was easily my favorite....and I know plenty of others who find it the best as well. I had heard Spielberg bad-mouth it before though...and I can see how some negative feedback over the darkness and violence of the film probably soiled the memory of the project, on top of whatever other misgivings he had about it, but I think the overwhelmingly positive response and huge box office receipts should tell the story that the movie was far better received than many historical revisionists would have us believe.

    On the other hand, I had the same take as the author on "Crystal Skull" in that I felt the first half hour wasn't bad and felt a lot like the Indiana Jones we knew. It got goofy in the second half and never recovered. The point of no return for me was the cartoon monkey/jungle backdrop, one of the biggest CGI disasters in film history, but it managed to suck even more in the closing scenes.

    As for Joseph Passman, I had a similar story in that a good friend of mine challenged me to a playground duel during recess after some petty squabble, except mine was in sixth grade. We both showed up....but fists never flew and the chain of events transpired similar to yours. Me and my challenger (Jeff) patched things up soon thereafter and have remained friends since. I also play acted the "um num Shiba" scene from "Temple of Doom" among elementary classmates as well, along with several quotes I poached from "MacGyver" that would without question get me expelled from school today for violating "zero tolerance" laws.

    I didn't realize George Lucas was obsessed with doing a UFO story for Indy 4 while all the other major players opposed the idea. Unless they have a very clever sleight of hand in mind, it's hard to see how they go back to the World War II era for Indy 5 with a 75-year-old Harrison Ford at the helm. Seems like we're more likely to see Indy using his cane to whack Lee Harvey Oswald's rifle out of his hands while exploring the streets of Dallas for a special bejeweled necklace.

    Since I haven't heard Passman's name mentioned before, I take it he's not into "MacGyver" as much as he was into "Indiana Jones".

    1. Thanks for listening. I agree on Temple of Doom, it's practically tied with Last Crusade for my favorite and I'm sure there are plenty of others out there for whom it's their #1. And you're right about the jungle scene in Crystal Skull -- it is a disaster, right up there with the 2nd surf scene in Die Another Day. After watching Crystal Skull again, the movie as a whole was even worse than I had remembered.

      You're right that if Harrison Ford comes back then it wouldn't work to do a 1930's or 40's Indiana Jones. I'd rather them get a new actor and keep that as the era -- there's a lot they could do, and it wouldn't all have to be potential global catastrophe at the hands of the Nazis; it could be on a smaller scale. And no, Passman is not a MacGyver fan, pretty much none of my friends growing up were.

    2. Did you ever ask any of your classmates about "MacGyver" back in school? There were plenty in my school and I made a point of promoting the show among as many people within earshot, more often than not producing new fans.

    3. I don't remember clearly. I think people knew that it was my favorite show but I didn't actively promote or try to sell it.